Topic: How to write a professionally-formatted screenplay
More than often do I see scripts in the forum that are written too disjointed and unclear. This is annoying. By writing your screenplay in the right format, it will:
1. Look more professional.
2. Be easier on the eye.
3. Improve your chances to be taken seriously.
4. And as a result of that, improve your chances on finding voice actors.
The format is very simple. First you have your scene heading, here's an example:
EXT. BALCONY - NOON
EXT. stands for exterior, which you write if the scene is set outside. If the scene is set inside, you write INT. (interior).
Then you write the location of the scene, the example it is set on a balcony. If it's set in a kitchen, write "KITCHEN".
Lastly in the scene heading, write the time of the seen, like "NIGHT", "MORNING", etc.
The scene heading is always written in CAPITALS.
Second, you have your scene description. This is written in present tense, and NOT in capitals, it's centered to the left. Do not mention camera angles in the description, this isn't interesting to read for others, nor is it relevant to them. It might be easy for you, but you're better to either storyboard or make a shotlist.
Dialogue is written like this:
Insert generic line.
The character talking is written in capitals, above the dialogue, which is not written in capital letters. Both are centered in the middle.
Then there's transitions. Thing like "CUT TO BLACK" or "FADE TO". These are written in capitals and centered to the RIGHT. After a transition, a new scene heading should follow, unless it's the end of the script.
That's it, basically. This format has no downsides. It's easier to write, and it looks a lot better. You can do this in Word, but if you want you can download a screenwriting software called CeltX (just google it), or Final Draft if you're willing to pay a ridiculous price, but that really isn't worth it.
Here's an example of a scene from the JUNO script:
EXT. CENTENNIAL LANE - DUSK
JUNO MacGUFF stands on a placid street in a nondescript subdivision, facing the curb. It’s FALL. Juno is sixteen years old, an artfully bedraggled burnout kid. She winces and shields her eyes from the glare of the sun. The object of her rapt attention is a battered living room set, abandoned curbside by its former owners. There is a fetid-looking leather recliner, a chrome-edged coffee table, and a tasteless latchhooked rug featuring a roaring tiger.
It started with a chair.
Oh, right. (V.O.) stands for Voice over, and (O.S.) stands for off screen.
Last edited by Pillow (November 16, 2011 (10:51pm))