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This page needs an example. Will, in time, try to find something myself
- Screenplays would belong better on Wikisource than here on Wikipedia. However, external links to online screenplays would be quite welcome. -00:35, Aug 26, 2004 (UTC)
- What i´m considering is a walkthrough of screenplay formatting rules, wich are not easily found elsewhere on the web. -08:10, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)
- This is an earnest response to the previous statement of intention. I think, a walkthrough would be a really good idea: what free screenwriting format information that exists online is rare and often contradictory, (which perhaps serves the interests of an established elite). The best online resource for the specific screenplay format (the professional standard) that I've seen is located at http://www.scriptfrenzy.org/eng/howtoformatascreenplay. There is a lot of good advice elsewhere, but for essentials such as page margins and line spacing, I'd go with ScriptFrenzy. Perhaps, the webmaster of that website could be contacted for an info share. I do not have a proprietary stake either in this Wiki page or in ScriptFrenzy. I am simply a sincere budget-conscious writer, trying to help out any of my sibling screenwriters who would visit this page in the future. I sincerely apologize if this was a misstep on my part.Loving-kindness (talk) 23:14, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
I just added a bunch of stuff, some of which might eventually be better handled in 'screenwriting', which I intend to work on. I think the script formatting rules would be a good idea but there are SO many standards it's difficult to know where to start. Cole and Haag is one place but there are specific studio formats written into studio contracts which differ radically from Cole and Haag. I also added a stub for screenwriting which might be a good place to deal with the literary craft. UnSane
It seems to me in standard format that action takes up more space than dialogue, creating a tough eligible peice of work which will make it extremely difficult to shower. Though the text disagrees. It really depends heavily on the action, and also the format in which the action is presented. For instance, compare this:
THOMAS JEFFERSON When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
(I checked the margins for each line and they're about right. If we allow a couple more columns on the right, it'd probably be a line longer at most.) I recorded myself saying this at a natural pace. After trimming silence at the beginning and end of the recording, and pauses that were too long, it's 24 seconds. It could be a bit shorter than that, but I would say it would take at least 18 seconds, and this is for 15 lines of dialogue. Now compare and contrast with a scene such as:
THE WHITE SHIP
fires its blasters at
THE DARK GRAY SHIP
which gets hit, but barely shakes as it speeds forth.
THE DARK GRAY SHIP
fires a torpedo-like object at
THE WHITE SHIP
which barrel-rolls away from the bomb, which detonates at a safe distance.
This is exactly as many lines on the page, but can all play out in about five seconds. (I'm not sure if repeating "THE DARK GRAY SHIP" is prudent, but even so, the example could easily be changed to have the same length with well less than half the time.)
So can it really be said that action is longer/shorter than dialogue? - Furrykef 17:57, 13 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Your problem in that example is that you have used a non-standard way of laying out the script. That way of writing used to be popular in the 70s and early 80s and a lot of people pick it up from reading Syd Field, but these days studios insist that you write in master scene format and do not attempt to indicate shots by splitting up the prose like that. If you sent in something like that they would simply send it back and ask you to reformat it. So in fact it would be something like this:
EXT. SPACE - NO TIME
THE WHITE SHIP fires its blasters at THE DARK GRAY SHIP which gets hit, but barely shakes as it speeds forth. THE DARK GRAY SHIP fires a torpedo-like object at THE WHITE SHIP which barrel-rolls away from the bomb, which detonates at a safe distance.
To use an example from a recent script I wrote for a studio, "50,000 stormtroopers enter the arena". That takes a lot longer than 2 seconds on screen, believe me.
Furthermore it is EXTREMELY unusual to see blocks of dialog like that from Thomas Jefferson. In a modern Hollywood script, such as SYLVIA (which I wrote), you might perhaps have only three or four blocks of dialog that long in the whole script. You are much more likely to see this kind of thing:
STEVE (without looking up) So how did it go?
MIRANDA Oh, you know.
Steve looks up.
STEVE That bad, huh?
MIRANDA (bursting into tears) Why can't I do anything right?
That is about 10-15 seconds screen time. Using only action I could have, in the same space, described a 2-minute fist fight.
If you really don't believe me you should check with a professional production manager.
(Incidentally your Jefferson speech has about 70 words. The rule of thumb is 3 words per second so that would normally be calculated as about 23 seconds worth of dialog).
