A movie director and screenwriter sit at a table, huddled over a script page formatted with CONTINUOUS, engaged in an intense discussion.

How to Use CONTINUOUS in a Screenplay

If you’re writing a screenplay, you know formatting is crucial for conveying important elements like scene settings, character introductions, actions, and transitions. One screenplay format you’ll commonly need is CONTINUOUS.

But what exactly does CONTINUOUS mean and how do you use it correctly in a screenplay? This comprehensive guide will explain everything you need to know.

What Is CONTINUOUS in a Screenplay?

CONTINUOUS is a screenplay format used to indicate that the action continues uninterrupted from the previous scene.

Specifically, CONTINUOUS shows that there is no break in time or location between consecutive scenes. The action simply picks up right where it left off in the prior scene heading and slugline.

Some key things to know about CONTINUOUS:

  • It connects two scenes with unbroken, ongoing action or dialog
  • The location remains the same as the previous scene
  • Time is continuous, with no time ellipsis between scenes
  • Scene headings stay the same other than the scene number
  • Action descriptions carry directly forward without interruption

In essence, CONTINUOUS allows you to extend a scene over multiple pages while sticking to the same setting. This creates a smooth, linear flow from one part of a scene to the next.

When Should You Use CONTINUOUS in a Screenplay?

CONTINUOUS is useful in several situations where you want to indicate an uninterrupted progression of action and dialog between scene headings.

Some examples include:

  • A character or group of characters moves from one part of a location to another while talking. For example, they start a conversation in the kitchen then CONTINUOUS to the living room, unbroken dialog carrying through the scenes.
  • An action sequence progresses through different areas of the same setting in a seamless way. For example, CONTINUOUS during a chase scene as characters race through various rooms of a warehouse.
  • A character performs an ongoing task involving multiple steps and locations within a setting. For instance, CONTINUOUS as a character gathers ingredients from the fridge, counter, pantry, etc while baking.
  • A scene focuses on one or more characters in a confined space like a car or elevator, with dialog/action that needs to spill over into another scene heading without interruption.
  • A passionate speech or argument overlaps scene headings without stopping.

The main indicator that you should use CONTINUOUS is when you want the reader to experience a seamless, uninterrupted flow within the same environment as opposed to a distinguishable break. It maintains momentum.

How to Format CONTINUOUS in a Screenplay


  • Type CONTINUOUS in ALL CAPS centered below the scene heading
  • Do not include quotes, hyphens, or any punctuation around CONTINUOUS
  • Use a consistent font and size for CONTINUOUS as the scene headings
  • Scene numbers progress normally from the previous scene

For example:


Dramatic scene action and dialog here.


  • Scene heading remains identical other than incrementing scene number
  • Action picks up where previous scene ended
  • Character names remain CAPITALIZED on intro
  • Parenthetical directions are used normally

MARY (continuing conversation) More dialog building off the prior scene’s action.

JOHN Me too. Let’s move upstairs.



They head upstairs mid-conversation.

JOHN Here is more uninterrupted dialog.

And so on.

  • Note how the location stays the same. Action and dialog are continuous. Time is unbroken.

Benefits of Using CONTINUOUS in Screenplays

Using CONTINUOUS properly in your screenplay offers several advantages:

  • Maintains forward momentum and fluidity within an extended scene.
  • Avoids jumping back and forth repeatedly between disjointed short scenes.
  • Prevents repetitive and redundant scene headings.
  • Allows dialog/action to flow naturally from one part of a setting to another.
  • Clearly conveys to the reader that action and dialog are linked sequentially.
  • Ensures scene transitions are obvious when later adapted for the screen.
  • Improves pacing and continuity compared to breaking up a continuous sequence.

Without CONTINUOUS, you may be tempted to use shortened under-one-page scenes with repetitive headings just to show characters moving to a new spot. But this could become disjointed and distracting. CONTINUOUS smoothes out scene transitions.

Potential Pitfalls and Solutions

While CONTINUOUS is useful for connecting fluid action across scenes, there are a few pitfalls to avoid:

Don’t Overuse CONTINUOUS

CONTINUOUS works best when used sparingly for important seamless transitions. Overusing it scene after scene can become difficult to follow. Use judicious discretion when needed.

Don’t Jump Locations

CONTINUOUS means the location remains exactly the same. If a sequence moves to a new environment, even within the same building, you need a proper scene heading break, not CONTINUOUS.

Don’t Break Continuity

Every element of action and dialog should flow sequentially with no interruption. If there is a time/story break, omit CONTINUOUS to make the break clear.

