Dramatica Definition: Scene

Scene • [Dramatica Definition] • a temporal unit of dramatic construction usually employed in Plays, Screenplays, and Teleplays. • Although there is some variation, Scene is usually defined as all of the dramatic events which occur in a single place and time until either place or time changes. In Screenplays and Teleplays, Scenes are numbered in the original draft sequentially according to every change in location or time. For example, each scene would begin with the format, INT or EXT (for Interior or Exterior) followed by the location’s name, such as JOE’S GARAGE. The final information is the time, which in Screenplays is usually limited to DAY or NIGHT, although other variations occur if absolutely necessary to convey specifics. Most Stage Plays are divided into Acts, which represent complete dramatic movements in the overall story. Each Act is usually sub-divided into two or three Scenes, which are identified as all the action and dialog which takes place in a single location and time. So, Act 1, Scene 2 might be: Joe’s Garage ~ later that evening. A less common usage of “Scene” is as a unit representing a complete dramatic movement, such as an argument that begins, develops, and resolves. Although in a dramatic sense this is a useful application of the word, in practice, complete dramatic movements are often segmented and intermixed for storytelling purposes to create parallel action, delayed payoffs, and many other interest generating techniques. In keeping with the most common definition, Dramatica uses “Scene” to mean everything that takes place consecutively in a single place and time.

From the Dramatica Dictionary