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Filmmaking Basics/Formatting the Script/Type the script


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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?



Start with Final Draft
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Command: New

Screenplay format
When you ask for a new page in Final Draft, you will see a selection of script formatting styles.
Select Sceenplay.fdt because we are creating the basic screenplay for a motion picture.
Cole and Haag screenplay
There are a lot of other format for script formatting.
If you are following along with the book on script formatting from Cole and Haag, use the format for their style.
The new page dialog menu
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Typing The Script for "Seduced by the Dark Side!"

Here are step by step instructions for typing this script with Final Draft. 10 points

The Basic Script

  1. Begin Final Draft - Demo Version.
  2. Type the Location
    1. "E" for Exterior (tab)
    2. "The Local Movie Theater" (tab) (Notice how Final Draft converts this to upper case automatically.)
    3. "N" for night (tab)


      *** Carefully look at what you have typed. You should see EXT. THE LOCAL THEATER - NIGHT


  3. Type the first Action
    • "The Young Person and Old Person stand looking at the movie poster outside the theater." (tab, tab)
  4. Type the Character
    • "Young Person" (return) (Notice how Final Draft converts this to upper case automatically.)
  5. Type the Dialog *** Look at the bottom of the page for a better way to type this dialog. Crystal Clear action bookmark.svg
    • "That was a great movie... but I do not understand one thing." (return tab)
  6. Type the Character
    • "Old Person" (return)
  7. Type the Dialog
    • "What's that?" (return tab)
  8. Type the Character
    • "Young Person" (return) (Notice how Final Draft already has "YOUNG PERSON" in faint type. All you have to do is hit return.)
  9. Type the Dialog
    • "How can anyone be seduced by the Dark Side?" (return tab)
  10. Type the Action
    • "The old person thinks for a while." (tab)
  11. Type the Character
    • "Old Person" (return) (Notice how Final Draft already has "OLD PERSON" in faint type. All you have to do is hit return.)
  12. Type the Dialog
    • "What computer do you have at home?" (return tab)
  13. Type the Character
    • "Young Person" (tab) (Notice how Final Draft already has "YOUNG PERSON" in faint type. All you have to do is hit tab and the parenthetical is ready for typing.)
  14. Type the Parenthetical
    • "eagerly" (return)
  15. Type the Dialog
    • "A Macintosh!" (return tab)
  16. Type the Character
    • "Old Person" (return) (Notice how Final Draft already has "OLD PERSON" in faint type. All you have to do is hit return.)
  17. Type the Dialog
    • "And what computer does your father use at work?" (return)
  18. Type the Action
    • "The young person thinks for a moment." (tab tab)
  19. Type the Character
    • "Young Person" (tab) (Notice how Final Draft already has "YOUNG PERSON" in faint type. All you have to do is hit tab and the parenthetical is ready for typing.)
  20. Type the Parenthetical
    • "amazed and excited" (return)
  21. Type the Dialog
    • "Seduced by the Dark Side!" (return)
  22. Type the Action
    • "The Old Person smiles and they both walk toward home." (return return)
  23. Type the Transition.
    1. Select Transition
    2. Select Fade to Black (return)


Save your work

Save the file to your hard drive.


What scene is this?

This is scene #1. How do you get the scene number to appear? You cannot just type it. Does not work.
Instead, try renumbering the scene (which is a bit confusing) starting at "1".
Save the file again.


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The Title Page

In the Document Menu of Final Draft, click on the menu item called Title…
Replace the text that is marked in brackets with whatever you feel is appropriate. Here is an example:
Type the title information
  1. Replace the words "(Name of Project)" with Seduced by the Dark Side.
  2. Replace the words "(Name of First Writer)" with your name (or your sign in name on Wikiversity.)
  3. Replace the words "(Based on, If Any)" with Based on a story by WikiU Film School.
  4. Replace the words "(Names of Subsequent Writers, in Order of Work Performed)" with your name (or your sign in name on Wikiversity.)
  5. Replace the words "(Current Writer, date)" with your name (or your sign in name on Wikiversity) and today's date.
Type the company information
If you have a company, put that name and address here. Otherwise, type this…
  1. Replace the words "(Name (of company, if applicable))" with WikiU Film School.
  2. Replace the words "Address" with www.wikiversity.com.
  3. Replace the words "Phone" with your User Name.




Save again!!!

Again, SAVE your work!!!