UnSane 20:08, Sep 13, 2004 (UTC)
Hmm. That's not what the reference I used said about action scenes (which I got from following one of the links here). Which I think shows the article needs more references on the current format. ;) Certainly details could be obtained online from websites other than the Nicholl Fellowships? - Furrykef 21:12, 13 Sep 2004 (UTC)
- Well, it says it's a variation of the Bill Goldman style (you see it in the BUTCH CASSIDY script - 1970s) but it doesn't say that's how you should write action. In fact, any extended action sequence written calling the shots like that becomes completely unreadable, and it always bothers directors because they don't like to be told how to shoot. It used to be a way to smuggle in some direction but readers are wise to that these days. Usually it is reserved for the moment of peak drama, if it is used at all, which it isn't very much. Beginners use it a lot because it feels very exciting and because they read about it in books from the 70s and 80s like those by Syd Field and Bill G. I'm afraid that your opinion does not reflect either the consensus in the industry or my own direct experience of working as a screenwriter for many years. I'd be happy to send you some real examples. However you are quite right that we need more references and I will try to pull together what I have from Cole & Haag and from the extremely detailed specifications in contracts from Warner Bros and Universal. Don't mean to sound snippy, by the way, but I do know this stuff (*cough* IMDB entry *cough*). UnSane 01:59, Sep 14, 2004 (UTC)
I believe you, I was just pointing out that your statement did not match mine and the discrepancy needed to be accounted for in some way (other than that you obviously know this stuff). Perhaps we should note that in the current style, dialogue takes more page space than action, but it used to be the opposite. (Any other caveats about that guide, by the way? I'm considering writing a screenplay myself.) - Furrykef 09:19, 14 Sep 2004 (UTC)
- It didn't use to be the opposite. That Nicholl example DOES NOT say that you must write all action like that. In fact it took me ages to find the section you were referring to. You are confused about action. 'Action' in screenplay terms is basically anything that isn't dialog. A glance across a room is action. A clock ticking is action. In particular, 'Action' is not the same as 'an Action sequence', which is what that section refers to (and is out of date anyway). For example, this paragraph is action (as opposed to dialog).
INT. BEDROOM - DAY
A child's bedroom. Light spears through a gaps in the curtain. A bedside clock reads 7:30 am. Outside, the SOUND of a garbage truck. Tucked up in bed is SPENCER, a 12 year old boy with a shock of unruly blond hair. He stirs in bed, yawns and rolls over, then suddenly JOLTS upright as the alarm clock RINGS.
You would (I hope to God) never see this formatted, even in the 1970s, like this:
INT. BEDROOM - DAY
A child's bedroom.
spears through gaps in the curtain.
A BEDSIDE CLOCK
reads 7:30 am. Outside, the sound of a garbage truck. Tucked up in bed is
a 12-year old boy with a shock of unruly hair. He stirs in bed, yawns and rolls over, then suddenly JOLTS upright as the
Yes this is exactly the kind of 'action' that comprises most scripts, even action blockbusters. If you actually wrote action like this, the average script would be 300 pages long.
So the apparent discrepancy is accounted for by the fact that vast majority of film action is written in paragraphs and always was, whether by Bill Goldman or anyone else. Go read BUTCH CASSIDY or ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN or MARATHON MAN or any other Bill G script.
You can, if you wish, construct long pages of dialog which play slower than huge swathes of action written shot by shot, but you simply do not encounter this in real scripts. I am going to add "generally" to the wording which I hope will make you happy. I do honestly think you need to go and read a bunch of real screenplays before editing an encyclopaedia article about it. UnSane 13:37, Sep 14, 2004 (UTC)
- OK, so I was wrong, sheesh. ;) Yes, I readily admit entirely lacking proper qualifications, but then, that never really stopped me from wiki editing before (for instance, I can hardly play an F chord but I started a wikibook on guitar). Granted, in this particular case I wouldn't have made the edit if I thought, if I erred, the error wouldn't be quickly corrected. Lo, it was quickly corrected. I might not have been smart in making my move but the system as a whole is smart. Incidentally, I did not draw this conclusion based solely upon that example; I did go to the library where I also saw another book (they had a woeful dearth of material, so one book was all they had) using it, in the broader sense of action that you described. I just was led to what was, apparently, an incorrect conclusion, but I think raising the point was helpful because it only demonstrates further that the "one minute per page" rule is not necessarily accurate, since action (in whatever sense) could still conceivably be written to be longer than dialogue as easily as it can be shorter. - Furrykef 03:10, 15 Sep 2004 (UTC)
- Er, not to imply that I still think that overall in a script the action might be longer than dialogue. I just mean in the "local" parts wherever the technique happens to be used. - Furrykef 03:14, 15 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Can someone pls add a list of software tools to help in script writing (like final draft 7), hopefully with a few free ones... Thanks. PS: All production step has software to help, they should all be able to be found somewhere - thanks!! massa 08:42, 9 October 2005 (UTC)
Under Writing on Assignment: "it is not unknown for trusted writers in the higher echelons of the industry to receive $200,000 a week (2004 numbers) for their efforts. $50,000 per week is not uncommon." I assume that's supposed to be $20,000, not $200,000. Would someone who knows the figures check this? :)
Umm... Is it my idea or is this article really Hollywood industry screenplay oriented? It even includes payment references, which are not only in US dollars but they're also fleeting in my experience... It could be helpful to someone trying to break into the US industry, but is it general and informative enough for someone trying to find out about screenplays? - BunnyDee 23:26, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
Why does Dreamascript seem to be favoured by the authors of this article? Really, why is this sentence relevant: "DreamaScript produces multiple formats of screenplays, including PDF"? This reads like advertising to me.
