If you are new to screenwriting, planning to write a screenplay or script of any kind, the good news is that writing in screenplay format is easier and more intuitive today than at any time since first Lanier Word Processing Machine. Advances in screenwriting software now save the hours you would previously have spent learning how to write a screenplay in professional Hollywood format can now be allocated to polishing your plot, honing your dialogue, or learning screenplay structure. Some think screenplay writing is eclipsing the pursuit of the Great American Novel but it certainly isn't any easier. At any rate the making of movies is a collaborative process which demands that those in screenwriting produce a document in particular format, notation, and length called a 'script.'
This overview will begin acquaint you with the screenplay format writing rules and screenwriting etiquette you'll need to know about, and as you browse the following material you may notice the words 'don't', 'avoid' and '...' unless you are directing the movie.' Take that advice to heart. As you become more familiar with the world of screenwriting you'll understand why but for now the scope of this document prohibits a deeper explanation.
Learning how to write a screenplay involves many facets but I hope this basic information will give you a head start on your endeavors, including practical information to help you get your scripts read. And hopefully turned into movies.
Table of Contents
What Exactly Is a Script? What Makes Good Story?
Script Styles, Submission Scripts, and Shooting Scripts
Spec Screenplay Page Properties and Script Length
Script Elements and Scene Heading
Page Breaking, Finer Points, Dual Dialogue, and Adlibs
Abbreviations and Montages
A Series of Shots and Short Lines/Poetry/Lyrics
Titles or Opening Credits, and Superimpose or Title
Production Drafts, Top Continued and Bottom Continued
Locking Your Script Pages and Locking Your Scenes
Header, Do's and Don'ts
Other Script Formats
Title Page of TV Movies
Books I'm Reading
The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation Into the Writing Life by Julia Cameron
Good in a Room: How to Sell Yourself (and Your Ideas) and Win Over Any Audience by Stephanie Palmer
Bulletproof Book Proposals by Pam Brodowsky, Eric Neuhaus
Software I'm Using
Final Draft 7.1.3 Version Upgrade + Extra Final Draft by Final Draft, Inc.
StyleWriter - The Plain English Editor by The Plain English Company
Final Draft AV 2.5.2 Academic & Military (Download) by Final Draft, Inc