Have you ever wondered, “Is my screenplay format professional?”. Can it be better? Is my audience going to be able to imagine my words in the lime light?
Well these are not uncommon questions many, veterans and amateurs alike, ask themselves after every script.
Your goal of course is to present it to the film industry, have them read your story and then consider producing it into the best movie of all time!
Now there are a few rules you will have to follow but the golden rule is screenplay format.
From the readers to the development executives, your very first audience, they are going to need to be able to imagine your masterpiece coming to life on the big screen.
In order for them to have the best chance of visualizing it you will have to help them as much as possible.
Taking away all the barriers you can will help to make the reading enjoyable, fun, and best of all easy.
Just like when you met somebody for the first time, your screenplay is going to have its “First Impression” the moment you reader put their eyeballs on it.
Most say that it is the first 10 pages that will be critical in grabbing their attention. If you can’t engage them quickly then your hard work will be put into the pile and they will move on to the next one.
That is exactly why screenplay format is a crucial step in the right direction. Luckily for you there has been a standard that’s been developed.
Margins, page numbering, where your text is placed and many others have to be taken seriously when you begin writing.
This will greatly improve your audiences understanding through your words and give it meaning. You want the purpose of your formatting to ultimately make each page clear, engaging, and readable.
1) THE SLUGLINE
The introduction of your scene appears in one line (The slugline) and this is going to contain the location and time of day.
The majority start of interior or exterior.
2) THE SHOT
The focus of this is to get your audience’s attention on a specific person or object. It appears in all capital, similar to the slugline.
3) The Action element
This will come right after your slugline, and has one blank line which runs from the Left to the right margin.
Here is going to be where you set the screen, describe it and now can introduce your characters. Action is written in real time, so make sure and give attention to detail here. The atmosphere should be described in a “uplifting” description.
If not it can bring down the script.
4) Character Name
Make sure and put this in all capitals, tabbed and in the center of the page as well as following it with dialogue. A name can either be a real name(Chris) or a brief description (Short Stack).
Chris Cardenas is an expert in the area of script format and stays on top of current trends so you don\’t have too.
Now that you know some of the many pitfalls that await you, wouldn’t you want to make sure and avoid ALL the wrongs you may be doing.
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