"Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." - Forrest Gump-->
So what’s the difference between a script and a screenplay? Well actually not much, a screenplay could be your script but a script is not necessarily your screenplay. A script can be the written text for a play or radio or the basic start (rough draft) for the film. Screenplay on the other hand implies a greater emphasis on the visual aspects of film-making. After you have written your story its time you put it in screenplay format, which also may be called shooting script (at a later stage), if you have the software for it then its easier as it imports some formats like word directly and converts it into the screenplay format, but if you don’t then here is some rules that make it the standard format, make sure your story is almost locked for henceforward changes can only lead to confusion especially if not followed properly.
The font to be used is courier in 12 point size. The way its finally structured is usually one page equals one minute of screen time, which means if your screenplay goes up to 120 pages then your film would be 2 hours long. Knowing how long your film is going to be in advance helps in budgeting and also determining if you want a film that is so long or short. There are different things that constitute the screenplay’s layout. It is mainly broken up into two parts action and dialogues. Also part of it are scenes headings, transitions, parentheticals, etc.
Here is an example of a screenplay
SCENE AND PAGE NUMBERINGNow as we see from this example, your screenplay will have page numbers on the top and scenes are assigned numbers alongside the scene headers, a new number is assigned every time there is a new scene which usually when there is a location change, or the day has changed. The scene numbers provide a convenient way for the various production departments to reference individual scenes. The page numbers on the top helps when there are revisions and the production can replace you with the revised pages, example pages 5, 7, 12 and 35. So the whole script has not to be reprinted as a new draft. These page numbers have to be locked after the first draft as that becomes the reference point for all departments. If the length of the new pages are longer then it moves into 35A, 35B, or if the scene is deleted and there is no other scene on that page then a fresh page of 35 with OMITTED is given so as to avoid confusion of a missing page at a later stage, reason for also submitting only these revised pages is to avoid the different departments to rewrite all the handwritten notes all over again in the new draft.
Revision pages are distributed on colored paper, a different color for each set of revisions, with each changed line marked by an asterisk in the right margin of the page. The progression of colors varies from one production house to the next, a standard sequence would be: white, blue, pink, yellow, green, gold, salmon, cherry, white (this time known as "double white"), and back to blue ("double blue"). Usually before the start of the filming process a final draft is given out with all scenes and pages renumbered. The other way to also do it especially if coloured paper is not easily available is to keep an index at the end of the script and a note made each time the pages go through revision. Example
It is best that scene and page numbers are maintained throughout because too many changes could lead to some departments missing out or overlooking some of the changes. When a numbered scene is split across pages, (CONTINUED) appears at the bottom of the prior page, and CONTINUED: appears at the top of the subsequent page.
Each new scene is numbered differently so that any part of the script can be referred to by their scene numbers, scenes which are broken up into a edit pattern so that it moves back and forth from locations continue to have the same scene number, like a phone conversation that cuts back and forth to 2 different people at different locations but is still the same scene, for shooting purposes these are sometimes numbered as 7a, 7b, 7c or 7.1, 7.2, 7.3 this usually depends on what is comfortable with the production house and assistant directors.
SCENE TITLESScene titles also known as slugs tells the reader that the story has changed in location or time. It tells the reader where and when the action appears and the line comprises three parts:
INT. or EXT. - is the scene an interior or exterior scene?
LOCATION - where does the action take place?
DAY or NIGHT - what is the time of day?
· 11.EXT. MUMBAI MONTAGE – DAY·12.INT. SHARMAS VILLA – NIGHT
ACTION AND DIALOGUES-->
Action is the part which usually follows the scene title, it is usually written in the present tense. This part tells the reader what is happening in the scene, at times it also includes camera movements, lighting pattern, or costume description etc, The dialogue are the lines the characters speak. The name of the character is written in all caps followed by the dialogue
Mumbai logo ne aaj tak mumbai ko
kya diya..?? meine ye sab diya hai
Mumbai ko. Ye sab mera hai..When the dialogue is split across more than one page then (MORE) or (CONT'D) appears below the portion of dialogue on the first page, the remaining dialogue is headed by the character's name, which is extended by cont’d e.g. SHARMA (CONT'D). Sometimes the character speaks continuously with action lines splitting the dialogues, for such situations parentheticals can be used in the subsequent speeches. Parentheticals are positioned the same as standard ones, below the character's name and indented from the dialogue. Some writers use (CONT'D) beside the character's name for dialogues that are split between action (the same as for dialogue split across pages). Many writers choose not to indicate consecutive dialogue at all.
There is lot more to know but with this much of knowledge one can easily write your first screenplay. So now that your screenplay is ready just remember one thing, if your story aint’ good, your wasting time on the screenplay’s technicalities is useless.
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