Screenwriting Question: How do I show an Internet Chat?

Recently got this question:

I’m working on a new project in which characters interact via chat room and instant messaging but I’m not entirely sure how to write that. Do you have any ideas?

Good question.  With computers becoming more prevalent in movies – and the world – this problem is likely to come up more often.

Recently, I’ve seen it a few different ways.  You might want to tell us what we are seeing on screen, such as:


A message box pops up: “Are you there?”

Another way is to use voice over.  So then you might tell us what we see on screen in the description.

John types at his computer.

A message box pops up on John’s screen with words from Daphne.  We hear her voice as the letters appear on screen.”

Are you there?
John types and we hear his thoughts.
Miss me?

There are probably other ways to go, and as long as they make logical sense, and are similar to what you read in other scripts, no one will probably notice as long as you STAY CONSISTENT THROUGHOUT THE SCRIPT.  The worst thing you can do is to show it in different ways.  Show it one way, and repeat.  Then the reader will know what to expect, and be able to visualize as they read.

Hope that helps!  Now back to writing…


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