1.5a 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.

Download this PDF from The Oscars website which explains how a screenplay should be formatted.


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