Screenplay Formatting - OFFICIAL DISCUSSION


Depends on scene since that affects wardrobe!


Great question. We’re definitely tackling this one in the follow-up video.


so i already have a full script written, but it isn’t in proper format? do you think it would be easier to re-write the whole thing in a scrip-writing software or just go into pages and edit the format there?


It depends how confident you are with pages.
In my opinion it’s a bit easier to re-write in a screenwriting program because it saves a bit of time, but if you are more familiar with using pages and don’t want to learn a whole new software then go with that.


Definitely, definitely, definitely recommend using screenwriting software. You can download a free version and they are very intuitive to learn. It will save you lots of headaches and time when you go back and edit, re-write, or need to share the document with others.


I’m using the free version of Celtx for mac and I’ve been using it for about 4 years know and I was wondering what advantages would you get from a paid software like FinalDraft or CeltxPro? Like what about them makes it worth paying when I can get a free software that still does formatting?


Hey, Sean! We wrote all of season 1 and most of season 2 on free Celtx, so it’s definitely a viable option as far as writing is concerned. Where you run into trouble with the free stuff, I have noticed, is when it comes time to go into production. Final Draft is the industry standard not just for screenwriters, but for producers, casting agents, assistant directors, etc. Pages are constantly getting sent back and forth in prepro and in production, and it’s crucial for everybody to be running the same piece of software. Which usually means Final Draft. Fortunately, most of the free programs export into final draft, but it can still be a hassle to deal with that extra step and sometimes the exports get wonky. But as far as writing your own shorts or smaller productions, or even just getting the hang of screenwriting in general, Celtx and other free programs are a great way to go!


Here is Mine. Keep in mind that I am 13 years old :grin: Part 1


Part 2


Hey Guys, just saw the last video and had a doubt about another situation.

I write some shorts that doesn’t really require naming the characters, focusing solely on the visual and action, without any dialogue. I usually just use a random name to make it less confusing for the reader. But I wanted to know what you guys normally do on those cases too.

Would you guys only put the name of the actor, the character’s most defining trait (SOLDIER, NINJA, BIKINI GIRL, etc), just coming up with a name (even though it won’t be said at all) or all of the above depending on the script?

Thanks for the great contet as usual


I’d say whatever is the most functional in your specific situation - if you’re working with friends, names can work (I named our own Clinton Jones “Clint” in the Sound Gun script), but a simple descriptor as a name (“Soldier,” etc.) might be less confusing in other cases.


Hi guys,
Just wandering scenes inside vehicles are EXT. or INT. ?
I’ve written them as INT. (as in inside the bus) but the bus is outside and the light will mostly be natural from the windows as a result.
Anyway any help would be appreciated,


If the exterior geography is at all important (or we ever go outside the vehicle during the scene), it’s typically an exterior, with the location being wherever the vehicle is passing through. Jurassic Park is a great example since it has multiple complex scenes that jump between exteriors and multiple cars (the T-rex paddock for example). Jumps inside cars are noted with slugs like,


However, if the whole scene happens exclusively in the vehicle, even in a constantly-moving action film like Speed, it can be described as an interior scene.

One useful way of looking at it may be considering shooting - if you could shoot the entire scene green screen (indoors on a stage) or with a generic background outside windows, you can probably describe the scene as an interior. If the vehicle is moving through a location that affects the scene in any way, even if we’re inside the car most of the time, it’s probably best described as an exterior scene, giving the geography that the car is traveling through as the scene’s location.


Quick question: when there’s a major SFX or a sound cue that’s necessary for the story, do you have to indicate that? I think I’ve seen major sounds highlighted in scripts before–or at least sounds that normally wouldn’t be there.


You’ve kind of answered your own question! :stuck_out_tongue: If it’s necessary to the story, then it needs to be in the script - always assume you’re writing for someone who doesn’t know the story already. Deciding what’s “necessary” or not can get sticky, but if it’s an important cue, especially one that motivates a reaction from characters (like a loud THUD or CRASH) you’ll definitely want to include it.


Piggybacking off what Kevin said, I would only use the name of the actor if it’s a script you are shooting with that actor and your friends. If it’s going to be read by a more formal, larger group of people, I would give the character a name or use a key description as their character name (e.g. Ryan Gosling’s character is called “Driver” in the script for DRIVE). Minor characters can usually get away with a moniker like “Waitress”, “Man in Suit”, “Giant Biker” etc.

For moving vehicles, I believe the standard is actually INT./EXT. This indicates you are moving both inside and outside the vehicle during the scene.


Hi…I noticed you didn’t mention MovieMagic Screenwriter on your list of professional software. Any particular reason why?


So I updated my little test script with the recommendations from the second screenwriting video. Hopefully I didn’t go overboard with the bullet points. For real though this script is mostly bullet points.

I’m curious, what kind of balance between dialogue and action should a script have? This was only two pages but the dialogue took up much more space than I expected. I’m also curious if there are specific guidelines for shorts vs. features vs. super-short shorts (like 5sf short)?


Hey guys,

Question about writing a Mockumentary. What is the best way to write a “Talking Head” interview scene? Is that something to denote in the slugline? Or do you include it in the action below?

Also, on a different note. If a scene takes place in the early hours of the morning when it’s still dark outside, would you write it as DAY or NIGHT? Thanks for the help!


How would you slug line of your plan on doing a voice over over a montage?