11

If they have lines or specific actions, it's important to give them all names. Why? Because each one will be played by a different actor. Each actor needs to know where s/he is at any given time, what s/he is saying and doing, and so forth. The director needs to know those things as well. The casting service needs to know the number of unique henchmen....


10

A screenplay is meant to be performed. A novel is meant to be read. (You can have an audio recording of a novel, but that's still someone reading it aloud, not a radio drama.) A screenplay has stage directions. A novel has chunks of prose descriptions. The difference is whether you intend for your story to be performed by one or more actors in front of ...


10

Forget necessary - don't pass up the opportunity for a moment of drama and poignance as you reveal the cracks in your stoic character's facade. Because you have the scriptwriting tag, I'm less concerned about introducing an otherwise foreign POV, so put in just a touch of monologue wherever it might fit: [MC]'s eyes filled with tears. "You deserved ...


8

I agree with @Ash's answer regarding the fact that you can show a lot with body language. I would disagree with him however regarding what "winning" and "losing" would look like. Being excessively assertive, "attacking", losing composure in an argument - those are signs of losing. Without even understanding what the argument is about, losing control of ...


7

It’s not necessary in the body of a scene to inform us as to the setting, the time of day, or whether it’s an interior or exterior, as this is already known from the scene heading. If a legend, such as a locale or a date, is to be superimposed upon a scene, then standard format dictates it be placed within quotes and preceded by the word “SUPERIMPOSE:” (in ...


7

Novel is the final product. Screenplay is only a recipe for the final product (I am really only rephrasing Lauren Ipsum's answer here). Novel's author has to deliver everything, with all the descriptions, and the text should be ready for audience's appreciation. Screenplay's author leaves a lot of room for the director and actors to fill in. And a good ...


6

A character that is off screen speaks from off screen. Voice over refers to a n̲a̲r̲r̲a̲t̲o̲r̲ who narrates the story (e.g. in a documentary, where the narrator never appears in the film).


6

No, do not use a new scene heading each time. Use INTERCUT, described at the link. Basically, a scene heading for each separate scene, then "intercut between X and Y [and Z and ...]. Then exposition or dialogue without new scene headings. The following excerpt is cut and pasted from the link as an example; pardon any screenplay formatting errors. INT. ...


6

Screenplays are rather short story, when you think about it. A typical screenplay is 120 pages double-spaced, and 25% dialogue and 50% action. That is 30 pages of dialogue, but the margins (2.9, 2.3) leave 3.3" space for the speech. So this is a total of about 15 minutes of speech in a two hour movie. That isn't very much! The visuals of the film cover the ...


6

Make each of the three, full well-rounded characters who have multiple interactions with not just each other but other people. And with distinct and believable personalities. Show how the two treat the woman and how it changes over time. Your goal is for the reader to gradually figure out what is going on. There can be a tipping point, but the ...


5

Typically, the advice for sample scripts is to write a sample for a close competitor of your target. It may sound counter-intuitive, but it shows that you can write in the immediate ballpark of what they are looking for, but without raising issues with a) your conception of the characters not aligning with theirs and b) the possibility that you might ...


5

The short answer is, yes, although there's no rule about it, studio readers do seem to start on page one. Readers looking for scripts for their employers to film look for a lot of things: That there's a basic concept at work in the script, that the three-act structure is being followed... there's a list to be ticked off, and every studio will require their ...


5

Do it in the description. Compare these two options: SAILORS IN BOAT Hahahahahahahaha. This option tells the actors exactly what they have to say, and it looks clunky. All the sailors in the boat start laughing in unison. This option, on the other hand, gives a good short description of what the actors should do. You can also modify it a bit by having ...


5

Screenplays are collaborative, whether you like it or not. Actors will say the lines. Directors will alter the tone. The photographer will create their own vision. And the producers will hire other screenwriters to "fix" your screenplay because they have spent a great deal of money and will hire more experts than they need. The star will have some demands. ...


