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09/14/2005 - IS YOUR SCREENPLAY FORMAT SERVING YOUR STORY?
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Despite all the books on screenwriting and screenwriting programs available new screenwriters are still getting the format wrong.

Doing this will hurt your chances once you've finished your script and send it out. Agents, managers and producers view improperly formatted screenplays as the work of amateurs. Even worse, they view it as the work of someone who didn't care enough to write a screenplay in the proper way.

I read many, many screenplays by new screenwriters. You'd be surprised at how many people make basic mistakes. For example, instead of

INT. LIVING ROOM - DAY

Some do it like this:

INTERIOR LIVING ROOM DAY

or

INT. Living Room - Late Morning

or

Ext Living Room

There's really only one way to do it. It's beyond my comprehension how anyone can't get it right.

Same with stage directions or action. Don't have sprawling descriptions. If you are compelled to do that, write novels.
Basic rule: if you've written 4 lines of stage directions and you need more, break it up. Skip a space and do the next lines.

And always have at least one line of description. Remember, once you send the script out someone important will be reading your script. They have lots of other scripts to read. If yours is wrong, they'll stop reading.

Page numbers shouldbe on the upper right hand corner.

Don't put the title and your name and copyright stuff on every page.

Don't have the first words someone reads on Page 1 CREDITS ROLL. You look like an amateur.

Look like a pro.

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