How To Format A Screenplay A Detailed guide.

The screenplay is one of those undividable aspects which is of utmost importance to make our film a great success and to give the most to the audience.
As we have realized the importance of writing a screenplay, let’s first get a clear idea about a screenplay so we can format it in the best possible way. So let’s dive a little deeper into it.
The screenplay used for a movie script has to handle much more carefully with perfect tools, planning, and management to make the movie most interesting and amazing for the audience.
Let’s dig deep in format a screenplay.

StudioVity's Value in Fostering Creativity

Professional film productions cannot use screenplays created using a conventional word processor or a free web template. To stand out as unique and more professional, one must strive for perfection in all allotted tasks. 

StudioVity allows users to export their work in a variety of formats, including PDF, Fountain, and TXT, and may be used to write scripts for movies, dramas, comedies, teledramas, books, and comics.

As the adage goes, “the first impression is the lasting impression. ” This adage holds true in the case of formatting; a document that is well-organized and structured automatically leaves a professional and persuasive impression on its readers.

Why screenplay formatting is necessary in industry?

The most significant reason is that the writers must adhere to the conventional formatting guidelines, so that the reader of the screenplay may concentrate on the tale without being distracted by extraneous script, extended dialogue, and details. It functions as a predetermined representation of how your story or screenplay will actually function.

Even though everything will be well-organized and prepared, the formatting may be time-consuming, therefore let’s delegate this task to StudioVity. This tool assures that your script is of the highest quality and professionally designed. A well-formatted script will receive the highest priority.

Screenplay - What exactly is it ?

Whenever we get started with any writing or formatting, there is a pre-defined structure or format that has to follow; to get the best output at the end. But before that, let’s have a look at the definition of Screenplay – 

A screenplay is a written work for a film, television show, or other moving media that expresses the movement, actions, and dialogue of characters.

Standard Format followed in Industry:

12-point courier font : 

12-point font is easily readable and also follow “one page per minute of screen time rule“. So using 12- point courier font will be highly impactful and will even give a vibe of professionalism along with great user readability.

Following all the below mentioned margin rules are even more important because margin helps to add up neat and clean spaces in an even format throughout the document.

This rule is being followed everywhere, and it’s true in it’s own sense.

  •  Left margin 1.5 inches 
  •  Straight 1 inch (0.5 inches to 1.25 inches), irregular margin  
  •  1 inch top and bottom margins 
  •  Approximately 55 lines per page regardless of paper size. This does not include the page number and the space after it 
  •  The agent in parentheses (wrinkled) is 3.1 inches from the left margin of the page (1.6 from the margin) 
  •  The speaker’s name in the dialog (all caps) is 3.7 inches from the left side of the page (2.2 from the margin) 
  •  Capitalized transitions (props, sounds, and sometimes important camera movements) 
  •  Dialog 2.5 inches from the left margin of the page (1.5 inches from the margin).   
StudioVity pre-production management tool

10. The number of pages : 

  • In the upper right corner ·
  • Along the right margin·
  • Half an inch from the top·
  • The numbers must have the following period · The first page is not numbered·
  • The title page is not numbered and does not count as the first page·
  • The first page is numbered as the second page of the screenplay (the third sheet includes the title page), numbered 2.

Essential Elements in formating a screenplay :

Many screenplay scripts prefer to have a transition at the beginning. Mostly it has its place on the right-top or left-top of the page. So that before the beginning of the actual scene, what’s the entry transition is highlighted.

  1. Title Page

  2. Fade In

  3. Scene Heading

  4. Sub header

  5. Shot

  6. Action 

  7. Character

  8. Extension

  9. Dialogue

  10. Parenthetical

  11. Transition

All the above-mentioned elements give you a solid idea about your screenplay, it let you revise and re-evaluate your screenplay.

Title Page

A title page is the opening page of a screenplay and normally contains the script’s title, the author’s name, and contact information. It may also contain the name of the agency or production firm that represents the screenplay, as well as any pertinent copyright information. Typically, the title page is styled differently from the remainder of the script and is not numbered.

Fade in

Scene headings, or even subheadings of imagery they want to front load, are typically the first things written in a script. A transition, such as FADE IN: or BLACK SCREEN, is often used at the beginning of scripts by different writers.

Scene Heading

At the beginning of each scene, there should be a line of text called a “scene heading” that describes the location and the time of day.

INT. for interior spaces

EXT. for exterior spaces

Sub-Heading/ Slugline

When highlighting a key shot, cutaway, or montage within a scene, the Slugline (or Sub-header) is employed.

Subheading in screenplay formating


The finest screenwriters can imply shots without really writing them, but if you insist on detailing a specific camera angle in your script, you can treat it like a subheading.

shot in screenplay formating


When writing a script, action lines are where you describe what the audience sees and hears.

Action line in StudioVity beatBoard

Character and Character Introduction

Character – The term “character” is used to describe the inner nature of the people in your script. Is this individual good or evil? A brawler or a coward? A person’s characterization reflects who they are in measurable terms, but their character is who they truly are.

Character Introduction – You should capitalise the character’s name, mention the character’s age, and then describe the character’s qualities and personality when introducing them in a screenplay.


Occurring when a character has voice-over dialogue or speaks from off-screen (O.S.) (V.O.). You’ll see an extension when a character finishes a monologue, does something, and then continues talking.

V.o extension in screenplay formating


Your dialogue will be displayed beneath the character to whom it is assigned. Formatting-wise, dialogue is rather simple, yet it is the most challenging aspect of screenwriting.

Dialogue in screenplay format


Whenever a character’s line of speech or action is followed by a parenthetical, the writer provides more information about how it should be performed.

Parenthetical​ in screenplay formating


Whenever a character’s line of speech or action is followed by a parenthetical, the writer provides more information about how it should be performed.

Transition in screenplay formating

How Long Should the Screenplay Be?

This is a quite tricky question to answer.

In terms of industry standards, it should be between 90 and 120 pages long.

However, screenwriters have a tendency to disregard these norms and follow according to the genre.

  • Spider-Man NWH final draft was 181 pages
  • The Godfather 1971 final draft was 163 pages

So, it’s totally fine that your final draft may be above 120 pages, go with your instinct and writing style.

How long does it take to formate a Screenplay?

Well, as we have been through a long process of understanding what precisely a screenplay is, why it has to be in the perfect format, and what is that standard format; but, we have missed out on one crucial point, and that’s time, we haven’t discussed how much time does it takes for an entire screenplay to be in a proper format.

The time duration varies as per the expertise of the writer. If the work is under an experienced and professional writer, the time duration given is between 1-3 months.

It even depends on how long the script is, and the shortest duration would be a month if you have ample amount of experience in your pocket. If one has a crystal clear image, then definitely plotting and adding details seems to be an easy task, and thus one can reduce the time.

Writing in professional screenplay tool.

To have an amazing screenplay with everything just being normal yet perfect needs an professional tool like StudioVity.
Having a well-constructed script with its screenplay is essential, but so is having perfect software is much more important. It makes it easier for the director, and crew members to read and short. Finding good Screenplay writing software can be a hassle. However, you can now enjoy an easy scriptwriting experience devoid of syntax or financial hassle only on StudioVity, a web, mobile-based, cross-platform screenwriting application.

Teleplay Vs screenplay Vs scriptwriting

Its features include Scriptwriting with 300+ language support, you can add your cast and crew, Beat Board for structure your screenplay, Index card. Use direct communication within app, send call sheets, generate standard report in (PDF/TXT/FOUNTAIN format) or import script/screenplay as mentioned above, and shareable links to your production team.

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