Writing screenplays isn’t like writing novels or anything like that. There is a very distinct structure you have to follow. You can’t just go writing whatever you want all willy-
And, actually, there are two different formats Hollywood wants you to strictly-
But, first of all, we’ll need to talk about the technical structure they want.
NEXT UP… THE PROTAGONIST!
The most important character you’ll create is your protagonist, or main-
Courier 12pt (10 pitch) font (with the formatting and indenting mentioned above) will produce a screenplay that is roughly one minute per page (a little more for dialogue, a little less for action-
Here’s a couple example-
12. Dialogue starts with the character’s name, in ALL-
13. Parentheticals, if required in your screenplay, go underneath the Character’s Name, and above the dialogue, indented roughly three and a half inches from the paper’s edge.
14. Top, bottom and right margins are one inch.
15. Except for stuff like Parentheticals, dialogue and character names, which have margins between 2 and 3 inches.
16. If you need a character to pause during their speech, put a parenthetical ‘beat’ on the line below the last bit of dialogue before the pause, then continue the dialogue on the next line. Same with directions that don’t really require their own separate paragraph of action, such as:
17. Parentheticals are basically notes to the actors.
18. Page numbers go at the top-
19. If dialogue is happening off-
20. Script should be 3-
21. Title page should have the title and underneath that, the author’s name -
22. If a bit of dialogue is split between two pages, add (MORE) at the bottom of the first page. Then, on the next page, start with CHARACTER’S NAME (cont’d) (indented as you would a normal character’s name/dialogue heading).
23. Screen directions or transitions (fade out, fade to black, fade to white, etc...) go in ALL-
24. DO NOT include anything other than the most basic screen directions. That’s the director’s job, not the writers! So, you should almost never include things like ‘tracking shot of the main-
25. If you want to include where the titles go in your script, you can include a line in the action of that scene that goes something like: BEGIN TITLES or SUPERIMPOSE: Los Angeles 2172AD or TITLE OVER: 10 Minutes Ago. You can use bold or not. Either works.
If you use screenwriting software, you probably won’t have to worry too much about the above, as the program will format all your work for you as you go. But, it’s good to know, as most Hollywood executives will immediately throw your script in the garbage-
I tried to choose sample pages that had a lot of stuff going on in them (parentheticals, continueds, etc… That’s just so I could show you as many different possibilities as possible, all in one image. So don’t go looking at your own script and wondering why you don’t have way more parentheticals -
Now that you know what technical-
|No Writing Yet|
|The First Act|
|The Inciting Incident|
|The Supporting Cast|
|The First Turning-Point|
|The Second Act|
|The Love Story|
|Screenplay Page Counts|
|Everything is Looking Good!...|
|False-Victory or False-Defeat|
|The Pit of Despair|
|The Second Turning Point|
|The Third Act|
|All Is Not Lost|
|Wind It All Up|
|Wrapping Up Your Sub-Plots|
|The Final Battle|
|Actually Writing Your Script|
|Back to the Future|
|Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them|
|T2 - Terminator 2|