5

Just say it. I suggest reading this: What Visual Storytelling Looks Like In a Screenplay. And this companion article: 4 Examples of Good Visual Writing In a Movie Script. I'd recommend giving the actor something to do besides "looking scared". John, terrified, slowly raises one trembling hand to the side of his face. But that is up to you. Keep it ...


5

There are a number of reasons why plain text is still fairly common in a number of industries. Portability Standard ASCII text files can be opened and written to by a staggering number of computer systems, to the point where you're going to be hard pressed to find a working computer that can't work with them at this point. This remains surprisingly ...


5

If I've understood this it is a screenplay featuring, at this point, three characters; the characters proposing opposing options and the third character they are trying to win over? That being the case, the indications of who is 'winning' will come from the third party not the two proposers. The scenes are likely to be more interesting if the third party ...


4

First, let us clarify: Is it a publishable sceneplay to be read by readers, the creative choice of that format for storytelling, the final product to be "consumed" by your audience or a tool for director to create actual play or a movie, a step, ingredient to obtain the final product which will be the actual play? There is a significant ...


4

Why not simply describe the FX you want. Footsteps on gravel, rusty metal gate opening, reverberating gunshot, scream of pain is far more useful in a screenplay than Crunch, Creak, Kapowee, Aaaagh. Unless of course you are writing a comic book.


4

For this script at least, the numbers correspond to the scenes. Each number in the left margin appears at the beginning of a new location. At a guess, this could simply be to make writing easier for the screenwriter, or perhaps to correspond to clapperboard information. These possible uses are only guesses, however. As seen in @Reed's comments, this is ...


4

According to http://www.storysense.com/format/flashbacks.htm, you should bookend it with "BEGIN FLASHBACK" and "END FLASHBACK" as action lines, and then treat it as any other new scene, even if it is the same location. Changing tense is not necessary. BEGIN FLASHBACK INT - ROGER'S HOUSE (1980) - NIGHT [flashback scene] END FLASHBACK INT ...


4

It is just EXT. BRETT'S HOUSE - DAY You are over thinking it. It doesn't make a difference if he owns it, rents it, whatever. He lives there. Nobody gets confused. Who cares if he owns it or not? If ownership of the house is immaterial to the plot, then do not specify. Never write ANYTHING that does not make a difference in the story on the screen. Further,...


4

Keep in mind, a script is a technical document intended to aid actors and the director in creating a play or a movie. It is not (directly) for the characters or the audience. The characters might know her as "Wolfe," and the audience might need to get in the mindset of the characters, but what the actors and director most need to know is who is speaking at ...


4

I think you're correct in that there isn't necessarily a right or wrong way to do it, what matters is that someone reading it is able to follow it easily. The way I would perhaps treat them is to treat the visions as separate scenes with a parentheses indicating their status as visions as can be done for dream sequences. I'm not too fond of the 'back to ...


4

From the fact that you say "script", I assume you mean a play or a movie and not a novel. I'd avoid anything subtle. Some audience members will miss it and be confused. If there's any sort of narrator, the narrator could say, "At the same time, Fred and George were in the cabin ..." and open the next scene. But most plays and movies don't have a narrator, ...


4

I believe you have to explain it, somehow. There is nothing worse than an unexplained major action that determines the outcome of the story, especially when the outcome is sad. It seems arbitrary and fickle. And no, you can't rely on the audience to be thinking and rationally analyzing clues. You have to slap them in the face with dialogue, or (better) give ...


3

Some help is at my other answer: How firm is the 120 page limit on a screenplay. If you haven't sold a screenplay before, the more you exceed 120 pages the less likely you are to sell. That's just the facts, long screenplays are more expensive and harder to market, at 160 pages you are talking about 2H 40M of screentime. A few famous writers can get away ...


3

Pick one character name and stick with it. If you feel the slash name is necessary, use it consistently from the start.


3

E. A scared Bob walks over to the door, hand on the knob. or BOB (scared) Who are you? While I haven't written scripts, I have acted some on stage. Giving the actor the basic reaction you want her/him to have is important. In your example, the actor can not figure it out from context. Bob might be amused, mad at the ghost, mad at the person ...


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