Know the Rules: Screenwriting

Have you ever wanted to write a script for a movie or TV show? You don’t have to be a professional Hollywood screenwriter to write great scripts, all you need is an idea, and the right tools.

There’s a very strict format for writing a script. If you don’t want to deal with that, screenwriting software like Highland 2 or WriterDuet will take care of the formatting for you. Otherwise, you must set your script to this format:

  • Size 12 Courier font

  • 1.5 inch left margin

  • 1 inch right margin

  • Top and bottom margins must be 1 inch

Begin by writing “FADE IN.” That is always the way to start a script. Go down two lines and establish the setting. If it’s inside, type INT., and if it’s outside type EXT.. Say what the setting is, and establish whether it’s at day or night. Go down two lines and begin writing a description for the scene.

If a character is speaking in a script, type their name in all caps and put it 2.2 inches from the left margin.

Most scripts should only have 55 lines per page. These formatting rules make it so that one page of the script equals one minute of movie time.

By now, your script should look like this:


Continue writing like this for as many pages as you want. Most feature-length scripts are 90-120 pages long. The length of your script depends on what kind of movie you intend to make.

Screenwriting is far too broad a topic to cover just in this article. For more complex information, visit, a website where professional screenwriter John August and his team answer basic questions about screenwriting. It’s a very useful tool for a beginner.

There is a very strict set of rules to follow, but if you get them right, you may soon become one of Hollywood’s most in-demand screenwriters.

By: Brig Larson

Photo Credits: and

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