Print (save) as a PDF

Print your script as a PDF document to your hard drive. Under the File Menu, you will see "Save As PDF…". Normally, this prints both the title page and the script at the same time in the same document (unless you changed the preferences.) Email a copy of the script to your instructor. Robert Elliott




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There is a bug in Final Draft!

Title Page BUG in Final Draft

  • Warning: There is a bug in Final Draft.
The title page will not print correctly to PDF in some cases. You have to follow a special procedure.
To type the title page, select TITLE PAGE from the DOCUMENT menu. A special window appears. When finished, all the "(WORDS)" should be replaced with your information. No brackets should appear in the actual title page.
Final Draft does not remember the information on the title page until you close the title page window. After you close the title page window, save your project (SAVE AS...).
Then open the title page again to see if the information is still there. (I always save a copy of all the text from the title page in TextEdit or my word processing program, just in case.)
Now you can use SAVE AS PDF in the FILE menu to create the PDF version which you will send to me.


Extra Credit

The steps above are very simple. If you want to try something more complex, one spot in the script needs to be expanded.
2 points
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Extra Credit!

Here is something extra you can do for practice. Adding this extra line also helps the readabilty of the script.
Old Way
Rather than simply type "That was a great movie... but I don't understand one thing", you can add an action in the middle of the dialog.

New Way
  1. After you have typed "That was a great movie..." (return)
  2. Type the Action
    • Type "The Young Person pauses and looks at the Old Person." (tab tab)
  3. Type the Character
    • Type "Y" for Young Person (tab) (Notice how Final Draft already has "OLD PERSON" in faint type. All you have to do is type "Y" and "YOUNG PERSON" appears.) Tab and the word "CONT'D" appears automatically.
  4. Type "but I don't understand one thing." (return tab)

Continue typing…


More Extra Credit: The script for the animated version

The animated script is slightly different from the live-action script. Extra vocalizations need to be added if the movie will be animated. This is easy to do… but it is also easy to forget. You have to pay extra attention to a script for animation.
2 points
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Animation Script!

The animated version is different from the live action motion picture script.

  • Please add these extra lines to the script for the animated version.
  • Also add the words "Animated version" on the title page information.
Extra Lines of Dialog
For the script of the animated version, we need all of the vocal sound effects included.


  1. When the old person thinks for a while, you need to add:
    Old Person: "Hummm"

    Hint: This dialog should not be part of the action and it seems a bit awkward adding it to the dialog "What computer do you have at home?" so try putting it before the action "The old person thinks for a while." Therefore before you type the action "The old person thinks for a while.", type the character name: "Old Person" (return) and then type the dialog "Hummm." (return tab) and finally, if you have not already done so, you type the action "The old person thinks for a while." (tab)

  2. When the young person thinks for a while, you need to add:
    Young Person: "Hummm"

    Hint: Again, this dialog should not be part of the action "The young person thinks for a moment." and it seems awkward to be part of the young person's dialog which follows therefore put it before the action "The young person thinks for a moment."

  3. When the old person smiles for a while, you need to add:
    Old Person: "Ahhh"

    Hint: This is easy since you simply put this dialog before the action "The Old Person smiles and they both walk toward home."

And don't forget to go under the Document menu and select Title Page... and type "Animated version" under the "Name of Project". (Note: Eliminate one blank line so the title page does not extend into a second page.)





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There is a bug in Final Draft!

Title Page BUG in Final Draft

  • Warning: There is a bug in Final Draft.
The title page will not print correctly to PDF in some cases. You have to follow a special procedure.
To type the title page, select TITLE PAGE from the DOCUMENT menu. A special window appears. When finished, all the "(WORDS)" should be replaced with your information. No brackets should appear in the actual title page.
Final Draft does not remember the information on the title page until you close the title page window. After you close the title page window, save your project (SAVE AS...).
Then open the title page again to see if the information is still there. (I always save a copy of all the text from the title page in TextEdit or my word processing program, just in case.)
Now you can use SAVE AS PDF in the FILE menu to create the PDF version which you will send to me.

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Go to the next lesson

The next lesson is to create the thumbnail storyboards Crystal Clear app gimp.png.

Crystal Clear action apply.png Before you start, please take this pop quiz! Crystal Clear app clock.svg


Contact your instructor

Your instructor for this filmmaking class is Robert Elliott. You can email me by clicking here. Crystal Clear app xfmail.png