You are here:

Writing Plays/Screenwriting/Black & White w/color scenes


I am a 1930's neo-noir style drama.  How to I indicate this in script?  Would it be strictly visual in opening or somehow call it out in headers?  There are also a few flash forwards in first act... which I indicate as color.  I'm looking for Sin City style B&W with some color for the majority of script.  Not sure how to do this.  Thank you for your time and professional advise.


Hi Diana,
A very good question.

It's a good idea to describe what you would like to see on screen, precisely and thoroughly. That will orient a reader right away, and help him or her imagine the style.

Please avoid telling the camera operator what to do. This would mark you as an amateur, unless you are a professional cinematographer, in which case, you're allowed to call a shot or two.

In today's world, B&W is easy to achieve, AFTER the movie is shot; therefore the Director of Photography will shoot everything in color and leave the decisions about B&W to the Editor and Director.

A general description of mood and style is acceptable after FADE IN: so that's where you should establish your desire for neo-noir.

A good way to deal with the flash forwards is as follows:



If I were you, I'd avoid calling it out in headers. Unless you are going to be the Producer or the Director, you would be getting a pig in a poke. You would have no way to control how the film makers would interpret that.

Best of success,

Writing Plays/Screenwriting

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Barry Pearson


I`m a credited writer on nine feature films. My latest movie, IRON ROAD, which stars Peter O'Toole and Sam Neill, opened as feature, then aired as a four-hour miniseries on network television. Sun Li, the Chinese star, won the best actress award at the Roma Fiction Fest recently. I’ve produced more than 300 episodes of television drama, including 13 episodes of Deepwater Black, and 106 episodes of Katts & Dog (Rin-Tin-Tin, K-9 Cop in the U.S.). I've answered over 1200 All Experts questions!


I've been in the business of writing and producing feature films, television series, and MOW's for over 20 years. You can check me out at this URL

You can find my books on Amazon. See DON'T LET ANYONE STEAL YOUR STORY ( is a stripped-down readable summary of copyright, full of entertaining anecdotes and real-life examples. Read about the true horror stories that clearly show you what you need to do to avoid the misfortune of having your literary material stolen. Find out: * How to take simple inexpensive steps to protect yourself, before, during, and after you write your literary work. * How copyright law applies to writers of literary works. * How literary works enter public domain, and how you can use it to your advantage. * What aspects of literary works are protected by copyright, and what aspects are not protected. * How to create documentation that will prove your copyright entitlement in the event of an infringement on your rights. * How you can protect yourself if you are contracted to write for television. You’ll also get a FREE sample of an Option and Purchase Agreement, a contract used in the acquisition of rights in a literary property—a contract that you and your lawyer can customize for your property. Written by a writer, for writers, Don’t Let Anyone Steal Your Story will help you protect yourself against plagiarists and anyone else who might infringe your right of sole ownership. ------------- Also on Amazon, my book of four short stories, THE TWENTY-BUSHEL RACER. A man’s redemption from bitterness enables him to become a loving father. A teenager discovers the importance of his attachment to the people in his life and the place where he is growing up. A man, who has for years considered himself a coward and a betrayer of his comrades, musters the courage to stand up against a pair of would-be assassins. Two young men, who grew up in the same town, meet unexpectedly, reminisce about a girl they both loved when they were boys, and unveil a truth that changes both their lives.

Master of Arts degree (Drama)

Awards and Honors
Among my awards are Best Screenplay, Best Picture, at the International Film & Television Festival of New York for THE LIFE AND TIMES OF EDWIN ALONZO BOYD, Best Screenplay, Feature Film, at the 12th International Film Festival in Sitges, Spain for PLAGUE, and a Special Jury Award, Feature Film at the San Francisco International Film Festival for PLAGUE.

©2017 All rights reserved.