Filmmaking Basics/Formatting the Script/Learn Final Draft

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?

Final Draft

To type and format the movie script for Seduced by the Dark Side, we will use a computer program called "Final Draft". This program has a FREE demo version.

To help learn the program, it comes with a tutorial. The tutorial is designed for advanced users so, for now, only glance at it.

Also, there are dozens of sample templates included within the program, including standard screenplay formatting, stage play formatting and the formats of many of today’s most popular television shows, all of which will speed up the learning process.

This is a fully professional program yet it is easy to use. You are working with the real thing. Enjoy!

Just like a word processor

Final Draft is a word processor designed for writing movies, television and stage plays. It combines word processing with screenplay formatting, allowing a writer to focus on what is being written instead of how it appears on the page.

If you have ever used a standard word processor, most of the editing functions, from selecting text to changing fonts and text alignment, will be familiar to you.

Screenplay format

Be sure to use the screenplay format so that you follow all the rules of a screenplay and not a television script, etc.

Final Draft is recommended by the following people:

Getting started with Final Draft

Therefore, it is a good idea for you to become familiar with this product… specially since they have a free demo version which can be used with this lesson to format the movie script for Seduced by the Dark Side.

Your assignment for this lesson

Step 1
1. Download the Final Draft Demo. This is free and is available in either the Macintosh or Windows format. Final Draft comes with the Final Draft 7 Users Guide in the program's folder.
If your computer cannot run Final Draft, you might try CeltX but this is only a beta version which is limited.
Step 2
2. Learn to use Final Draft.

Once you begin typing a script, you will see how the program works. At first, remembering the differences between TAB and RETURN is difficult. Learning to navigate just takes practice. When you make an error, simply undo. It is that easy!

Try either "Tab" or "Return"

Look at page 39 of the Final Draft 7 Users Guide to see the different elements of Final Draft.

  • In Final Draft, try hitting TAB and RETURN to see where you go.
  • If you do not go where you want, select Change Element To... under the Format menu.

Basically, that is all there is to the program. Obviously, there are many other useful features in Final Draft but they are not necessary for this lesson.

When you are ready to learn more, go through the Final Draft 7 Users Guide to see all the other features of the program.

Go to the next page?

Now you are ready to type the script. Try it without going to Page 4 - Type the script for Seduced by the Dark Side.

Contact your instructor

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