Script Formatting Templates
You can create your own script template for your word processor or you can use preconfigured templates available from many sources around the web.
Here you can download the following free templates for Microsoft Word and Google Docs:
If you plan to work extensively on one or several scripts, you should consider using professional screenwriting software. There are several products available with different options to fit your needs and budget. Most of the formatting becomes automatic plus many additional features will help you in your writing process and even into production.
Film Writer works on Final Draft, which is considered to be the industry standard, but can adapt to your software of choice. All screenwriting programs offer a variety of file types for export and import in order to facilitate collaboration.
Other screenwriting software titles include:
A number of screenwriting books offer detailed reference on formatting, plus they cover other areas such as structure and style, along with hints and tips about everything related to the craft and the "business". It's very helpful to reserve a place in your library or ebook reader for at least one such book.
One thing to keep in mind is that there are no magic formulas for structuring a winning script. Some authors and so-called gurus provide a by-the-numbers map on how to structure your narrative and protagonist's journey. Use such information as reference, not as a rule, especially not as something to follow a priori. Write freely, more so your first draft. An exception is if you already have an invitation from a specific company to present something that needs to fit their usual conventions.
Beyond books specifically about screenwriting, you might expand your horizons as a writer with books about storytelling, filmmaking, film theory, etc.
Once you finish your first draft and before you share or submit your script anywhere, you should register it. The main benefit of registration is the author's peace of mind before anyone else reads the script. Although extremely rare, if your script gets plagiarized (or someone accuses you of plagiarism or questions your authorship), you can prove that you had written the script by the registration date.
Valid registration services in each country are offered by the copyright office and some writers guilds or unions. Usually, you do not have to be a guild member to use this service, but fees vary for non-members. There are strict requirements for membership, such as having a number of produced works.
Writers Guild of America West. The standard registration service for scripts from the USA and around the world. The registration term is 5 years, renewable.
Writers Guild of America East. The registration service is open to authors from around the world. The registration term is 10 years, renewable.
Canadian Intellectual Property Office. This is part of the Government of Canada. The service is for Canadian residents and citizens. Scripts fall in the Dramatic category. Registration does not expire during the author's lifetime.
The Writers Guild of Canada used to offer a registration service, but not anymore.
Directory for Intellectual Property Offices. This list provides the local links for registration services around the world.
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