Archives

Formatting

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.

Pre-Lap

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.

The Hollywood Standard

All you need to know about formatting a screenplay, right here (for sale anyway). Second opinions included.

Chicago: The Musical. No, not that one.

I spent a few days in Chicago to see the workshop of my friends’ new musical, Asphalt Beach. And then I wrote a play.

When characters have multiple names

Treat your reader like an audience member. Give them the same information on the page that they would get on the screen.

Mixing in bits of other languages

Your characters won’t always be speaking English. Here’s how to handle that.

How to format lyrics in scripts

Generally, italics and a parenthetical.

Should I fudge the date on the cover?

Yes. Sometimes.

Welcome to the O.C., bitch

O.C. means “off camera.” But O.S. does the job just as well.