Script Formatting Guidelines

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Expectations and Reasoning

All ARTC scripts are expected to conform to uniform guidelines before production. The purpose of this is to maximize readability while minimizing the use of physical resources in the event that the script is printed as a hard copy (as opposed to being read on a tablet or other similar device) while also giving actors, directors, and script supervisors ample space to make any necessary performance notes.

Writers are not required to submit drafts or even finished scripts in this format. They may continue to write in whatever format they are most comfortable with. But all scripts will be converted to this format before production begins, and so writers who submit in this format will be saving some time down the road.

Naming Conventions

Due to the way Media Wiki handles files, scripts uploaded here should have filenames that consist exclusively of the script title. In order to ensure that all links remain valid, renaming the file in the event of a new version is not practical and therefore version numbers (long used in script filenames in the past) are no longer appropriate.

If you find it necessary to upload a new version of a script with a different filename for whatever reason, you are responsible for locating and fixing any links to that script.

In the event of venue-specific versions and/or drafts, a suffix appended to the title is appropriate. For example: Rory Rammer-The Asteroid of Love could become Rory Rammer-The Asteroid of Love-Libertycon if substantive changes for the benefit of that venue made it desirable to have a new version. Similarly This is a Test would be This is a Test-DRAFT until the script was approved as final and ready for production.

Instructions and Guidelines

The instructions below assume you are using Microsoft Word. If you are using another word processor, you will need to locate the appropriate locations for these settings.

TITLE PAGE

  • Script title in 60pt Ariel Black, aligned left. Titles should look as natural and elegant as possible - if a point size less than 60 is necessary to keep the title looking "natural" then that is permissible. It is also ok to make certain words like "The" or "A" smaller, as long as the essential identifying information is large enough to be read in a thumbnail icon.
  • Author and version information also in Arial Black in a point size that will be smaller but might be inconsistent. Same for any subtitles.
  • Character list in Courier Screenplay 12pt. Character list can go on the title page if it will fit, but otherwise will be moved to page two. If characters are on page 2, we might consider making a note of it on the title page [Characters on page 2] or similar. Not essential.

MAIN BODY

  • Courier Screenplay 12pt.
  • Character names on the left with dialogue tabbed out to the hanging indent.
  • Music and SFX bold and italics.
  • Line numbers continuous starting on the first page of script (not including the title page or character page).
  • If the author has used unusual formatting tricks (see: The Colour Out of Space and Ron's use of columns) then some of these rules might get bent.

MARGINS

  • Left and Right margins at 1.5"
  • Top and bottom margins at 0.5".

PARAGRAPH

  • Alignment: Left
  • Outline level: Body Text
  • Indentation: Left 0", Right 0"
  • Hanging indent: 1.31"
  • Spacing: Before 0pt, After 0pt, Single spaced. (It is acceptable to have the After value at 12pt rather than inserting a carriage return after every line. This can save time during the reformatting of old scripts. For new scripts it can be done either way).
  • Hyphenation off; Widow/Orphan control on; Keep with text on; Keep lines together on.

HEADERS

  • Courier Screenplay 10pt
  • Line one: Title, Revision date/number, page number in the format ## of ##. Page numbers start with 1 on the title page.
  • Line two: [carriage return] (keeps the body text from bumping up against the header).
  • Header from top distance: 0.5"
  • Footers should not be used. Footer distance from bottom: 0.5" if it makes a difference in the bottom margin.

OTHER

Courier Screenplay font for download

These guidelines as a downloadable PDF

Example script in MS Word .docx format

Example script in .rtf format