DZ-16: Masters of Time and Whitespace

Does manipulating time on the page make your script feel more cinematic?

Chas and Stu are joined by Khrob Edmonds – an award-winning filmmaker and founder of TangoEDIT – to discuss manipulation of time…

… on the page!

Cinema is a time-based art, and one of the primary tools in film editing is manipulation of time. A closer look at sequences in the scripts of PULP FICTION, THE BOURNE IDENTITY, THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM, WOMAN IN BLACK, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, UP, WHIPLASH, and THE UNTOUCHABLES reveals how master screenwriters use the same time-controlling techniques on the page. The closer a writer can recreate cinema’s use of time on the page, the more of an “I’m watching a movie” feeling you can generate for the reader. Or, as Chas puts it, writing like you’d edit. We discuss use of white space, super-present tense, decompression & compression, Soviet Montage Theory, the Kuleshov effect and just a tiny amount of grammar.

NB: Stu refers to ‘-ing’ words as ‘present participles’, John August (cited below) refers to ‘present progressive’. Turns out there’s a subtle difference between the two – see What Is the Difference between Present Participle and Present Progressive. Grammar esoterica FTW.


Subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or RSS.

Please send feedback to ask at or via our web form or @draft_zero on twitter.

Please considering rating us on iTunes! or sharing us on the Social Medias!