Anyone working with scripts and in screenwriting knows how strict the formatting is, especially concerning submitting scripts to agents/production companies. Screenwriting formatting must be followed. It is unclear to my knowledge on who set the format, but by 1949 it was set as the standard format for all screen writing scripts. The following are the basic outlines and the detail behind the full formatting is explained through the screenwriting classes.
1 Page of Script = 1 Minute of Screen time
No matter what software you use, your screenplay needs to look like it was printed by a typewriter. This is achieved by using one type of font:
Courier – Courier New – Courier Final Draft – Courier Standard
This is not because of nostalgia but to do with character spacing and reading time of each page of script. Every character written in the font Courier takes up the same width. Other fonts will give different widths.
Guidelines for submitting a script:
Use Plain White 8.5 Inch Paper
Three Hole Punched – on the left hand side
One Font – Courier – Courier New – Courier Final Draft – Courier Standard
One Font Size – 12 and single spaced
Formatting of Title Page using MS Word 2010
Start with a 1.5 inch margin on the left and 1” margin on the right. It may look uneven but this is to leave space for the three hole punch. Top and bottom margins can be 1” each. Centre the Screenplay heading in the centre of the page and type it in all caps. It is optional to underline the title. Two lines below this, type “By” or “Screenplay By” and two lines below that, write your name. If you are adapting a work, cite the work, two lines below your name. On the bottom right hand corner, write your name again with the copyright symbol. Below your name you can put in whatever contact information you wish eg. phone number, email address etc.
For the front and back cover of your script take a plain card stock (like a divider). The whole script should be held together with metal fasteners - one in the top hole and one in the bottom hole. Never put artwork or text on the covers.
I hope these guidelines have helped and if you want to read more relating to writing or screenwriting do check out the Writing Academy link below.
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Ben Kesp Writing Academy
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