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Talentville Bar & Grill : Ask the Expert
Screenplay variation, not to industry standard.

Dravid Mills
Posted May 25, 2015 1:03 PM

'Must' I totally rewrite a story :-

- New software to learn for one.

- Why spend weeks if it is a waste of time? It is  readable as is.

I would value any insights ; thoughts ; comments.

Arika Cullen
Posted May 26, 2015 11:24 AM

The film industry is very particular about formatting, and for very good reason. The first (and probably biggest) is that in a properly formatted script, one page equates to about one minute of screen time, and it is pretty important for filmmakers to know what to expect in that regard. This also helps the writer stay on track with their story structure and properly proportion the three acts.

Other things that matter:

The first time a character appears visibly, their name must be capitalized and the character must be given an introductory description. This helps the casting people to quickly find what roles need filled and by what type of actors.

Scene headings must be according to industry standards to simplify the planning of locations and shoot schedules.

Dialogue must be headed by the character name and formatted in the "thin" way that makes it stand out from action. This lets actors quickly find their lines.

I could go on ad nauseum, but I'll just stop there. The overall point is, industry standards are what they are for a reason, and to be taken seriously by the industry players, you have to jump through the hoops to show yourself as a professional. If a writer doesn't format a script the right way, film professionals will reasonably conclude that the writer 1) hasn't taken the time to truly learn their craft and/or 2) has no respect for the way the movie machine works.

I hope this helps.

Dianne Barnes
Posted May 26, 2015 12:58 PM

The explanation by Arika Cullen is absolutely excellent and precise.  Hope you follow the advise.  If you want further clarification (which supports her reply) you might read the one page article under At the University by Dave Trottier titled Do I really have to use "correct format". 

Dravid Mills
Posted May 26, 2015 2:37 PM

Dravid                         "Finally a voice of clarity in the fob offs. I hear you girl."

Dravid Mills
Posted May 26, 2015 2:38 PM

Dravid                         "Finally a voice of clarity in the fob offs. I hear you girl."

Still playing with this site, don't mind me.