Below I have posted a small part of a screenplay for a short film I'm currently working on. It's the first draft and if worked on by a Director and film crew would go through a series of rewrites. Hopefully it will give you an insight into the required layout. However, due to the standard limitations of writing on these messageboards the layout will be different from a printed screenplay. Please note
that in a regular screenplay layout all montage (action/direction text) alignment would be set to 'justified' and in capitals. This includes character names. All dialogue should be aligned the same but in lower case and preferably in italics
You might want to include P.O.V. directions in your screenplay. P.O.V. is the abbreviation of the words 'Point Of View' and can be handy if not used excessively as a means of communicating camera angles to a Director of Photography (D.O.P.). Please note
; the D.O.P. may not be the Director of the film. However, they both work together and sometimes with the writer/screenwriter. All scene directions such as CUT TO, P.O.V. etc, normally appear justified but on the righthand side of screenplay pages.
The title of the screenplay and screenwriter's name appear on page one / front page.
Opening scene / Scene One begins on the second page.
Another rule-of-thumb is that each page of screenplay script should be able to be read in one minute. The average screenplay script for a feature film should be 120 pages. This is only a rule-of-thumb and not a set rule. You can have pages and pages of montage (action/direction) before your first piece of dialogue. Also note
; all action/direction should be double line spaced between each chunk of montage.
All new scenes must begin on a new page.
Anyway. Here is a working example of one scene (without POV directions) for you to look at and become familiar with:-
A screenplay by Louis P. Burns. © 2006. All Rights Reserved.
EXT: DAY. STREET. HEAVY RAIN.
A MAN IN HIS LATE TWENTIES WALKS FAST UP THE STREET. HE IS SOAKING WET. IN HIS HAND SWINGS A WHITE PLASTIC SHOPPING BAG. IT APPEARS HEAVY. HE IS SUCKING HARD ON A CIGARETTE. AS HE APPROACHES IT BECOMES CLEAR HE IS INTENTLY LISTENING TO MUSIC THROUGH AN IPOD.
HE REMOVES A KEYRING FROM HIS POCKET AS HE TURNS AND WALKS UP A SMALL GARDEN PATH TOWARDS A FRONT DOOR.
INT: DARK HALLWAY. STAIRS.
DOOR OPENS AND MAN WALKS IN. HE CLOSES DOOR BEHIND HIM AND CLIMBS THE STAIRS.
MAN REACHES TOP OF STAIRS AND APPROACHES FRONT DOOR IN HALLWAY. HE STILL HAS KEYS IN HAND AND UNLOCKS THE DOOR.
INT: APARTMENT. LONG PASSAGE-STYLE HALLWAY. DARK.
DOOR OPENS AND MAN WALKS IN. HE CLOSES DOOR AND PUTS HEAVY SHOPPING BAG ON THE GROUND. HE SWITCHES ON HALLWAY LIGHT. HE QUICKLY BEGINS TO REMOVE HIS WET CLOTHES. HE SNAGS HIS T-SHIRT ON HIS HEADPHONE LEAD. HE PULLS IPOD FROM TROUSER POCKET AND TURNS IT OFF. HE DISCONNECTS IPOD AND PLACES IT ON SMALL TELEPHONE TABLE. A LIGHT IS PULSING ON A TELEPHONE BUT MAN APPEARS NOT TO SEE IT.
INT: BATHROOM. BRIGHTLY LIT BY NATURAL LIGHT.
MAN REMOVES HIS T-SHIRT. HE TOWEL DRIES HIS HAIR AND UPPER TORSO. HE USES TOILET TO URINATE. HE EXITS.
INT: BEDROOM. CURTAINS CLOSED. DARK.
MAN SITTING ON EDGE OF BED. HE REMOVES SHOES, SOCKS AND TROUSERS. HE SIGHS DEEPLY. HE STANDS AND APPROACHES CHEST OF DRAWERS. HE OPENS TOP DRAWER AND REMOVES DRY CLOTHING.
