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Thursday, 7 January 2016

Screenplay page format and elements of Screen play

Sample Screenplay PageThere is no hard and fast rule for how to format montages in screenplays. As with all formatting, the goal is to express what’s happening on screen as clearly and simply as possible, without breaking up the flow of the screenplay or taking your reader out of the script.
Sample Screenplay

A screenplay is a 90-120 page document written in Courier 12 pt font on 8 1/2" x 11" bright white three-hole punched paper. 
Why Courier font is used? 
It's a timing issue. One formatted script page in Courier font equals roughly one minute of screen time. That's why the average page count of a screenplay should come in between 90 and 120 pages. Comedies tend to be on the shorter side (90 pages, or 1 ½ hours) while Dramas run longer (120 pages, or 2 hours).
A screenplay can be an original piece, or based on a true story or previously written piece, like a novel, stage play or newspaper article. A screenplay is a blueprint for the film. 
Professionals on the set including the producer, director, set designer and actors all translate the screenwriter's vision using their individual talents. Since the creation of a film is ultimately a collaborative art, the screenwriter must be aware of each person's role and as such, the script should reflect the writer's knowledge.
The very nature of screenwriting is based on how to show a story on a screen, and pivotal moments can be conveyed through something as simple as a look on an actor's face. .
While screenplay formatting software such as Final DraftMovie Magic ScreenwriterMovie Outline and Montage frees you from having to learn the nitty-gritty of margins and indents, it's good to have a grasp of the general spacing standards.
The top, bottom and right margins of a screenplay are 1". The left margin is 1.5". The extra half-inch of white space to the left of a script page allows for binding with brads
The entire document should be single-spaced.


The very first item on the first page should be the words FADE IN:. Note: the first page is never numbered. Subsequent page numbers appear in the upper right hand corner, 0.5" from the top of the page, flush right to the margin.
Screenplay snippet - Top of First Page

Scene Heading

Indent: Left: 0.0" Right: 0.0" Width: 6.0"
A scene heading is a one-line description of the location and time of day of a scene.   You can add additional details to the scene heading using a hyphen or [brackets]  after the time of day to designate things like [TRAVELING] for a car scene or [FLASHBACK] to denote it as a flashback.

Slug line

Another way to indicate a FLASHBACK is to place it on it’s own slug line before the Scene Heading. This is useful if the Flashback covers several scenes. Make sure to add an END FLASHBACK when coming out of it.
Other forms of slug lines exist that go inside your master scene. These slug lines act as special indicators and are useful for inserting special shots or for drawing out an important visuals. This is an example of using slug lines to indicate a text message received on a phone using the slugline 
ON SCREEN” – we use the “JOHN” to come out of this screen shot.


When a new scene heading is not necessary, but some distinction needs to be made in the action, you can use a subheader. You would use the term INTERCUT and the scene locations.


The narrative description of the events of a scene, written in the present tense. Also less commonly known as direction, visual exposition, blackstuff, description or scene direction.


Indent: Left: 2.0" Right: 0.0" Width: 4.0"
When a character is introduced, his name should be capitalized within the action.
A character's name is CAPPED and always listed above his lines of dialogue. Minor characters may be listed without names, for example "TAXI DRIVER" or "CUSTOMER."


Lines of speech for each character. Dialogue format is used anytime a character is heard speaking, even for off-screen and voice-overs.


A parenthetical is direction for the character, that is either attitude or action-oriented.  A parenthetical is a screenwriting technique of writing information about what a character is feeling or doing. For example, if a character should be feeling depressed, the screenwriter would write in the parenthetical . Screenwriters should be as descriptive as possible, but the information needs to be brief.
Ex of Parenthetical

To view an example of a parenthetical, see below:
                                (crying and sleepy)
                Is it really time to leave?
                                (closely hugging Josey)
                I'm sorry, honey, but it is.
Again, the information needs to be as short as possible and used only sparingly.



An abbreviated technical note placed after the character's name to indicate how the voice will be heard onscreen, for example, if the character is speaking as a voice-over, it would appear as ANTONY (V.O.).


Transitions are film editing instructions, and generally only appear in a shooting script.  As a spec script writer, you should avoid using a transition unless there is no other way to indicate a story element.


 Like a transition, there's rarely a time when a spec screenwriter should insert shot directions, that's the director's job. 


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