Now you have your story structured and characters well developed, and You need to write your story in a professional film script format. This is where all the creative work kind of stops, since professional film script format has stringent rules, so be careful.
Many writers use a script writing software to write in script format even if you plan to use a screenwriting software, and you should go through the rules mentioned here, so you can make sure that everything is in place. It may sound complicated at the start, but, trust me, once you’ll understand the basics, it will come quickly to you.
I am going to walk you through the basic format rules, and if you want to deepen your knowledge on the subject, I recommend reading the book The Hollywood Standard: The Complete and Authoritative Guide to Script Format and Style.
The first page needs to have the title on about line 25, on the page center in quotes, and in caps letters.
Four lines under the title should be the “Written by” (also centered), and 2-3 lines after that should be the name of the writer.
I also like to write my contact information at the bottom of the page.
The critical thing to remember is that every scene needs to start with the details of who, what, where, and when. The script should be written in the present tense since revealing to us on the paper as we read it as if we are watching the film.
The first line describes the scene called slugline, which is the headline of the scene. Each time your character moves from one location to another, it’s a new scene, and you’ll need a new headline. The slugline reveals to us the number of the scene. It is shot inside or outside (writing as INT/EXT), the location of the scene, and the time of day (day or night).
The order here is critical.
It should all be in capital letters, so it should look like this:
The reason for being strict about the slugline is so the producer/cinematographer/sound man and all other crew members can go through the script quickly and get the general idea about the production.
For example, they can learn how many scenes in the film need lighting (those that are shot inside) and how many are going to use sunlight (those that are shot outside at daytime). If you read the lesson about Script Breakdown, you will understand why this is very important when working on the budget
This is why many directors and producers ask for the script in a Final Draft format because it makes it easy for them to divide the scenes like that.
After writing the slugline, you should write the scene description. The scene description is built from a few short sentences and should give us a clear image of what we are going to see on screen. It should be written two spaces below the slugline and between the margins. Every scene will start with a scene description, but it can be written during the scene every time something happens that is not a dialogue.
When a character is introduced for the first time, you should write her name in capital letters and add a short description of her.
Remember! You can only write what we see. You can’t write stuff like “Leroy is sad,” you should show us he is sad. You have to remember that the audience is not going to read the script. You can sometimes use metaphors to set the mood, but be careful there.
So it what we have now will look like this:
Leroy, a fat, 40 years old man, is sitting with a small dog next to him. Leroy is crying while looking at pictures, and the dog is licking him.
Notice I didn’t write “sitting with HIS dog.” If I want the audience to understand that the dog belongs to Leroy, I need to find a way to show it.
The talking character’s name should be written three lines below the description and about 4 inches from the edge in capital letters. The character’s lines will be 1 line below and about 3 inches from the edge.
The whole thing should look like this:
Leroy, a – 40 years old man, is sitting with a small dog next to him. Leroy is crying while looking at pictures, and the dog is licking him.
Hey Leroy, are you OK?
No. I miss my girl.
Now, Leroy wants to get up in the middle of the conversation. This is how we write it:
Leroy, a 40 years old man, is sitting with a small dog next to him. Leroy is crying while
looking at pictures, and the dog is licking him.
Hey Leroy, are you OK?
No. I miss my girl
Leroy gets up without looking at him
I don’t want to talk about it!
There are much more and if you want to get perfect in it,