Screenplay Format

How to format a screenplay!

A screenplay should have 4 things.  Sluglines, Action, Character Names, and Dialogue.

1. Sluglines are the header for the scene.  INT. or EXT.  then the location followed by what time of day. All capitalized.

INT. COFFEE SHOP – DAY

EXT. PARKING LOT – NIGHT

2. Action which explains what is going on in the scene.  A good rule of thumb is to keep this simple.  Write action for 5th grade reading level just like USA Today.  It keeps normal formating with the exception of the first time you introduce a character you capitalize all the letters.

SALLY a young voluptuous blonde sites down next to Johnny with a cup of coffee.

You do not capitalize Johnny if you already introduced him earlier in the screenplay.

3. Character names.  The character’s name is always capitalized and centered about the dialogue.

4. Dialogue which is what the characters say.  It always starts on the line below the characters name and is indented.  When the dialogue stops there is a space.

The best thing to do to format your screen play is use software that does this automatically for you.  You can use Final Draft which is the industry standard.  They offer a free trial version which is exactly the same as the full version.  The only difference is that it doesn’t let you save files that are over 15 pages.

Try a free demo version of final draft.
Final Draft Version 8 [Download]

 

Be sure you use 12 point font in Courier.  Be sure to number all your pages with the exception of page 1 on the top right corner.  Final draft will do this for you automatically. It also has a feature to create your title page.

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