Screenplay Formatting

Taught By:

Mike Symonds


RocketJump Creative Director and writer Mike Symonds demonstrates the 8 basic things you need to know about formatting your screenplay correctly. Things get weird.

Lesson Plan

Okay, look. There seems to be a lot of hand wringing over how to do format screenplays correctly.

What's right? What should I indent? What's capitalized, what's not capitalized? How detailed do I need to be?

There are some general rules and people have little preferences and things like that. But the key here is to understand the most important thing- and that is you want your screenplay to be as economical and direct as possible.

In order to do that, you should absolutely and positively use screenwriting software. No question.

The last thing you want to do while writing is waste time on indenting and formatting when really you should be concentrating on your story. And screenwriting software will absolutely do all the annoying stuff for you. We’ve included a list of both free AND professional programs to check out below!

The eight items, or "lines" we'll go over in this lesson are:

  • Header
  • Action Line
  • Character ID
  • Dialogue
  • Character Parenthetical
  • Dialogue Parenthetical
  • Transition
  • Over Black (& Titles)

That's it! There's really only eight.

Watch the video or download the STUDY GUIDE here, to see the examples all written out!

Writer Duet

Final Draft
Adobe Story
Fade In

Write a short 2-5 page script about something that happened to you this week, and upload it to the forum!