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How To Format A Script

How To Format A Script

When you have to make up your mind to write a script or screenplay for the movie, you focus on essential things to understand, like the script’s structure and creativity. You should know that a screenplay is a blueprint for a feature-length movie, television show, or short film, so it’s the first step of your story to make on-screen from the page. You may join some courses to learn script writing, or here you will get help in learning how to format a script.

1. Title page

Typically title page is the main page of the screenplay on which the name of a writer with details is written in the center. The lower left-hand corner at the bottom of the page contains writer details. When you finish your final draft, you can create a title page using different fonts to make it easy to read or even add a picture to set the mood.

2. Page margins

While writing a script or screenplay for the film, you must know the format like page margin. It will automatically update when you finish your final draft. However, if you would like to know, then the page margin should be one inch from the top and quarter from the bottom and right or left sides of the page. You must leave a space from the left or inside margin around 1 ½ inch to allow it the three-hole punch binding when your screenplay is printed.

3. Font and page numbers

The common format of writing a script is Courier font with 12 points as it’s an entertainment industry standard and makes it easy to estimate screen time from the number of screenplay pages. You can change it to some fancy one; then your script would be more amateurish. Better to stick with the standard font as the top and the header must be lean and clean and number the pages on the top right a half-inch away from the edge.

4. Scene headings

The screenplay has several scenes, so every scene starts with a heading that is called slug line that contains three elements;

-Whether the scene takes place indoor (INT., short for INTERIOR) or outdoor (EXT., short for EXTERIOR)

-Location of the scene like house, beach or other

-Time of the day like Day Scene, Night Scene, etc.

It will help the reader get to know the same story and exact information about the room by adding the room to the scene heading.

5. Character introductions

When you introduce the screenplay characters, you must write it in all-capital letters for the name and then reference their age and personality. There could be more other ways, but it’s a reader-friendly format that always works to attract the producer and introduce your screenplay character.

6. Action and dialogue

The screenplay is all about action and dialogue because they tell us what is going on in the script and tell the story, so keep that in mind when you write scene headings. Next is a few lines of action regarding each character. Then comes the dialogue intended to write in the center of the page. Final draft sets the proper indent for you automatically.

When the page is finished and the dialogue has been written, you will see ‘MORE’ at the bottom of the page with upper case letters, parentheses, and centered. It’s an indication for the reader to continue reading the character on the next page. Page break can break the dialogue delivery, but no worries about the cutting of sentences. You must write CONT’D to the next page at the top, so the reader understands it’s linked to the previous page.

Another element of the dialogue is PARENTHETICAL direction because these marks underneath the character cue and tell how to deliver them. Always remember parenthetical is used to recognize the dialogue’s delivery or emphasize it to make it clear with whom the character is talking.

7. Transitions

The transitions are placed at the bottom right of the screenwriting page, but it seems to have vanished. Since some transitions still stand, such as CUT TO and FADE OUT. When the scenes are naturally flowing into the next scene, it may not be recommended to transit between scenes until you want it in a stylistic look. Your final draft may have many transition options so format the transition according to the company’s standard.

8. Learning the craft

First, it is recommended to read the successful scripts or screenplays to educate yourself when you start writing them. Fortunately, the internet solves each problem, such as google, to find your favorite movie’s screenplay and read it. You will get a clear idea of screenplay formatting and even acknowledge the tips and tricks of the most successful movie scripts of the United States.

When you read and focus on script format, you will feel it’s relatively easy to write the screenplay than ever before. You will become more creative and innovative with your writings and practical skills. A better grasp of knowledge will help create a story and make it unique and classy.


The elements above, such as scene heading, action, dialogue, transition, etc., makes a script, so keep it to 90-120 pages to succeed in writing scripts. Whatever software or tool you are using to test or modify the script, all you need to know is that Final draft automatically formats scenes, actions, headings, and page transitions.

Knowing how to format a script is great for professional screenwriters looking for success in the industry. You must remember all the above elements are necessary to focus on. Modern technology helps you a lot in this matter, such as screenwriting software and writing tools make it easy to craft a big score in the field. Your script will sell like hotcakes when it is well-written. That will happen when you know how to format a script because poorly written scripts are usually thrown in the trash can and rejected by the producers.

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