Week 4: Putting It All Together—Formatting Your Script
Almost there. You have visualized characters, internal and external conflicts, and an outlined plot. Plus, you know what kind of stuff scripts are made of: dialogue, character names, action, and description. The final step is learning how to format your script.
It's important to learn standardized script formatting so that directors, actors, and artists can read and understand your script before and during production. Before venturing out into the great wilderness of script formatting, take some time to read over one of the following how-tos to find out how to format the type of script your're writing this April:
After you've read over your formatting how-tos, practice formatting the scenes you created last week—by hand, or with a scriptwriting program or template.
Writing by Hand: Take out your filled-out "Writing Good Dialogue" and "Lights, Camera, Action!" worksheets, and copy the dialogue and action/description onto the script templates in the "Formatting Your Script" worksheet.
Scriptwriting Software: If you have access to a computer, you can write your script using software that will practically do all the formatting for you! Some of these programs cost money, but others are free. Check out our Scriptwriting Software page.
Once you've downloaded the program you like best, practice writing your character names, dialogue, and scene headings using the conversations you created in the "Writing Good Dialogue" and "Lights, Camera, Action!" worksheets. Spend more time exploring the program, so that when the Frenzy begins you're comfortable using it.
Scriptwriting Templates: If you don't want to learn a whole new computer program and are planning to write your script using Microsoft Word or Open Office, it may be helpful to use a template. Once you open one of the templates below, you can display a template menu by going to the “Format” menu option and selecting “Styles and Formatting.” A menu will then pop up with all the different script elements. For example, if you wanted to write dialogue, first select “Character” from the menu bar and write your character’s name. Hit enter. Then select “Dialogue,” and write what you want them to say.
Once you've downloaded the appropriate template for your script, practice writing your character names, dialogue, and scene headings using the conversations you created in the "Writing Good Dialogue" and "Lights, Camera, Action!" worksheets. Spend some time using the template, so that when the Frenzy begins you're comfortable using it.
- Stage Play Template (Microsoft Word) courtesy of Abigail-Nicole
- Screenplay Template (Microsoft Word)
- Screenplay Template (Open Office) courtesy of Grady Pruitt
A Final Note
During this Boot Camp, you have learned many important things about scriptwriting, but the only way to really learn something is to practice. That's what April is for. So get out there and practice writing those blockbuster movies, Broadway plays, award-winning TV shows, and collectible comic books!