Basic screenwriting formatting rules

What are basic screenwriting formatting rules…

The importance of correct screenplay formatting lies in the need to make a script easy to read.

Good script formatting allows a reader to immerse themselves in the story, rather than getting distracted by screenwriting formatting.

Here are the absolute basics of screenplay formatting:

Font

12-point Courier.


Margins

7mm left margin, 25mm right margin. No justification. Don’t shrink margins for more space.


Slugline

Capital letters, left-aligned, keep it simple:

INT/EXT. PLACE – DAY/NIGHT


Action descriptions

Present, active tense (“sits”, not “is sitting” or “is sat”), to-the-point, no more than 4 lines a paragraph.


Character names

Capitalised the first time they are introduced, normal case thereafter. Central and capitalised before dialogue.


Dialogue

Normal case, 88mm from left margin, not beyond 35 characters across.


Want to learn more about formatting> Check out our ‘learn formatting’ section!


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