HOW TO: Have Character(s) Appear in a TV


OK, First of all you need to upload this into your overlays section:

I named this overlay TV SCREEN VIEWS but really you can name it anything. If you check out 📝 Ultimate List of Backgrounds and Overlays Editors / Creators! some of the background creators have similar TV backgrounds to this, but with designs. You might use them instead. You can also download the background INT. TV CLOSE UP2 - DAY from backgrounds and then use a software like Lunapic to remove the blue out of the screen so that area becomes transparent and then you can upload it into your overlays section. The overlay needs to be a PNG file and less than 1 MB. If it’s too big, you can use PowerPoint to resize it or ask me, and I’ll gladly do it!

Here’s some things you need to understand before we begin:

Spot Directing: Spot Directing (Moving Characters Around)
Layers: HOW TO: Move Characters / Overlays to the Layers
Overlays:A Guide to Using & Animating OVERLAYS
Zooms:Zoom Directing (The Art of the Zoom Made Easy)
Stage Direction: HOW TO: Stage Direction
Script Commands: Script Symbols/Commands and What They're Used For
Speech bubbles: 💭 HOW TO: Spot direct Speech Bubble

And now let’s begin!

You can use any background, however, I’m using EXT. FIRE - NIGHT (a 1 zone background) for this tutorial.

Anyways, here’s the image to have a character behind the TV:

First I wrote the background name (EXT. FIRE - NIGHT) and then I added the overlay (TV SCREEN VIEWS) which has a transparent “box” where the background will show along with the characters.

Anyways I placed the reporter at layer 1 and used spot directing (you’ll find the link above) to get her into that position. And then I placed the overlay at layer 2. The higher the layer, the higher the character or overlay appears in front of other stuff placed at lower layers-lower numbers. So an overlay that’s at layer -1 is behind an overlay that’s at layer 1 and an overlay that’s at layer 2 is behind one that’s at layer 3. If you have someone at layer 5 and another person at layer 7, the person at layer 7 will be in front of the person at layer 5 since 7 is bigger than 5. Hope this clears things up!
If I put the overlay TV SCREEN VIEWS at layer 0 it would be behind the reporter who’s at a bigger layer at layer 1, and this would mean that their legs and whole body would show out of the TV and you do NOT want that! I hope…
Anyways you could add more than one character behind the TV overlay but they need to be lower than layer 2 (which is where I placed the TV overlay at) so they appear behind the the TV.

And it doesn’t have to be 2, your layer number can be anything you choose for it to be. Just remember, the higher a number, the higher the person/object is placed in front of others with lower layer numbers.

What if you want someone outside of the TV watching?

Well, you’d place them using spot directing and you’d put them at a higher layer than 2 (or whatever number you have for the TV overlay) so that they’re in front of the TV. You can place more than 1 character who’s watching and to make them face the TV, use a rear animation.


@JEM spot % X Y AND JEM faces left/right AND JEM is rear
@JEM moves to layer #

Wow, how come that reporter isn’t on fire when there’s so many flames behind her?

*replace % X Y with numerical values (you’ll see how to do that in the Spot Directing link I provided) and write either left or right to make the character face a direction, plus add a rear animation.
And then move the character to a higher layer (higher number) than the TV overlay.

One more thing!

What if you have a 2 or 3 zone background that you want to use and instead of the first zone showing, you want the 3rd zone or 2nd to show?
Well, here’s an example using the 3 zone background: EXT. WEDDING CEREMONY - DAY and the overlay TV SCREEN VIEWS

I will show you how to place it in the third zone:

EXT. WEDDING CEREMONY - DAY with TV SCREEN VIEWS in zone 3 at layer 2
@cut to zone 3
#rest of the script here

*p.s I know I already mentioned this but just to remind you, it doesn’t have to be layer 2 (it can be ANY number you wish)
*also if your overlay looks a bit off you can find the overlays guide I linked above to change the coordinates for it so it fits the scene perfectly.

Anyways, that’s enough for now and I tried to make this simple as possible!

Hope it helps and if you have any questions, ask away ^^

Much love, JemU776 :hibiscus: :black_heart:


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Thank you. Do I need to credit you for the overlay?



No, you don’t need to. It comes from Episode themselves, I just took out the blue area using Lunapic, making it transparent :smile:

If you go here: 📝 Ultimate List of Backgrounds and Overlays Editors / Creators! (I linked this above) you can find cool TV overlays to use from people like @shara.stories-she has a bunch of TV overlays in the Overlays folder in her google drive, you’ll find so many, a variety and if you use, remember to credit accordingly! :blue_heart:






NP :balloon:






Bump <3




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woop! needed this!

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