Q. When writing for a show that uses the two minute or so musical montage near the end of the episode, how is that generally conveyed on the page? would the writer suggest the song, or is that left up to the producers/director?
That's really done in post-production by the editor and the showrunner. You might suggest the nature of the feeling the song is intended to invoke.
I generally try to avoid montages in spec scripts because they read so poorly. It's very hard to convey the feeling of a montage on the page. I'd write a montage in a script I was hired to write, but in a selling script I'd stay away from them if possible. Of course if the show always uses a montage, you have to respect the template and use a montage.
Speaking of that HBO 'musical' ending that The Sopranos, I think, invented, do you think that's done and shows need to move on and find another way of putting a button on an episode other than the 'cue the song, begin the slow pullback...'
Oh, Lordy, I don't think THE SOPRANOS invented that. I'm pretty sure the HILL STREET BLUES pilot ends on a musical montage, and I doubt that was the first.
No technique is "done." You just have to use it in a new way.
Soaps have being doing it a while.
I was always instructed to do something like: A [genre, mood] song such as [example of such a song that readers are likely to know] plays as, yadda yadda. FWIW. Because yeah, if you're speccing "Grey's Anatomy" then the montage gets a bit tough to avoid.
For any Brits out there, the soap HOLLYOAKS uses a music montage at the beginning of *every* episode, which annoys the hell out of me.
What it does is basically show every character (that will feature in that ep) looking either happy, angry or sad.
While I hate it, it's a classic example of showing rather than telling. So obviously if you were speccing HOLLYOAKS you'd have to have one in.
Back to Complications Ensue main blog page.