If one looks around there are many screenplay samples online. Almost all of them seem to me to break at least one or two of the "rules" that it is suggested be followed when writing a script to be picked up for optioning or outright purchase.

They give direction where it's not welcome They write dialog that's unreadable. They number scenes

Is there a resource of scripts or even a script of which it can be said: "this is 'to code', This is acceptable. This does not violate our rules."?

If so please post links with your answer.

Most people learn by example.

  • Updated to correct grammatical errors, it was a late night. Apr 25 '14 at 20:20
  • I suppose the secondary question is, if they are so hard to find, how important is it to abide by these rules? Or is it just an artificial barrier to entry imposed by an "old boys club"? Apr 25 '14 at 20:23

Most of what you'll find on-line are not spec scripts, but production scripts which have been scene numbered or otherwise slightly altered by directors and ADs to facilitate shooting. Additionally, if you're reading a script of a writer/director, then you need to understand it might as well have been written in crayon as it was never going to be a spec sale. These can legitimately use all sorts of cheats a spec script might easily be rejected for.

My advise would be to check out the book, "The Hollywood Standard" (second edition) by Christopher Riley. It details all the minutia of format in dealing with pretty much every circumstance you can possibly think of.

After you've read it, you'll get a much better understanding of what is considered basic formatting. More importantly, you'll also gain a bit of understanding as to why certain elements are the way they are, something you'd never get just looking at a sample page. For instance, why you'd use a parenthetical comment under a character's name, but never in scene description. Why you'd UPPER CASE some items in scene description, but not others. Follow that and nobody will ever complain.

Give it a look. I know it's available on Amazon. You don't have to pay full price either.


To answer my own question (partially) I found this page.

it does not have an entire script, but a single page, and some good information.


This is the screenplay to the movie The Sixth Sense. I do not know if it strictly follows all the guidelines but I have seen this being used as a reference at quite a few places (a screenplay writing competition had provided a sample of this to be used as an example...can't find the link to it anymore!). So it might be what you are looking for.

The screenplay can be found here


This has a bunch of screenplays/scripts of movies. It might be of good use.

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