Writing for the Screen: Screenwriting Part 2

I have a few scripts floating around Hollywood. Although I haven’t sold anything yet, I have gotten favorable feedback. Maybe I can pass on some of the lessons I have learned to make things easier for you. Here are a few basic rules to get you started. Homophones and Spelling Misspelling and misuse of words will cost a tremendous amount of credibility. Homophones are words that sound alike, but have different spelling and meanings; for example, “Are you going through a Phase in your life?” or “The sudden outburst didn’t even Faze the guest speaker.” These two different words have the same sound, completely different meanings and spelling. To confuse the two would be a simple mistake, but could be very damaging to your credibility as a writer. So make sure you are using the correct word with the correct meaning and the correct spelling.

Grammar and Punctuation

Improper grammar and punctuation will also cost you a great deal of credibility. Take the serial comma for example, I was taught the comma before the “and” in a list wasn’t necessary because “and” implies there is one more item in the list. However, most style guides will have you add the extra comma. So throw the extra comma in just to please the masses.

Font

Only use Courier or Courier New 12, no exceptions. Scripts should look type written. This solves the problem of writers trying to make a 100 page script look like 115 pages by using different fonts. Courier 12 point is also very easy to read for the script readers. Do not use Bold face or Italics in your script. It will be deemed as unprofessional and tossed to the side, no matter how good the story is. __Underlining_ for emphasis is acceptable as long as it is not overused.

Title Page

You need a title page. The title will be centered on the page with the author’s name underneath. On the lower left side of the page, you will need to add your name, address, phone number, and agent name and contact, if you have one. On the right hand side you can add your copyright number, however, it isn’t necessary.

More Don’ts

  • Don’t put a date on your script
  • Don’t add an information page introducing characters, etc… unless you are writing a stage play
  • Don’t show the page count of your script on the title page
  • Don’t number the first page. Start numbering on page two (the title page is not counted as a page).

You can view my other articles at sharkness

Writing | Non-Fiction | How To


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