The validity of this article has been harmed by the continuous "Edit War". The contributor "Will Beback" appears to be in favour of certain Software Vendors, this is apparent as throughout WikiPedia any references to DreamaScript have either been referred to as "Spam" or simply removed, by "Will Beback" or the various alias's he uses. The DreamaScript product is well respected and used by screenwriters and has been available for over 5 years. The article reads neutral, providing information to readers of the various screenwriting products available and the features contained within each software product. Will Beback and his various alias's have favoured other products over and above DreamaScript, to resolve this issue, I propose that all Software Products be listed alphabetically.
- Including a link as first link in a list it seems wrong. Surely this is not the most important program. The same problem is in Screenwriting article. The sentence: DreamaScript produces multiple formats of screenplays, including PDF. is spam. In the article we should not list all programs, but only two o three most importants. maybe we should remove explicit software name, and use at the end of the article a short list of important software (with link to wiki article and not to external homepage). Cate 14:01, 20 November 2006 (UTC)
- Interesting, however firstly who is to decide which pieces of software are the most important? A link to the "sceenwriting_software" article may be more appropriate? However would this just shifting the "edit war"? DreamaScript is a popular and therefore "important" and should be included. Is the sentence: DreamaScript produces multiple formats of screenplays, including PDF. really spam!?!?! It could be conceived that either the original author was not aware that other Software products were capable of PDF formating. The sentence should either be removed or replaced with Most Screenwriting Software products can output screenplays in multiple formats, including PDF.
- We cannot list all the softwares. Usually only spammers insert link first of a list, this is quite a fact (from my huge experience against spam and vandalisms). There are huge discussions about notability. Surely we cannot list all program/persons/... You can have and idea in Wikipedia:Notability and related pages. About the spamming line: the article is generic. Why do you need to write that the program does PDF (or other characteristic)? The other program doesn't do PDF? Nearly all computer now can generate natively PDF. If you add characteristic for one program, do for all programs. Moving in new page is best, and i don't think it will generate a edit war, just because in this article a log list is inapropriate (so the war is about notability), in a list i don't see this problem. PS: please sign every paragraph. Cate 15:18, 20 November 2006 (UTC)
Point taken. Seeing as an article already exists for screenwriting_software I suggest resolving this issue in a similar manner to the screenwriting article. I will edit the page appropriately once the "Protected" lock has been removed from this article. Case Closed. Patrick Alonso 17:01, 20 November 2006
Well, on the Dreamascript web page, I can't find a single reference to any of the respected screenwriters that have been using your product. 'The reviews' consists of a single review by some guy who has 'written one short and a feature screenplay, and is currently working on a new feature-length story'. Wow. Also, the 'review' reads more like a tutorial. You proposed that all Software Products be listed alphabetically, but in the Screenwriting software and Screenwriting articles you pushed your product to the top. If you didn't try to market your piece of software so aggresively, maybe people would stop calling Dreamascript spam. But for now, that's how it looks. --Sanssheriff 05:17, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
- I suggest you review the website again, as there are several references to respected screenwriters - you can also find an extensive list available on Google search.
- I did. I couldn't find any. Can't you just provide a link? --Sanssheriff 05:17, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
As for not sanctioning the listing of Software Products alphabetically, leaves me wondering which Software Product you are affiliated with? Wikipedia is a open source knowledge base, open to abuse and obvious agressive tactics that you are employing. The issue of listing Software Products alphabectically and ensuring that references to the products only appear at the bottom of articles will resolve all issues concerning aggressive marketing practices and indeed any accusations that a single vendor is attempting to "spam" this site. Otherwise anyone listing themselves at top of the list or including references to their product in an article will always by your reckoning be accused of spam.
