[Quick Summary: A prisoner from the future travels back in time to prevent the mutation of an epidemic virus, but everyone thinks he's a lunatic.]
This script is crazy. It circles back and eats itself (in a good way).
I applaud the writers for attempting this fractured time line and keeping it clear.
It's as if they took 4 photographs (A, B, C, D) and sliced it into pieces. They then reassembled them, but still moving story forward (ex. A1, C1, B1, A2, D1, B2, etc.)
I was so impressed at the clear transitions (my most elusive nemesis!)
I discovered two more helpful tips for smoother ones:
ex. "INT. CONCOURSE/AIRPORT - DAY
...YOUNG COLE turns back toward the Security Check Point just as TRAVELERS scatter madly, some diving to the floor, others running. A TERRIFIED TRAVELER, hitting the floor close by, loos up at YOUNG COLE with panicky eyes, and asks... [Repetition of a recurring dream]
TERRIFIED TRAVELER: Just exactly why did you volunteer?
INT. ENGINEERING OFFICE/FUTURE WORLD - (ETERNAL NIGHT)
COLE comes abruptly awake. [Cue that Cole has been dreaming.] Seated now, he's facing the SCIENTISTS. [Cue that reorients the reader to the present.]
ASTROPHYSICIST: Wake up, Cole.
COLE: Uh, I didn't hear the...
MICROBIOLOGIST: (tapping a pencil on the table) I asked you, why did you volunteer? [Repetition from above]
COLE: Well, the guard woke me up. He told me I volunteered. [Repetition from earlier scene]
The SCIENTISTS react, whispering urgently among themselves."
WHAT I'VE LEARNED: When you need to reorient the reader to multiple times and places, cues and repetition are your friends.
12 Monkeys (1995)
by David Peoples & Janet Peoples
Inspired by LA JETEE, a Chris Marker Film