HOW TO FORMAT A SCREENPLAY
A screenplay is the shooting script that is used by actors during rehearsal and on the set. Screenplays are written in a particular format to make them easily readable.
You may consider using a Microsoft Word template or software like Celtx to format your screenplay. The image below demonstrates how screenplays are formatted.
Consider the following conventions when formatting your screenplay:
- Page #. Every page in your screenplay should be numbered. This will mean that your actors can quickly find pages when you’re on set.
- Transition. Used to indicate a transition, such as a dissolve or fade in, the might occur between scenes.
- Scene Heading/Slugline. Indicates the beginning of scene. The slugline is written entirely in caps. INT indicates that the scene takes place indoors. EXT indicates that the scene will occur outdoors.
- Action. Sometimes referred to as the ‘big print’, this describes what is happening on the screen. It is written in present tense.
- Character. To indicate dialogue, a character’s name is usually capitalised roughly in the centre of the page.
- Dialogue. Dialogue is indented beneath the character’s name.
- Parentheticals. Indicates how a line is delivered.
If you’re serious about screenwriting, there is also a great piece of software that you can use called Celtx, which incorporates screenwriting and storyboarding features side by side. This software is available for a variety of operating systems.