These pitfalls can be easily avoided by double-checking that CONTINUOUS is only used when appropriate to maintain linear continuity within a location. Use standard scene breaks whenever the location or timeline changes.

Examples of Using CONTINUOUS in a Screenplay

Here are some examples of how to properly use CONTINUOUS in different screenplay situations:

Example 1 – Character Movement


Kate grabs her purse and heads into the hallway.


She walks through the house while calling up the stairs.

KATE Sarah, hurry up or we’ll be late!

SARAH (O.S.) Coming!

This example shows Kate moving from one part of the house to another while taking continuous action. CONTINUOUS indicates she is walking through uninterrupted.

Example 2 – Action Sequence


John runs through the thick trees, glancing back as armed men chase him.


John ducks under branches and hurdles rocks and streams, struggling to lose his pursuers. The men fire shots randomly into the woods trying to hit John.


This example shows an action sequence progressing rapidly through the same forest setting. CONTINUOUS adds fluid, energetic momentum.

Example 3 – Confined Space


I can’t believe you would do this to me!

It’s not my fault! Why won’t you listen?


Unbelievable. After everything we’ve been through.

I’m sorry! Can’t we talk about this?

Here CONTINUOUS is useful to extend dialog realistically within the confined space of an elevator ride. The continuous heated argument builds intensity.

Use these examples of CONTINUOUS for different situations as a model for your own screenplays.

Tips for Writing Effective Scenes with CONTINUOUS

When using CONTINUOUS across multiple scenes, keep these tips in mind:

  • Have a clear objective for what the ongoing action achieves in terms of story progression and character goals. Don’t use CONTINUOUS just for the sake of it.
  • Craft dialog and action that feels realistically continuous from one scene to the next. Avoid disjointed breaks in conversation flow.
  • Use vivid scene descriptions that transition smoothly between scenes.
  • Allow major story points to motivate scene transitions to new locations within a setting. Don’t just jump locations arbitrarily.
  • Know when to stop. If a sequence spans many scenes, consider condensing to tighter, more impactful action.
  • Review the full sequence and ensure CONTINUOUS transitions work seamlessly when read from start to finish.

Following these tips will help you use CONTINUOUS skillfully to boost momentum and continuity.


Applying CONTINUOUS appropriately in your screenplay allows you to connect scenes with ongoing action in a fluid, vivid way. Specifically:

  • Use CONTINUOUS when you want uninterrupted, continuous action or dialog between scenes.
  • Properly format CONTINUOUS in all CAPS centered under scene headings.
  • Avoid overusing CONTINUOUS excessively. Apply with intention when required.
  • Make sure location remains identical and time is continuous when using CONTINUOUS.
  • Well-executed CONTINUOUS transitions will read energetically and propel your storytelling.

Understanding the purpose of CONTINUOUS and using it judiciously will take your screenplays to the next level. Implement these best practices for writing impactful scenesthat flow effortlessly together.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is continuous script?

A continuous script is a screenplay that uses the format “CONTINUOUS” to indicate ongoing action or dialog across consecutive scenes without breaks in time or location. The script moves continuously forward.

What is the difference between same and continuous in a script?

“SAME” means the scene takes place in the same location as the previous scene. “CONTINUOUS” means the action is also continuous with no time break from the prior scene.

What is the #1 rule when writing a screenplay?

The #1 rule is to write in proper screenplay format. This includes elements like scene headings, action descriptions, character names, and dialog all formatted correctly. Proper formatting makes the story events clear and readable.

Should I use continuous in a screenplay?

Use CONTINUOUS only when necessary to indicate ongoing, uninterrupted action or dialog in the same location and timeframe as the prior scene. Avoid overusing it.

When not to use continuous in a screenplay?

Don’t use CONTINUOUS if there is a change in location or a time break between scenes. Proper scene headings with changes should be used instead.

What are the 3 types of scripts?

The 3 main types of scripts are spec scripts, shooting scripts, and production scripts. Spec scripts are written on spec to sell. Shooting scripts are used during production. Production scripts reflect the final edited film.

How do you use continuous in a slugline?

Sluglines don’t use CONTINUOUS. Sluglines indicate the location and time of day. CONTINUOUS is its own element showing ongoing action between scenes.

What are the types of continuous writing?

Types of continuous writing include descriptive, narrative, expository, argumentative, and persuasive writing. These styles seamlessly express ideas, stories, arguments, and more.

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