You’ve done it! You’ve got a great script idea! It’s an idea that would make a fantastic movie, but now what? You want to write it, but you’ve heard that there’s a specific way to format a screenplay, and it’s a little overwhelming to get started. Have no fear, soon, SoCreate will take the intimidation out of the scriptwriting process. Meanwhile, I’m here to tell you how to generate a properly formatted traditional screenplay!
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You might ask yourself, “Why do I need to format my script a specific way?” A well-formatted traditional screenplay will display a level of professionalism to the reader. Your script being correctly formatted will also make for an easier read. You don’t want your screenplay to be needlessly distracting to the reader because you made formatting errors.
Use a 12-point Courier font. This style is an industry-standard, so think of it as a hard rule.
- Page Numbers
Your page header should be clean with only your page number, all the way over to the right. It should be a half-inch from the top of the page and have a period following it. The title page nor the first page of your script should have a page number. The second page of your screenplay should be the first page to be numbered, and it should be numbered 2.
- Page Margins
The top and bottom margins should be 1 inch. Your left margin should be 1.5 inches. Your right margin should be between 1 and 1.25 inches.
Screenplays are composed of scenes. A scene consists of action and dialogue. Action is a description of what is being viewed in the scene. Action should be justified to reach both left and right margins. It’s written in the present tense and should be single-spaced.
Dialogue is literally what your characters say out loud. Above each line of dialogue should be the character’s name, in all caps, indented an inch further in than the dialogue itself. Dialogue should be indented 2.5 inches from the left side of the page.
- Scene Headings
Also known as a slugline, scene headings tell the reader where and when the action is happening. There are three parts to a slug line; the first is to acknowledge whether the scene is happening inside (Interior written as INT.) or outside (Exterior written as EXT.). Second, you name the location; it might be as specific as a room in a house or as vague as a state. Third, tell the reader whether it’s night or day.
The right screenwriting software can make worrying about formatting a thing of the past. SoCreate is preparing to launch a new way to make screenwriting easier than ever. SoCreate will help people write a screenplay even if they’ve never written a script before! Keep an eye for the software launching in 2020, and be sure to sign up on the website for early access to the beta program.
I hope this blog cleared up any formatting questions you might have had. Happy writing!