While working on one of our productions the other day it occurred to me that although people watch films they may not know the full extent of the work that go into making one ,or they would like to have a go themselves but don't know where to start. So I thought that for our latest production I would try and document the procedure in the hope that someone out in the big wide world may find it interesting or even help them! This is not going to be an in-depth breakdown but we will cover the basics just to get you started.
So the obvious starting point is the script. If you want it to look right (or if you want anyone in the industry to take you seriously) you will have to follow the age old standard layout that everyone uses. There are software programmes out there such as Final Draft which you can now pick up for around £160 and which will correctly format the page for you.
If you can't afford specific software don't worry, you can still write your script in Microsoft Word or other word programme, it might just take you a little longer to format the page. If using Word you must use the Font - Courier at size 12 which looks like this. (This is because it resembles the old type writer font which was used when scripts were first written)
Some Important Points to Remember when Writing:
- Ideally your script should work out to one page of dialogue = one minute of screen time.
- Do not put anything in Bold
- Do not write camera directions - This is the job of the Director and will be added by him / her.
- The following should all be capitalised in the script: Sounds (including music) ,the names of the characters the first time they appear , the speakers name above each line of dialogue and every word in the header: INT. SHOP. DAY
As I said these are only the basics and you can get more information easily on the net. One of the best ways to learn is by looking at professional scripts. These are sometimes given away with film magazines, or you may be able to find them on the web. Just remember that scripts vary slightly depending on the programme / film genre so make sure you learn the style that’s right for you.
Next time we'll start to breakdown the script.