Stressing out in dialogue

If you have a line that only makes sense one way — and it’s not the first way someone would read it — you have a couple of choices.

Formatting the faux-documentary

How to format the script for faux-documentaries like “The Office.”

Numbers in dialogue

For dialogue, use as few numbers as possible, and write them out unless it’s cumbersome to do so.

When two characters are played by the same actor

If it would be obvious to the viewer, make it obvious to the reader.

(cont’d) vs. CONTINUOUS

You may notice several variations on “continued” in screenplays.

Last looks

I handed in a script today, and thought it might be helpful to talk through my best practices when finishing up a draft.

Variant cover artwork

Since you released “The Variant” independently, how’d you get the nifty cover art?

How to format an on-screen note

First, avoid it if possible. But if you have to, here’s how.

How to include sign language

Italics are a good choice for sign language.

Are glossaries a good idea?

Generally, no. Try to make terms understandable in context.

The Kindle is not good for screenplays

Kindle 2: great for books, but not ready for screenplays.

Can I go beyond DAY and NIGHT?

Sluglines can be more specific, but only when it’s important for the reader.

Comic book grammar

Great lesson in how comic books distinguish action, dialogue, and all the rest.

How do I show simultaneity?

A couple of techniques for letting the audience know that two things are happening at the same time.

How do I include animated sequences?

Clear sluglines help to weave in and out of animation.

On the radio

Formatting radio chatter.

Handling a character’s POV shot

Formatting for a specific character’s point of view.

Five quick questions

One writer, five questions.

How to cut pages

Just as important, what NOT to do when trying to cut length. Don’t cheat.

Writing silent scenes

Always treat your readers like audience members, and think about it from their perspective.

One-sided dialogue

Sometimes, you only see one side of a conversation. That’s okay.


Using dialogue to bridge a cut. (Warning: some readers are haters)

Split screens

Split screens aren’t always spelled out in scripts, but you can get the idea across.

Renumbering when moving a scene

It takes both a letter and an omit.

That’s a pretty expensive pad of paper

You really don’t need fancy paper for hand-writing drafts.