Always Fade Out of Your Montage
The movie Team America has a song where the lyrics describe the perfect recipe for a montage scene. Essentially, this any scene with more than one camera angle accompanied by music. The idea is to show the passage of time that would otherwise be too boring for the viewer. A montage can occur over a single dinner. This might be in real time. But if there is music instead of dialogue and the camera switches angles then it is a montage.
The music is the main ingredient. If you need inspiration, find a song that builds it. If you need to show decay and destruction, then find a sad or angry song. Having the right song for the moment is why productions hire music supervisors. That, if they do not have original scores.
There are a couple other essentials for the montage scene. Consider your clips. What order do they display? There should be a natural progression that describes the action. The Team America song is inspirational. The character goes “from a beginner to a pro” so each clip “shows improvement.” Flashbacks are another possible series of clips to include in a montage. Particularly if it is in a finale scene. The song tells us to “always fade out of your montage.” This is the case if you want to show time progression. A counter to this which draws more dramatic results is the final wide shot. Zooming out prepares the audience for the next scene. Fading out gives a pause. The audience is refreshed but it also a time when they can become briefly disengaged.
As a writer, montage scenes are vague in the first draft of a script. There are a few images I can describe. But until production begins, I do not the budget, the songs, or the details I require. As production progresses some ideas for a montage become more clear. You can breakdown the script for a montage into a dozen scenes. In a script’s first draft, it would ruin the formatting to do any more than label that particular scene “montage.” It requires only a brief description at first but like anything else becomes more detailed as you progress.