Formatting your screenplay

Film screenplays have certain conventions that are followed to allow people who are reading the screenplay to understand the content as quickly and easily as possible.

In order to become familiar with the 8 kinds of items/lines that you will use in your own screenplays, check out the explanation of each of them in this video from RocketJump Film School:

To see what a screenplay looks like when it’s completed, you can look at the examples from Screen Australia or WriterDuet. Both of these examples show how a screenplay looks while also explaining how it’s formatted.

You can also look at some examples from Pixar, as 5 of their scripts are online.

Once you have an understanding of how you want your final screenplay to look, it’s time for you to sign up for the free screenplay writing software WriterDuet. Once you’ve signed up to the site, you will be able to save your screenplays online and collaborate with others who you invite to edit or comment on your scripts.

If you’re happy to explore the software yourself in order to learn how it will format your screenplay for you, feel free to start playing around with it to ensure that you can work out how to input each of the 8 kinds of lines you might need to use in your screenplay. Remember, these are: (1) Header/Slug Line; (2) Action; (3) Character ID; (4) Dialogue; (5) Character Parenthetical; (6) Dialogue Paranthetical; (7) Transition; (8) Over Black / Title Markers.

If you’re wanting a quick tutorial either on the formatting of your screenplay within WriterDuet, or on how to share your screenplay and communicate with other people within it, you can watch the video below while also looking at the example screenplay they use in the tutorial.