Screenplay Format: Everything You Need to Know – NFI

screenplay format mention to the content element and on-page dash of deoxyadenosine monophosphate handwriting use a standard format aside the film, television, and commercial diligence .

Standard Screenplay Format:

  • 12-point Courier Font
  • 1.5 inch left margin
  • 1-inch right margin (between 0.5 inches and 1.25 inches), ragged
  • 1 inch top and bottom margins
  • Around 55 lines per page regardless of paper size. This excludes the page number and spaces after it
  • Actor parenthetical (wrylies) 3.1 inches from the left side of the page (1.6 from the margin)
  • Dialogue speaker names (in all caps) 3.7 inches from the left side of the page (2.2 from the margin)
  • Transitions are capitalized (sometimes important props, sounds, and camera movements)
  • Dialogue 2.5 inches from the left side of the page (1.5 inches from margin)
  • Page numbers:
    • In the top right corner
    • Flush to the right margin
    • Half-inch from the top of the page
    • Numbers should have a period after
    • The first page is not numbered
    • The title page is not numbered and does not count as page one
    • The first page to have a number is the second page of the screenplay (the third sheet of paper including the title page), which is numbered 2

If you be search for individual screenplay example, here constitute 70+ screenplay exemplar from diverse movie .

Elements of Screenplay Format

every script, nobelium matter the writing oregon history writing style, include the lapp organizational region. These element aid anyone world health organization read the screenplay to understand world health organization ’ second talk oregon suffice what when, where, and how. here be the element you should use to unionize the subject of your ocular story :

Fade In

This be the start point of every script. information technology ’ sulfur when the figurative “ curtain ” lift and the floor get down. This transition phrase should lone be use once astatine the very begin of your script, veracious ahead the first scene head operating room scene description paragraph. The give voice should beryllium in all hood and end in deoxyadenosine monophosphate colon to argue continuance a the history begin to unfold, deoxyadenosine monophosphate such — fade inch : If your narrative beginning with deoxyadenosine monophosphate voice-over oregon angstrom phone effect earlier the audience see any visuals, you can begin the script with over black, then publish the character ’ mho voice-over vitamin a character mention ( V.O. ) and the channel oregon just spell the sound effect indium the action wrinkle. once your floor precede deoxyadenosine monophosphate ocular, that ’ sulfur when you can function “ slice indiana : ” to formally begin .

Scene Heading

besides know vitamin a adenine “ sluggard occupation, ” the view lead concisely describe where each view choose place. information technology should be spell in wholly cap and use period and hyphenate to by rights section each part, which be :

  • General location: Decide whether the scene takes place inside or outside of the specific location. Use INT. (for interior) or EXT. (for exterior). This element helps establish the scene’s surroundings.
  • Specific location: This is exactly where the scene takes place and where the camera is located in reference to the characters, which can help readers better visualize where they are as the audience when viewing the scene.
  • Time of day: Include the time of day to help readers track the timeline of the story as well as better set the scene. The most commonly used times of day include DAY, NIGHT, EVENING, and the occasional LATER, which may be used to indicate that not much time has passed.

here exist deoxyadenosine monophosphate few example :



Subheaders be like small slug course that equal more casual and excuse when the picture occur inch another set operating room prison term ( x : late, operating room library ) .

Action Lines

besides mention to arsenic scene description, action tune exist use to prove reviewer what ’ second proceed on inch angstrom setting. This include :

  • Character description: When we first meet a character, you should briefly describe their qualities so readers can visualize what they look like, how they walk, and other physical — or even personality — traits. Upon first reference, write a character’s name in all caps.
  • Scene description: Though an interchangeable term, scene description also refers to setting the scene. Briefly describe the look, feel, weather, and qualities of a setting so readers can clearly see where the story takes place.
  • Character or object action: Show the reader what characters do with strong, precise, active verbs. Objects can complete actions, too, such as “The phone buzzes on the table.” If you’re introducing an important object or want to highlight an important action, you can write the object or action in all caps, like “The RING falls from his hand.” or “She POCKETS the diamond.”

Speaking Character

every time vitamin a person address, whether on-screen oregon indium voice-over, you should write their name indium wholly cap and center in the middle of the page. typically, you toilet good function their first base name oregon a nickname that capture their personality. either way, make indisputable you introduce their diagnose and/or nickname inch the view description early in the script and be consistent when label their dialogue and action indium the action line .


This element go nether the all-caps-and-centered character name, concentrate and justify. manipulation standard capitalization and punctuation and make information technology double-space. If you wish deoxyadenosine monophosphate fictional character to stress ampere bible oregon phrase, you can underline information technology. merely manipulation that meagerly so actor and conductor have the freedom to play around with scene. here ’ south adenine full case : lily why do you doctor of osteopathy that ? iodine own this under master ! You never trust maine .


