Script Days and Scene Days

Script days help to understand the continuity of the scenes in relation to time.

A script day is any day within a story in which a scene is taking place. Script days are numbered chronologically, starting with Script Day 1. Days in the story where no scene takes place are skipped and not numbered. Days that fall out of the chronology of history, but in which scenes take place, such as flashbacks or dreams, are called X-days. They are numbered consecutively as X1, X2 and so on.

In a second step, each script day receives a script date and each scene receives a scene time – the exact temporal moment it occurs in. Script days are an important factor in scheduling and are added at the beginning of the process. The classification is made by the assistant director in consultation with the director and is an important interpretive step, closely related to the vision of a story.

Script days and points in time give an overview of the passing time within a story and help the director to achieve emotional coherence in the staging. For example, an actor will play a scene differently depending on whether two days or two hours have passed since his previous scene. It makes a big difference to the emotional context of a film whether two characters meet again immediately after an argument, or whether there are few days in between. A director always gives an actor a sense of the temporal structure of the story.

Script days and points in time are an important influence on the work of the artistic and technical departments. They help the costume and production design departments to survey date and time information, such as watches or calendars. They are also the basis for all make-up and costume changes, such as the development of wounds or costume changes between two script days.

The lighting technology also sets the quality of the light according to the specifications of the scene time, for example by simulating a low position of the sun and adjusting the light intensity to the time of day when a scene is taking place towards evening. Since changes have to be made in the scene, additional script days always mean additional costs, especially in the costume budget.