INT: HALLWAY. MAN WITH DRY CLOTHES LIFTS HEAVY SHOPPING BAG AND WALKS DOWN LONG HALLWAY TOWARDS A CLOSED INNER DOOR. MAN USES SHOULDER TO PUSH DOOR OPEN.
INT: MAN ENTERS LARGE, BRIGHTLY LIT, OPEN-PLAN, LIVINGROOM WITH BREAKFAST BAR SEPERATING KITCHEN FROM MAIN AREA.
A PC AND ACCESSORIES, BOOKS, CD'S, ELECTRIC FIRE, LAMPS, LP'S, LARGE PLANTS AND A TELEVISION ON SERIES OF DESKS AND SHELVES ALMOST FILL THE LENGTH OF ONE WALL TO THE CURTAINS.
A LARGE TABLE WITH NEWSPAPER COVERING IT SITS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROOM. TABLE IS SURROUNDED BY LOOSELY ARRANGED CHAIRS. ON THE TABLE IS A STARTED SCULPTURE OF A MAN'S HEAD AND BUST. THREE EXPENSIVE DVD CAMERAS ON METAL TRIPODS SURROUND TABLE AND ARE SET TO DIFFERENT ANGLES AND HEIGHTS. ALL CAMERAS ARE FOCUSED ON SCULPTURE
THERE ARE TWO OLD THREEPIECE SUITE CHAIRS BUT NO SOFA BEYOND THE TABLE AND NEAR THE LIVINGROOM WINDOW.
MAN STRUGGLES AND SWINGS PLASTIC SHOPPING BAG UP ON TO TABLE. HE PEELS BACK THE PLASTIC TO REVEAL A LARGE BAG OF MOIST SCULPTING CLAY. MAN SMILES.
MAN WALKS TO PC AND SELECTS A PLAYLIST. MODERN MUSIC FILLS THE ROOM. MAN SWITCHES ON ELECTRIC FIRE AND HEATS HIMSELF.
MAN WALKS TO INTERCOM AND PICKS UP HANDSET.
Hello. (pause). Who? (pause). Sorry luv I didn't. I'm just in. Hold on.
MAN PRESSES DOOR ENTRY BUTTON. MAN EXITS LIVINGROOM.
INT: HALLWAY. MAN PRESSES BUTTON ON TELEPHONE.
VOICE FROM ANSWERPHONE:
Hi. This is Rachel Doran from Sensitize Magazine. I've been trying to reach you on your mobile but there's no answer.
MAN OPENS FRONT DOOR.
RACHEL'S VOICE FROM ANSWERPHONE:
We have to reschedule your interview planned for tomorrow.
MAN IS STANDING AT OPEN APARTMENT DOOR.
RACHEL'S VOICE FROM ANSWERPHONE (cont'd):
I'm in town today and was wondering if I could call up and do the interview.
WOMAN ASCENDS THE STAIRS. SHE IS WET. SHE EXTENDS HER ARM TO SHAKE MAN'S HAND.
RACHEL'S VOICE FROM ANSWERPHONE (cont'd):
Can you please give me a call? Thanks.
MAN USHERS RACHEL INSIDE AND CLOSES DOOR.
INT: APARTMENT HALL.
You must be Rachel then? (smiles) Just got your message.
MAN POINTS AT TELEPHONE. THEY BOTH LAUGH.
I hope I haven't called at a bad time.
No no. You're fine. Can I get you a towel?
Please. That'd be great.
MAN WALKS OFF TO BATHROOM. RACHEL REMOVES HER COAT, GLOVES AND SCARF AS MAN RETURNS. HE HANDS HER A TOWEL. SHE SMILES AS HE USHERS HER TOWARDS THE BATHROOM. AS SHE ENTERS BATHROOM HE TAKES COAT FROM HER AND HANGS IT ON A HOOK ON THE WALL.
I'll just be a minute. Thanks.