Movie Script Writing – The Basic Format

Knowing the format of a movie script is especially vital for a new screenplay writer. It is natural to be thrilled about finally producing a written copy of what have been in your head for a while now. Knowing everything about your characters and plots, however, does not necessarily mean you know how to put them all down in an organized, effective way they should be put down. Movie scripts always come in a uniform format and failure to conform is guaranteed to make your screenplay lose its very important audience, the director/producer. No movies are coming out from a script nobody understands.

Details are King

All parts of your screenplay need to be formatted and categorized so the directors and actors can understand the story and how to do their job. This covers things like the number of scenes and the directions, the dialogue and characters as well as the part where you elaborate the scenes.

If you stray away from the acceptable format, nobody is going to buy your screenplay let alone produce it into a movie. It doesn’t matter if your script is the Next Big Hollywood movie. Being an amateur or a beginner does not excuse you from not applying yourself to the whole process appropriately. No hope in moving up in the world of the entertainment industry if you are not willing to do this.

Indeed there are software choices to help you start with your screenwriting but familiarity with the whole manual process will help you identify potential errors, which may otherwise ruin your entire movie.

The Importance of Margins

One way to make it easier for everybody concerned to read movie scripts is the way margins differ in the typing of the script. Characters, dialogue, and actions involving are typed at the center of the page, while directions for action and stage setting are typed on the left of the page.

Putting in Correct Capitalization and Punctuation

Some things in a movie script are destined to be in capital letters. Names of characters are one example. Actions words are another. Say you want to tell the director and actors that, in a certain scene, you are going to have a mirror broken. The word break should be put in capital, “BREAK”, to let all parties involved know what is going on in that particular scene.

In a movie script, there is no need to put dialogue in quotation marks. With the appropriate format, your movie script should already show the dialogue clearly. It is still important to put correct punctuation in the sentences, however.

Page Breaks

Whether it is a novel or monthly report or screenplay, paper size will always limit your space. There is no way to avoid it; there are plenty of times within your script where you need to move the action to the other page in the middle of things. It is important to make sure your readers know it is not the end of the scene. When a scene is cut by the need to change pages, you need to put in the (more) indicator. As the scene resumes in the next page, tell your readers by using (cont’d).

Indeed, there are plenty other things to follow and watch for in order to make everything right. Still, more practices and study will help you familiarize yourself with the process and, in turn, help you get it right. When in doubt or when you have questions it is always a good practice to stop a while, look things up – look especially for examples – and resume writing when you have found out the correct answers.