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Records 16 to 18 of 18 Records found

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Topic: Screenplay Formatting
"Help! I've read numerous times that one MUST use a 12pt New Courier (or equiv) font with page margins of 1.5" on left side (for binding) and 1" on the right side, top and bottom. I'm puzzled, however. When I read sample scripts, they invariably seem to be able to cram more lines and character spaces on a page. I've counted the lines/character spaces on many scripts and compared it to mine which follow the 12pt font and margin rules and I'm getting RIPPED OFF! (i.e., not getting as much room to tell my story).

1) Who is right?
2) Any idea how I can cram more writing on a page without it looking like I'm doing so?"


The industry standard is as you described it. There is another debate that rages over slug lines and the use of continue and scene numbers. It's been my experience that the best way to get your script read and appreciated is if it looks the way the industry expects. That way you'll come off as a professional. Scene numbers shouldn't be used because it makes the script look busy. As far as "continue" is concerned, my vote is yes for a character but no for a scene. Slug lines should be short and to the point. Although I have read scripts from established writers who toss out the standard slug line and invent their own brand. It's always best to follow the rules before you break them.

Here's a little trick of the trade that works with Final Draft. It's a closely guarded secret but I'll share it with you. If you open a file then click on document, then page layout then options you'll see an option called line spacing. This can be NORMAL or TIGHT, or VERY TIGHT or even LOOSE. Clicking on tight and very tight will keep your margins but condense the spacing between the lines and allow you to put "more on the page." Don't tell anybody I told you.....

Scriptfxr (About Scriptfxr)

Topic: Writing for hire
"I got hired to rewrite a script and do have credit on the cover as "Additional material and dialogue by Bob XXXXXX" (this script has film commission funding). But after I was done, the producer-director continued making changes. He sent me a copy for my comments, and I was horrified to see that my once crisp dialogue is now dull, and that there are grammar mistakes as well as logic mistakes that I, as an English teacher and published author, with over 20 screenplays under my belt, was extremely careful to avoid. I wrote back to suggest they return to my version unless or until they get a "professional script doctor" onboard. (I thought that's why I was hired, actually.)

Any advice?"


Unfortunately, there is little formal recourse unless you're under some kind of WGA jurisdiction. If the producer-director hired you, it is their prerogative to make changes as they see fit even if they make absolutely no sense to you. They own the material and it is theirs to improve or destroy. As a writer who has been through the virtual sausage grinder on changes and rewrites, I suggest you grin and bear it, perhaps offer to do a technical polish on the material so that at least you know the t's are crossed on the final draft. Otherwise, keep your dignity and keep a cool head; try to nudge yourself back in as opposed to kicking and screaming. I have reaped great benefits from just staying quiet until the powers that be come back and say, "It's still not working", meaning, "we've really screwed it up". You go in, make a few minor alterations from the way it was originally presented and, presto, you're a genius.

Remember, if you don't have a produced script under your belt, it may be wise to just let things go and see what happens. Having material produced raises your value on the next assignment. And many directors are not necessarily strong writers but the finished product may turn out quite well nonetheless. In the end, more changes, more checks and balances will come into play to hopefully help the film. As for your future as a writer and reputation as a script doctor, good producers know that produced material has many fingerprints on it, so you won't necessarily take the blame for everything should a real stinker get released. If you are still ashamed of the final script and there appears to be no hope, request to have your name taken off or go under a pseudonym. Collect your pay, your back-end, whatever, and move on.

Rob (About Rob)

Topic: Getting Your Screenplay Read
"I shot a movie preview that premiered at Sundance and was nominated for a Golden Trailer Award, yet I've found it impossible to get the script read by the industry. Query letters do not work. What should I do?"


First of all congratulations on the accomplishments you've made so far. It sounds like you're taking a proactive approach to your career which is a very good place to start. Without knowing who or where or what you've sent it's hard to provide the golden answer you're looking for but I'll try. First of all, query letters have been known to work. I got my first agent from a query letter. It all comes down to context. Is the log line of your screenplay included in the letter? If so, is it a concise, highly marketable concept? Keep in mind that since you are an unknown commodity to the people you're sending to, by asking them to read your screenplay means they're taking a risk. Granted it's a small risk to read but I've found that most production companies will do whatever they can do avoid reading scripts. (Thus the reader was born.) But if your query letter is short, to the point and grabs their attention with a compelling logline, then the next question would be are you targeting the right people? Find production companies who make the same genre of movies you're going for. As an example, if it's a horror flick, you wouldn't send it to Disney. And instead of shooting for the moon with the big leagues, find those small independent companies who have one or two movies under their belt. They're hungry for good scripts. Or maybe companies that are run by an actor who might be right for your movie. The little guys might be more open to your submission. A great resource for Production Companies is the online Production Company database on this site, or the Hollywood Creative Directory. It will be very tough getting an agent off of one script. They want to know that you are more than a one hit wonder. Build up your arsenal of specs and then launch a full assault to the agencies.

If you've tried all that and still can't get interest, then maybe it's not time for your story. Keep writing and tuck your screenplay away but get out and network. You'd be surprised who you might run into at pitching seminars or workshop classes or screenings or lectures that might be interested in your feature. Hope this helped.

Scriptfxr (About Scriptfxr)

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