Writing How-To: Format a Script/Screenplay

If you love writing, then write. Things like formatting don’t matter until you’ve put pen to paper.

This post is about the technical formatting of your screenplay/script. I will write another post soon about what to put in your script, and how to use proper terminology.

For those that are ready, here is my step-by-step tutorial Writing How-To: Format a Script/Screenplay. I usually use a program called Movie Magic Screenwriter by Write Brothers, but I will be showing you using Word, because it’s free and still easy. I will be using a Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Band Candy script as examples throughout (don’t worry, I won’t put any major spoilers in it).

You can do it in any order, but I will be going from front to back.

Step One

TITLE PAGE

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Title and Names:
Courier New 12pt, centred, two inches (6 ‘enters’ from top margin, title in bold (sometimes underlined), names clear formatting.

Contact Info:
Courier New 12pt, flush right. Name, address, email address (professional), phone number

Step Two

CAST LIST

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Title:
Courier New 12pt, centred, two inches (6 ‘enters’ from top margin, title in bold (sometimes underlined)

Names:
Justified, clear formatting
*Regular cast (for television series) goes first, then guest stars.*

STEP THREE

SET LIST

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Title:
Courier New 12pt, centred, two inches (6 ‘enters’ from top margin, title in bold (sometimes underlined)

Text:
‘Set List’ underlined, centred
‘Interiors’ and ‘Exteriors’ underlined, justified
Rest in justified, clear formatting
*Interiors first, then Exteriors*

STEP FOUR

ACT ONE or TEASER – Page 1

Television shows have a short section at the start to introduce the main story of the episode. Films just begin with Act One.

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Title:
Courier New 12pt, centred, underlined
*Title no longer on screenplay/script pages after this*

Text:
‘Teaser’ centred, capitals
‘Interior’ or ‘Exterior’ capitals, justified
Scene, character, and action description flush left, clear formatting
Character name in capitals in description first time mentioned
Character name (dialogue header) capitals, left indent (6 ‘tab’ from left margin)
Dialogue centred, left indent (3 ‘tab’ from left margin), 10cm long

STEP FIVE

END OF ACT ONE or TEASER

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Text:
‘Fade to Black’ or ‘Black Out’ flush left, capitals
‘End Of…’ centred, capitals


So, there you go. This is how you format a screenplay/script using Word and no template. Templates are easier to use – programs are better, though – so decide wisely.

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Crayola Easy Animation Studio – Product Review

When you think of animation, you think of hours of hard work to create simple second-long videos.

Not anymore.

While wandering through Target the other week, I found the Crayola Easy Animation Studio.

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It immediately caught my interest, and with it only costing $29, I figured I would give it a try.

Inside you will find – Manny the Mannequin (with a stand to clip him into), Crayola Twist crayons, a stand for your phone/tablet, and a book full of characters and backgrounds for you to colour-in. You will need to download a program on your smart-phone/tablet, but it’s free.

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Inside the book –

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*Helpful Hint*
I wanted to make something really cool, so I decided to make Captain Hammer from Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog (2008). Unfortunately, I used other brand crayons as well, and I think that put-off the system, so always use Crayola crayons.

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I’ll take you through step-by-step making an easy short animation.

STEP 1 – Character

Either colour your own character, or use one provided on the program.

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STEP 2 – Background

You can choose a background from the book, use one on the program, or you can even take a photo of your house and your character can be there with you.

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STEP 3 – Actions

There are a bunch of actions you can choose on the program, or you can use Manny to do it yourself. The program works by capturing images of Manny in positions, and filling in the blanks.

It works best if you keep the smart-phone/tablet still, and have Manny facing a window with light.

*Helpful hint*
You’ll have to be patient while capturing the positions, as it needs time to figure out where Manny’s limbs are (through the symbols on his limbs). Here is what happens when it is having trouble:

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To make your character wave, capture Manny in these three positions:

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STEP 4 – Voice

You don’t have to do this, but you can record some audio. I record “Hello” in my best bear-voice.

STEP 5 – Save

It only takes a second to turn it into a video.

And voilà, here is my video:

How-To: Wrap a Present

I used to absolutely suck at wrapping presents. I used too much sticky tape, I ripped the paper, and there was WAY more paper than present.

Last year I volunteered with The Family Centre, wrapping presents for donations at a local shopping centre. I suddenly had to get very good.

After watching and giving it a try, I’ve found a pretty good way to wrap presents, and I thought I would share it with you all.

STEP ONE

Gather your materials. You will need:

  • The present
  • Wrapping paper
  • Sticky tape
  • Scissors (ADULT SUPERVISION)

 

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STEP TWO

Lay out the wrapping paper with the present on it. I started wrapping this on the carpet, but then moved to a table. Don’t cut too big of a sheet. You can always cut some off before finishing. I lay the top of the present down, because the folds end at the top and this way the top will be seamless.

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STEP THREE

Bring the longest sides together and place one bit of sticky tape.

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STEP FOUR

I moved to a table to make sure my folds were crisp. Push down the top layer of the paper, and fold the sides into crisp angles.

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STEP FIVE

One corner at a time, fold them over to form a point. Do this on both sides.

 

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STEP SIX

Fold the sides up and use one piece of sticky tape.

 

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There you go! All wrapped. This technique works for more than just square gifts too.

Happy wrapping!