For any new writer fresh out of university of the corporate world, finding your niche is an intimidating yet exciting process. The few brave writers who decide to specialise in script writing may often second-guess themselves when faced with seemingly endless formats, binding options and style rules related to script writing.
Thanks to the wonders of technology, however, the lives of many script writers is now much simpler, with various different software options available to help you ensure the technical aspects of your next great Oscar-winning script is taken care of.
Modern script writers can now be assured that the years spent at university learning about plot and structure, writing essays on themes and the history of English literature is not wasted on format and binding.
The basics of script structure are often the length (between 80 and 130 pages depending on the genre), the font (Courier in most cases), printed on white A4 paper.
A script can be adapted from a novel, original or based on a true story, with the goal of eventually being adapted on film. In fact, most characters in the script are even written with specific actors in mind.
A script is defined by the format and writing style, which usually consists of the following elements on each page:
Indented scene heading in capital letters
Character, with his/her name in capital letters upon introduction
Parenthetical (instructions for characters)
Extension (to indicate which character parenthetical is relevant to)
Transition (directions for editors or directors)
Shot (to indicate the focal point)
Despite the various options writers have in terms of script writing software, it remains vital to have a basic understanding of the spacing and writing standards for scripts. This includes details such as the spacing of bottom, right -and left-hand margins, which should ideally allow ample space for binding.
In terms of binding, there are also specific rules when it comes to script writing and presenting. The basics to remember for the first page of a script include:
Cover title page
Courier 12pt font
Clean first page
“Written by” and author name centre-spaced
Contact information in lower right-hand corner
Any applicable copyright and registrations
Although the seemingly endless rules of script writing may be formulaic and structured. This, however, does not make the practice uncreative or monotonous. Character choices are endless, as are plot options, themes, tone of voice and genre interpretation. Though the rules and structure of script writing are there to guide the writer, each can be adapted and interpreted in various ways.