SimplyScripts.com - Read Movie Scripts Online

    Writer's Resources - Standard Script Format - This is one take on the Standard Script Format. Please note that this script format aid originally appeared on The Daily Script under the webmaster Dana Franklin. Dana wrote this based upon the Warner Brothers formatting style. Dana no longer maintains the site. This appears here on this site without his permission.

Margins

Stage direction and shot headings (also known as slug lines) have a margin of 1.7" of the left and 1.1" on the right. TWO BLANK LINES PRECEDE EACH SHOT HEADING.

Dialog has a left margin of 2.7" and a right margin of 2.4".

Character names over dialog (speaker) have a left margin of 4.1".

Parenthetical direction within dialog has a left margin of 3.4" and a right margin of 3.1".

Scenes transitions such as CUT TO: and FADE OUT. have a left margin of 6.0".

Scene/shot numbers: When a script is numbered in preproduction, the left number is placed 1.0" from the left edge of the page and the right scene number is placed 7.4" from the left edge of the page.

Top page margin is .5" (or three single lines) before the page number. A single blank line separates the page number from the body of the script, which begins with either a CONTINUED: or a new shot heading/slug line.

Bottom page margin is at least .5" (or three single lines) following the (CONTINUED) or the end of a scene.

Total page length is a maximum of 60 lines, including page number and CONTINUEDs (but not including the 3 line margins at the top and bottom of the page).

Paper size is 8.5" wide by 11" long.

Font

Use 12-point Courier (not Courier New) or Prestige Pica. These are fixed-pitch fonts that yield ten (10) characters per horizontal inch and six (6) lines per vertical inch.

Use of "CONTINUED"

When a shot or scene continues from one page to the next, (CONTINUED) must be added at the bottom of the page where the break occurs, preceded by a single blank line. CONTINUED: is then added at the top of the next page, followed by a single blank line.

Breaking stage direction

When stage direction (also known as action) is broken at the bottom of a page, break it only at the end of a complete sentence. CONTINUEDs must be added as explained above.

Breaking dialog

When a character's speech is broken at the bottom of a page, break it only at the end of a complete sentence. Add (MORE) 4.1" from the left page edge at the bottom of the page where the break occurs, directly beneath the dialog (in other words, no blank line separates the (MORE) from the dialog) On the following page put (CONT'D) after the character name and on the same line as the name.

Also, when breaking speeches, do not place parenthetical character direction before the (MORE). Place the parenthetical direction with the remainder of the speech on the next page.

For Example:

                        SKYLAR
           See, it's my life story.
                        (MORE)
         
                                              (CONTINUED)
         
-------------------------page break--------------------------
         
                                                 Page 23.
CONTINUED:
         
                        SKYLAR (CONT'D)
                 (parenthetical goes here)
           Five more minutes and I would have got
           to hear your best pick-up line.
         
                        WILL
           The caramel thing is my pick-up line.
End Example (from Good Will Hunting)

Formatting parenthetical character direction

"Parenthetical character direction" is specific business relating only to the speaking character. Parenthetical character direction is placed in parens, on a separate line from dialogue.

If the direction goes more than four lines, place it at the left margin as regular direction, using a colon (:) to indicate it goes with the character's next speech.

Incorrect

                        BOBBY
                 (balancing on one foot
                  as he aims his dart,
                  sips a beer, and eats
                  a handful of peanuts)
           I guess I need a bulls-eye.
Correct
As he balances on on one foot aims his dart, sips a beer, and
eats a handful of peanuts:
         
                        BOBBY
           I guess I need a bulls-eye.
If CAMERA MOVEMENTS or SOUNDS (which should be capped) appear in parenthetical character direction, they should be "pulled out" and treated as regular direction:

Incorrect

                        BOBBY
                 (as the PHONE RINGS)
           Dammit!  I told her not to call me!
Correct
As the PHONE RINGS:
         
                        BOBBY
           Dammit!  I told her not to call me!
Do not put another character's direction in the speaking character's dialogue. It MUST go at the left margin.

Incorrect

                        GIRL
           You are such an idiot.
                 (Bobby flips her off)
           Oh, that's mature.
Correct
                        GIRL
           You are such an idiot.
         
Bobby flips her off.
         
                        GIRL
           Oh, that's mature.

Formatting dialogue

Words are never broken by a hyphen at the end of a line of dialogue unless it's a naturally hyphenated word, such as twenty-three, point-blank, etc.

Formatting shot headings

All shot headings are placed on a line by themselves with two blank lines above and one blank line below. This includes any so-called "hidden" shots which may be imbedded in descriptive passages.

An example of a hidden shot follows:

Incorrect

INT. GOOBER'S SPORTS BAR - NIGHT
         
Cigarette smoke fills the room.  From Bobby's POV, we see
JULIA enter the bar.  Bobby pretends to stab himself with one
of his darts.
Correct
INT. GOOBER'S SPORTS BAR - NIGHT
         
Cigarette smoke fills the room.
         
         
BOBBY'S POV
         
JULIA enters the bar.
         
         
BACK TO SCENE
         
Bobby pretends to stab himself with one of his darts.
Additional examples of "hidden" shots include insert shots, close shots, wide shots, and any other specific shot called for within direction. All of these must be pulled out onto a line of their own.

A shot heading can never stand alone at the bottom of a page without at least one complete sentence of direction of dialogue -- unless there is no direction or dialogue to go with it, such as an INSERT SHOT or an ESTABLISHING SHOT.

Scene transitions

Scene transitions such as CUT TO: and DISSOLVE TO: are entirely optional, but when used should be preceded by one blank line and followed by two blank lines. When breaking pages, the scene transition must remain with the shot just completed. In other words, it is never permissible to start a new page with a CUT TO: or a DISSOLVE TO:. It must be placed at the bottom of the previous page.

Other Notes (by Dana)

The first time a character is introduced in the stage direction of a script, his/her/its name should be written in all caps. If the name is mentioned again, it may appear as normal.

Character names over dialog are always in all CAPS.

Capitalize major sound effects.

Try to avoid using the word "camera." Use "we" instead. (Instead of "The camera follows..." use "We follow...")

For example, if the following is the opening scene of a movie:

INT. GOOBER'S SPORTS BAR - NIGHT
         
The place is a mess, having suffered the insanity of a Friday
night.  Cigarette smoke floats in the air.
         
         
INSERT: THE DART BOARD
         
As a dart SMASHES into the board.
         
         
BACK TO SCENE
         
BOBBY plays darts in a dark corner of the bar.  Even in his
drunken state, he's not too bad.  Bobby's darts still fall
into the board.
         
                        BOBBY
           Damn!  I'm good!
         
The phone RINGS.
         
We follow Bobby over to a phone sitting on the bar.

Return to Writer's Resources

Search with Google

    Google
    Web SimplyScripts

More Navigation

Advertisement