- I don't have a problem with the alphabetical listing. I used to have a problem when Dreamascript was listed before two much more important programs and, at the same time, called itself 'industry standard'. It may be 'industry standard' in the sense that the scripts it produces are formatted correctly -- but that's something all of the other programs are capable of. Personally, I think the free programs-- Celtx and Roughdraft-- should come first, because they are readily available, in the spirit of the open source knowledge base that Wikipedia is. But for now, we should settle for the alphabetical listing, since that seems the best solution. --Sanssheriff 05:17, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Yes but what is a treatment, i heard someone say it has something to do with the script like a brief, you need to have this up here on wiki. ---Halaqah 22:18, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
- Hello. There's a link right inside this article, you must have missed it. Anyway, here's where it points: Film treatment --Sanssheriff 23:32, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
This section suggests that the scenes in the shooting script itself are rearranged to match the schedule. In fact, the scenes remain in "presentation" order (the order in which they were originally written), and the shooting order of scenes is defined in the production board. I'm going to slim down this section, and add details about formats unique to shooting script in the Shooting Scripts article proper. --[[User:TimSheehan|TimSheehan]
"A script for a television program is sometimes called a teleplay." Can someone please clarify when? --Bensin 15:03, 21 April 2007 (UTC)
- Teleplay is the technical term for a TV show's script. So, always, really. Although "script" is probably used more commonly. Blcfilm 08:33, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
Errors in sample page
The sample page image has a couple of formatting errors. It contains a CONTINUED:, which applies only for scripts with numbered scenes (ie, shooting scripts), and it uses a (CONT'D) indicator for consecutive dialogue. (CONT'D) beside the cue is for dialogue split across pages; (continuing) is used for consecutive dialogue spoken by a single character. TimSheehan 04:59, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
- You're right that it's wrong, but (continuing) is no longer in fashion either. The current standard for same-page continued speech is no parenthetical. Split-page parentheticals are on their way out, too. Blcfilm 07:01, 23 August 2007 (UTC)
- The sample page also incorrectly uses O.S. Offscreen (O.S.) is used when the character is in the scene but off camera. V.O. (voiceover) is for voiceovers, phone conversations, recorded playback, and other electronic additions to the track. The character in the script is playing a tape recording; hence, that's a V.O., not an O.S.22.214.171.124 (talk) 03:06, 9 February 2008 (UTC)
Maybe the above comments refer to an older sample page? I still see some problems with the current one. After the KITCHEN scene heading, it goes straight to dialogue without an action line, which is not "wrong" per se, but considered bad taste in my experience. The (CONT'D) by Mary's name isn't necessary and isn't common except in maybe a shooting script. The prose is not very good and the script lacks formatting punch to it. For a page about screenplays can't we have a sterling example instead of one with awkward and unusual formatting? The CONTINUOUS in the scene headings aren't wrong either, but not exemplary of most scenes, which would say DAY or NIGHT. Isn't there a better example out there? Can a decent screenwriter out there maybe donate one or make one up?Henry chianski (talk) 19:29, 10 August 2016 (UTC)
Added here in 2008 by a one-edit IP address located in Italy. Same as part of this page: Screenplay Coverage © 2008 Script-Fix, LLC. Removed today, then restored. The dates don't clarify the matter, but the fact that the text is so polished makes me think it was copied. Other thoughts? Will Beback talk 07:58, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
"Types of screenplays" edits
There seem to be a few paragraphs about screenplay types that multiple users have repeatedly added (sockpuppetry?) and continued to do so, even when the content was removed. The most recent occurrence was in August 2014, a few months ago. Edits: 
In the past, these edits were reverted by User:Oknazevad. I'm not familiar with how things work on Wikipedia, so I'm not quite sure what to do. But it seems to me that these repeated edits are a recurring problem that should be investigated (possible sockpuppetry) and addressed in some way or another. Waterfalls12 (talk) 05:10, 20 November 2014 (UTC)
- This is clear sock puppetry for a single non-notable editor to push his pet theories. There is not a single source on these rambling pile of original research, and the supposed invention of the "literary screenplay" (which literally turns up in zero reliable sources; I checked) is supposedly from three years ago. Clearly some self-important egotistical nobody trying to make themselves sound important. It is vanity vandalism and should be reverted on sight. (I missed the last edit adding it, and didn't revert it until today. That was my failure.) It must not remain because it violates so many Wikipedia policies (especially no original research) and because it is a slapdash mess of bullcrap. If you or anyone sees it added again, remove it immediately.
- Meanwhile, all these edits are attempted by the same three usernames, none of which have made any other edits to any other pages. While it is clear that these are either sock puppets or meat puppets, they're impact has been limited to this one page. If they attempt to re-add their vandalism again, we can easily revert them and bring it up at WP:AIV where they can be dealt with. (And if the account trying to re-add this nonsense is blocked, any other single purpose account trying to add this, they can be quickly blocked for being a sock puppet. It's not something that must immediately be done, but it can easily be done if the problem persists. Maybe they'll get the hint that Wikipedia is not the place for their self-absorbed nonsense. oknazevad (talk) 11:16, 20 November 2014 (UTC)
Well, I just reverted this nonsense again. Second time by this user name. Here's the full list of all usernames that have added this garbage:
- User:John Cartz (oldest)