There are a lot of screenwriting industry standards that writers are expected to embrace. Have you ever found yourself asking “why” about some of them? Recently, I pondered the use of Courier as the industry-standard font in traditional screenplays and did some research to discover why that is. Here’s a little history on how Courier came to be the industry’s go-to screenwriting font! Here’s a hint: screenwriting hasn’t changed much since the era of …
You’ve probably noticed that Courier is a very typewriter-esque font, and that’s actually how it got its start. Courier font was created for IBM in 1955 for a line of typewriters, and it quickly became the standard typewriter font. The font itself was never copyrighted, making the font free to use in any medium.
Why Writers STILL Use Courier in Traditional Screenplays
Courier is what is known as a monospaced font, meaning that every letter is given an equal amount of horizontal spacing. Most fonts you see are called proportional fonts, where the letters only take up as much space as they need; this is often considered more esthetically pleasing and easier to read.
While not the most attractive font, Courier is very predictable. Courier’s monospacing makes for a more accurate read in regard to time, which we all know is essential in screenwriting. A page is about 55 lines, which equates to about a minute of screen time. Monospacing makes Courier a consistent representation of the “one page equals one minute” rule. If we were to use a proportional font, the mixture of spacing would make that rule less accurate.
Until There’s a New Screenplay Format, We’ll Probably Continue to Use Courier
During a script’s life, it will often change hands between many writers and undergo various rewrites. This means a bunch of people will be opening and working on that script in different screenwriting programs. Those programs may be different, but since we have an industry-standard, we’re all typing in the same exact 12-point Courier font.
So, there you have it! A fun little history about how Courier came to be the industry standard font. Now you know that Courier serves a consistency purpose, and we don’t just use it for its typewriter looks.
Most of the traditional screenplay standards, including the mandated and necessary use of Courier, are going to change big time once SoCreate launches its revolutionary screenwriting platform. So, make sure you’re signed up to be one of the first to try the software if you’re ready for something new.
Until then, Courier, it is. Happy writing!