Q: What is your opinion on the use of INSERT? Is there ever a time when using INSERT is absolutely necessary? Dave Trottier says to use it sparingly. I find myself not using it at all. I prefer to use quotations for signs, posters, short letters, etc. and keep them in the narrative. Is that wrong? – Billy Noon
Thanks for your question, Billy.
INSERT is a shot heading that gives camera direction – indicating a close-up shot of a specific prop.
opens the gift box and removes a book
INSERT – BOOK
the cover reads “How to Lose 100 Pounds in 5 weeks”
BACK TO SCENE
Jane throws the book across the room.
It’s always best to avoid camera direction in a spec script.
It’s okay to call attention to the item in the narrative, which is a subtle form of camera direction – a way to lead the reader to see what you want him to notice.