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Proper Formatting Technique: How to Create a Compelling and Professional Screenplay

At a Glance

  • 4-week online course on formatting a screenplay
  • Shows the necessary formatting techniques to set your script apart from the pack
  • Comes with a complete critique of your 3-page writing sample

Many software programs perform the technical procedures behind screenplay formatting, but do you know the necessary techniques and currently accepted standards that will set your script apart from the heap?

In Proper Formatting Technique, author Dave Trottier (Dr. Format himself) will not only teach you the rules, he’ll also show you when and how to break them. By applying his formatting techniques, you’ll write more compelling descriptions and sharper dialogue. And that’s because formatting is not just a box to dump your story into, it’s part of the story itself - a writing tool that enhances your story and helps you create a reader-friendly screenplay. 

This 4-week course includes five lessons and several exercises to sharpen your skills. In addition, Dave will provide a complete critique of your 3-page writing sample.
Here’s a general breakdown of subjects covered in this course:

Week 1: The Fundamentals

  • The spec script, the shooting script, and the purpose of formatting
  • Know the rules before you break them
  • Three parts of a screenplay
  • Margins, tabs, and spacing
  • Page count and type face
  • CONTINUED, CONT'D, and continuing
  • Title pages, cover pages, and brads
  • What do readers want and how strict are they?
  • 17 things readers hate

Week 2: Headings (a.k.a. Slug Lines)

  • Master scene headings
  • Secondary scene headings
  • How master scene headings and secondary scene headings work together
  • Characters as headings
  • Special headings: flashbacks, dreams, visions, & daydreams
  • The montages and the series of shots
  • Triple space or double space?
  • Title cards, credits, roll-ups, scrolls, FADE IN and FADE OUT

Week 3: Narrative Description (a.k.a. Action) & Dialogue

  • Describe what you see on the movie screen and hear on the soundtrack
  • Less is more - lean writing. What details do you include? When do you dramtize?
  • Active voice and specific language
  • Paragraphing
  • Author's intrusion, SUPERs, POV, Phantom POV, and the INSERT
  • Camera directions you can and cannot use
  • Character cue
  • Parenthetical - the purpose and use of the wryly
  • Speech
  • Quick review of tabs, margins, and dialogue width
  • Telephone conversations and the INTERCUT
  • Singing
  • MORE and CONT'D

Week 4: Formatting is a Writing Tool

  • Your formatting tool box contains many helpful communicative tools
  • Direct the camera without using camera direction
  • How to cheat on margins and line spacing
  • Formatting software
  • BONUS SECTION: When and how to break the rules
  • Solving your formatting problems
  • Answering any unanswered questions

Product Details

Return Policy

Your satisfaction is our top priority. If you are not satisfied with your purchase, please return the item(s) for an exchange or refund within 30 days from the purchase date, unless otherwise noted on the product page.

Ship the item(s) to The Writers Store via a traceable and insured method. You will be responsible for return shipping fees.

Please include a completed Return Form with your shipment. Refunds take up to one week to process once we have received the item(s).

Software returns must be deactivated and uninstalled from your computer before a refund may be issued. Please contact the software manufacturer if you need assistance uninstalling or deactivating your software.

The following items are not returnable: Hollywood Creative Directories, DVDs (opened), and Gift Certificates.

Meet the Author: David Trottier

Dave Trottier has sold or optioned ten scripts and helped countless fellow screenwriters break into Hollywood through his work as an acclaimed script consultant and author of The Screenwriter's Bible, the Industry's de facto spec writing and formatting guide. He also writes a column for Script magazine and hosts keepwriting.com.

$149.99