Basic Screenplay Formatting

 Basic Screenplay Formatting


Keep in mind that a screenplay is visual. This is why books are often quite different when  script format adapted into movies. Your characters’ dialogue supports their actions.

There is a very specific format when it comes to the way a screenplay is written:

  • Must be formatted using Courier 12-point font.
    • The left hand margin should be set at 1 1/2″ and the remaining margins set to 1″.
    • Page numbers must be in the upper right hand corner, 1/2″ from the top of the page.
    • Page numbers begin on the second page.
    • The title page and first page do not have page numbers.
    • Every script begins with the word “FADE IN”, capitalized at the left margin. The a two line space where you will enter your first scene heading.

Each scene has what is called a “Scene Heading”. This means that every time your characters move to a different location, the scene has a new title, or heading.

Writing a Scene contains of five main factors:

  • Characters – Define who is in the scene.
    • Location – Where is it taking place?
    • Situation – What is happening?
    • Time – When is the scene taking place (year, date, time, etc…)?
    • Reason – Why is this happening?

INT is used for interior scene, and EXT is used for exterior scene. You will then list a very brief description of where the scene is going to take place at, as well as during daytime or nighttime.

Narration Rules:

  • Must begin at the left margin.
    • Try to limit a block of narration to 4-5 lines.
    • Always use the present tense when narrating.
    • Avoid overly detailed descriptions.



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