Filmmaking Basics/Formatting the Script/Analyze the story

This school is:
Wikiversity Film School - Narrative film production
This course is:
The basics of narrative filmmaking
This lesson is:
Formatting the script
Pages of this lesson:
Page 1 - Lesson summary & the story
Page 2 - Analyze the story
Page 3 - Learn Final Draft
Page 4 - Type the script
Conclusion - Is it perfect?

1. What is the Location?

Obviously, the story takes place outside a theater. That is easy!!!
We do not actually say which theater. In actuality, we will use a 3D matte painting to turn our humble movie set into a theater on another galaxy far, far away.
For now, we just write down:
Scene Introduction (INTERIOR vs. EXTERIOR)?
Exterior which is abbreviated EXT.
The Location?
Simply say Movie Theater! for the location.
The Time?
The time will be Night since most movies end at night. However, we will probably film at dusk so we'll have better lighting.

2. Who are the characters in this story?

There are only two speaking roles in our movie. Extra people such as people in the background are never listed in a movie script.
The old and wise person will be simply called OLD PERSON.
The young person will be called YOUNG PERSON. We don't want to limit our choice to one gender.

3. What is the dialog for this story?

We need to write down just the words that are spoken. This is the meat of the script.

The young person says
That was a great movie... but I don't understand one thing.
The older person says
Hum, what's that?
The younger person says
I don't understand how anyone can be seduced by the dark side.
The older person says
What computer do you use at home?
The younger person says
A Macintosh.
The older person says
And what computer does your father use at work?
The younger person says
Seduced by the Dark Side!!!

4. What are the actions in this story?

The actions are what goes on in the story that is not dialog. For a movie script, this must be very short. Notice how much of the story is eliminated and not included in the actions.

At the beginning of the scene, all you need to say is

An old and wise person and a young person stand in front of a movie poster.
They begin to walk away.

5. What is the ending transition for this story?

At the end of the scene, all you need to say is:

Fade Out


That is all the information you need to type the script. Right? Maybe not! For the animated version, we need more. See the note to the right.

Analyze the Story

Here is the information you will need to type the script:

  • The location
  • The time of day (Day, Night)
  • The names of the characters
  • The dialog
  • The action
  • The parenthetical descriptions for the dialog
  • The transitions

Re-read the story. As you read the story, write down this information so you will be ready to type the script. Then check with the answers on the left.

"Seduced by the Dark Side!"

An old (yet wise) person and a young (but curious) person are outside a movie theater where they have just seen the movie "Star Wars". Now they stand looking at the movie poster on the wall outside the theater.

The younger person says, "That was a great movie... but I don't understand one thing." The older person says, "Hum, what's that?". The young person says, "I don't understand how anyone can be 'seduced by the dark side'".

The older person thinks for a while and then answers, "What computer do you use at home?"

The young person immediately responds eagerly, "A Macintosh."

Then the older person slowly says, "But what computer does your father use at work?"

The young person thinks for a while and then smiles in amazement, exclaiming loudly, "Seduced by the Dark Side!"

The older person smiles knowingly at the young person. The young person is very happy knowing he has just learned a very important lesson. Now the two have formed a bond that will last a lifetime.

They begin walking slowly home together.

The End

"Warning, Will Robinson!"

Did we forget something?

Young Person: "Hummmm!

In the script for the animated version, we also need to include any vocal sound effects. If a person says, "Hummmm" or "Ahhhh", we need to include that in the animated script. When recording the dialog for the animated script, you must be very specific.

1. When the young person thinks, do we need a "Humm"sound?
2. When the old person thinks, do we need a "Humm" sound?
3. And when the Old Person smiles, do we need a "Ahhh" sound?

The answer is "yes" for the

animated version of our movie.

The Next Page

Continue this lesson on Page 3 - Learn Final Draft

Contact your instructor

Your instructor for this filmmaking class is Robert Elliott. You can email me by clicking here.

The formatted scripts from the lesson on "Script Formatting"

Version: The Live-Action Script
Note: The instructions in the lessons are only a guide. Here is an excellent example of creative script formatting. Converting the story into a script can be done with a great amount of originality. Great job, Capt. Mike!
"D" says: I wasn´t sure if could make all this changes in the story but here it goes! (Ps: sorry if the script its not fluid or something but though english its not my native language I wanted to give it a try anyway.)
  • MilesR has completed this assignment (pdf). 10 points. (5 May 2007) Remember to set each line to the correct format. This is very easy in Final Draft.
  • Krishna Datta has completed this assignment (pdf). I used MS Word and converted the script to PDF using a PDF Convertor. I am not able to install the Tool as I am using a restricted Computer where I don't have permission to install any software. I think this will suffice.6 points. (23 July 2007)
  • Astroboi has not completed this assignment (pdf). Please use the free demo of Final Draft to format this script.
  • Igor Popovski has completed this assignment (pdf) using the free Final Draft demo. This was done using a TV format rather than a motion picture. The differences are very interesting. 8 points - (03 November 2007)

Click on the word assignment to see the actual pdf document.

Version: The Animation Script
  • Special Note: This is the first script to get the scene numbering correct!!!!
  • Special Note: This is the second script to get the scene numbering correct!!!!

Unique scripts

Completed assignment - Script formatting

June 3, 2010 -- Macurik has formatted the script with Free Final Draft 8. You can download it at Media:Macurik_Seduced by the dark side.pdf. xxx