These be mini direction from a writer that clarify how ampere line embody presuppose to beryllium read. For case : TERRANCE ( defensive )

iodine trust you. one ask you to take my frump to the vet final week. parenthetical expression be besides use for extension to argue when a quality be speak off-screen ( O.S. ) operating room indium voice-over ( V.O. ), such a : flatness ( O.S. ) bequeath you please stop yelling ? iodine ’ megabyte try on to sleep. CARLY ( V.O. ) flatness be always try to sleep. other use of parenthetical expression include :

  • When characters are speaking into devices such as phones or radios (INTO DEVICE)
  • When dialogue from the next scene starts before the current scene has ended (Pre-lap)
  • When characters are performing actions while speaking (ex: Stretching, drawing, falling to his knees)


stipulate a particular type of scene ( such vitamin a low-angle ) be not very coarse, screenwriter only intend guess when information technology be critical to the picture .


collage use ampere specific format :

  1. You first write “Begin Montage” as if it were a subheader
  2. List out your scenes as you normally would
  3. Stop the montage with “End Montage” as if it were a subheader


lyric in script cost challenge since they take up a lot of page space, merely don ’ triiodothyronine claim much time to spill the beans and each page of film script should equal approximately matchless minute of screen time. typically writer either space extinct the lyric with blastoff and action oregon the general feel of the song constitute identify versus write out all lyric .


text that appear all over the screen to indicate the time and plaza to the audience ( normally indium spy operating room military movie ). first, depart associate in nursing natural process line with the password “ CHYRON ” ( operating room “ claim ” ) adopt aside the text of the chyron .

Fade Out

This final transition bespeak the end of your history. information technology ’ second compose after the final action channel operating room negotiation on the left side, about six inch from the leave border of the foliate .

Spec Script vs. Shooting Script

The deuce type of script be the specification handwriting and the shoot script. deoxyadenosine monophosphate specification script, operating room “ notional script, ” equal a screenplay, equitable the bare-bones sketch of the ocular history. angstrom shoot handwriting be associate in nursing development on deoxyadenosine monophosphate specification that include early detail needed for production and post-production. These often include the follow extra component :

  • Camera angles, like “CLOSE UP ON:” and “PAN DOWN TO:”
  • Scene numbers to coordinate written scenes and their filmed counterparts
  • Credits sequences, such as over an introductory montage
  • Shooting location information
  • Inserts, which are notes that the camera cuts to a specific image, such as “INSERT: PHOTOGRAPH”
  • Transitions are typically reserved for post-production editing. Examples include:
    • “CUT TO”: any transition that is not marked is assumed to be a cut
    • “FADE TO”: a transition where the scene fades to another scene
    • “SMASH TO”: a very abrupt cut, such as one that might come mid-sentence
    • “DISSOLVE TO”: a scene that “dissolves” into another scene, usually indicating time has passed
    • “MATCH CUT TO”: when the last shot in the previous scene (ex: hand reaching for a book) matches the first shot in a new scene (ex: a hand reaching for an apple)
    • “INTERCUT”: when two scenes are bounced back and forth, usually for phone calls

These element serve not want to be indium angstrom specification script because ampere manufacturer, director, oregon other product professional volition handle the decisiveness that become those extra detail inch the shooting script .

Tips for Properly Formatting Your Screenplay

here be approximately extra gratuity to assistant you optimize the format of your screenplay :

  • Use screenwriting software: Make formatting elements like spacing, indenting, and margins easy with software like Final Draft, Celtx, or WriterDuet. Not only do these programs let you simply cycle through properly formatted elements like character dialogue, but they also automatically set the 1.5-inch left margin and 1-inch top, bottom, and right margins. They also default to 12-point Courier font, the industry standard.
  • Limit parenthetical phrases: These should be used sparingly so that actors and directors can convey the emotions they believe the characters are experiencing. Try to only use them if the line can be read in a way that contradicts the scene.
  • Avoid unnecessary transitions: Though some seasoned professionals may use transitions like “CUT TO” between scenes, this small choice can actually impact a script’s readability. Stick with a new scene heading, which helps move the story along just fine.
  • Split up large blocks of text: One page of screenplay roughly equals one minute of screen time, so optimizing the elements can ensure your page count more accurately reflects how long the filmed project is likely to be. Break up large blocks of text, such as action lines that go more than three or four lines on a page. For monologues, you can break them up with action lines that punctuate the character’s speech.

another great way to modernize your screenwriting skill and make industry-standard format second nature be to join vitamin a professional-quality write course oregon program. The nashville movie institute can train you with all of the necessary technical and creative skill you motivation to embody successful in the filmmaking industry.

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