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Screenwriting Guide

Guidelines for Screenwriting

See also Screenwriting Sample Page.

Length
Submissions should be no longer than 15 pages (not including a cover page with Script Name and Writer’s Name).

Font Type and Size
All scripts must use the font type "Courier" at a size "12".

Margin Settings
Each element of the script must be formatted with certain margin settings. See the chart below.

Element Left Margin Right Margin Width
Action 1.5 1.0 6.0
Dialogue 2.9 2.3 3.3
Character Cue 4.2 1.0 3.3
Parenthetical 3.6 2.9 2.0
Transition 6.0 1.0 1.5

All measurements are in inches, based on a page size of 8.5 inches by 11 inches.

First Page
A screenplay always begins with "FADE IN:" This has nothing to do with a fading transition on the screen, but it is an international custom for how you should start your script.

Last Page
At the end of your script you should type "The End" and center it, or double space, to the far right of the page, and type "FADE OUT". Again this "FADE OUT" has nothing to do with a fading transition on the screen, but it is just customary to end your script in this way.

Scene Headings: Location
INT/EXT: This refers to the location of the scene. If it is inside it is INT (for interior); if it is set outside it is EXT (for exterior). This should be followed by the location.

Scene Headings: Time
DAY/NIGHT: This refers to whether the scene occurs in the day or night. This follows the location. Note: There is no need to use terms like EVENING or MORNING. Just use DAY or NIGHT.

Introducing your characters
The first time a character appears in your script, you write the name in CAPITALS, followed by a 'first impression' - description of the character.

Acting instruction under dialogues
Avoid acting instructions under the dialogues as much as possible. The emotions should be clear from the context most of the time.

No numbering for scenes
Avoid numbering scenes at this moment. Do not forget to number the pages though.

Don't direct inside the script
Avoid using camera movements and directing terms in your script. Directing terms includes "CUT TO", "WIDEN SHOT" and "PAN ACROSS". You only use these very rarely - when the moment will be completely misunderstood without it. In general these are terms only for the shooting script.