Hey Filmmakers Chung Dha here, this video we covering the basics of a screenplay format, first of all you don’t need to have a script softwares and any writing program can be used, personally I am using Google Docs because it’s free and its easy to share the files to cast and crews in different formats, but also you can work on it from your phone using Google docs app, it auto syncs so you can also access it on your laptop or tablet and keep on writing.

So why is script formatting important? It’s mainly to make it easier to understand the script without needing to learn a new format every time, especially if everybody does it their own way, it will get very confusing very fast. 

But also a script is more than just having the dialog and actions for a director and actor to follow, the main important thing it’s a guideline for the entire crew to work on, as the information given can be used to prepare locations, props, equipment and more.

The first thing we are going to set is the font, which is  Courier New, you might have heard of people using Courier Regular as a screenplay font, but they the same font, but the Courier Regular is the older version that is non scalable font or will pixelate when upscaled and most computer dont have it pre installed, while courier new is. And the font size we are using is 12 points.

Now we are adding page numbers, we go to insert, then to page numbers and we choose the top right. Then we go to options and turn off “show on the first page”.

Now we add indents tabs, hover your mouse on the ruler on top and at 0.5 we right mouse click and choose “Add left tab-stop” and we also add them at 1 and also at 2.19

Now we can finally start typing. The first page is the title page, there isn’t really a standard layout for this but mostly have the title of the movie and under it say screenplay by or written by, then with the names of who had worked on this script.

Now we add our contact info so if someone likes your script they can contact you. We go to insert and go to Headers & Footers and choose a footer then we type out your email and next line your phone number, which we align either to the left or right of the page.

Now to the actual first page of the script. We start the script a transition, we align it to the right and here we type in all caps either BLACK SCREEN or FADE IN. This is basically the transition start of your movie, either just a straight cut from black to start of your movie or a more ease in using a FADE IN from black to the first shot of your movie. We will talk more about transition later, now to the first scene.

We go to the next row where we type in number 1, this shows the scene numbering so it’s easier to find the correct scene faster. 

Then hit tab to go to 0.5, so we can add the Slugline or header, as this can be used to quickly determine where and when this scene is taking place. 

We start the slugline with either EXT or INT standing for exterior for outdoor location or interior for an indoor location. Then we write the name of the locations, being specific on which street or even specify what kind of room you want this scene to happen. Then we can write if it is a day or night scene. The Scene heading or Slugline is also very useful for planning the production schedule.

Next row also starting at 0.5 tab stop we have the actions. Just write clear instructions of what you want to see happening with the least amount of words. You really don’t need to explain too much, but clear precise action beats that need to happen in the scene. Also if the actors interact with an item, you should write it down, so the prop department knows they need to get them ahead of time.

Also we can specify the gender and age of the character the first time we encounter them in the script, this makes it easier for the casting to search for specific actors, but also for the person reading to understand what kind of characters they are.

Now something not every scriptwriter adds, which is the shots directions, these are written in full caps at 0.5 tab stop, these are camera angles, camera movements and framing information. I personally add them as I already envisioned the scene while I am writing and also tell a story with the camera. This also makes it easier for the DP as this acts as a kind of shot list in the script.

Now we get to the dialogue section. First we write the name of the character who will be speaking. This starts at the 2.19 tab stop. Behind it in round brackets we can specify if it’s continuation of a dialogue that got split up by an action or something else. There also is V.O. for voice overs and O.S. for off screen.

Then under the name we can add another rounded bracket for a small direction of speech. For example like whispering, loudly,out of breath or any emotions you want this dialogue to convey.

Then we have the actual dialogue which starts at 1 tab stop. Only special to add in rounded brackets in the middle of the dialogue are if you want to give directions to change emotions or to add a PAUZE.

Now let’s get back to transitions on the right side of the page, these are rarely included in scripts, but it’s still useful to know. These are often just quick wording of the transitions like cut to , wipe to and more. These ofcourse during filming will be used to make sure to film the shot for the transition and for post production to know they need to edit in the transition at those points.

If you want to jump time within the scene, you can add a “SAME SCENE LATER” instead of writing the same slugline with a later time.

Another thing you won’t often see in scripts are the title cards, these are written left side at 0.5 tab stop. We indicate them with either “OVER BLACK” or “OVER FOOTAGE” and under it specify the footage. Then under that the Title you need. These are used when showing the title of the movie or indicating a change of time or location / country and if you want to script the opening and end credit scenes.

The next is if you are scripting a montage, this is marking begin montage and end montage, as montages often are quick shots between different locations. If you don’t mark them the script might seem like it has several scenes written with missing dialogue, so marking the beginning and end of a montage will make the reader understand it written purposely for a montage.

Now to close off the script we indicate it with THE END at 2.19 tabstop or centered to the page.

If there are any questions about scripting please leave it in the comments below. And also don’t forget to SLS, share like and subscribe, thank you for watching and I will see you in the next video.

Screenplay format basics in Google Docs

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- Awarded Cinematographer , Photographer and Graphic Designer.

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