If you still need convincing that script writing software is a useful tool for a screenwriter, page breaking will clinch it for you: If you've followed the program's simple directions while writing your script, then all of the following rules will automatically, dare we say magically?, self-execute right in front of your eyes, while you are writing. The software will
- Never end a page with a Scene Heading. The ONLY time this is acceptable is if another Scene Heading or Shot follows. (An example would be an Establishing shot and then an interior scene heading.)
- Never start a page with a Transition.
- Automatically place Continued: notations when it breaks an Action paragraph or a Dialogue.
- Never end a page with a Character Name line. At least two lines of Dialogue if there are that many (including a Parenthetical, if used) must follow.
- Never end a page at a Parenthetical. Dialogue MUST follow.
- If you have Dialogue, a Parenthetical and then Dialogue again, break the page BEFORE the Parenthetical.
Now you are familiar with the basic elements and directions for writing a spec script. With these elements, or simply using a script formatting software, you will write a standardly acceptable script. It will look professional, and the reader will not automatically assume you are an amateur storyteller because you don't know basic screenwriting rules. Now there are a few finer points we should discuss.
Dual Dialogue or Side-By-Side Dialogue
When two of your characters speak simultaneously, that's called dual dialogue or side by side dialogue. In the script we've been following, our characters might have this conversation:
Frankie and Julie are in a heated argument. FRANKIE JULIE Get out of my life! I can't Don't you yell at me! I'll leave stand the sight of you any when I'm when I'm good and more!! ready! Tough!!
All of the script writing programs let you write this style of dialogue with ease, but you should probably avoid this device unless absolutely necessary.
Amateur screenwriters often do it in emulation of some old favorite scene, or to try to interject "conflict." However, you are more likely to distract the reader and disrupts the flow of the story. Don't give them a reason to put your script down by interjecting unclear scenes and dialogue.
Sometimes in a script it's acceptable or even necessary to have a crowd scene with ad lib dialogue. There are two basic ways of writing this.
The first way to do it is in an action line.
The CROWD in the bleachers taunts the pitcher: "You stink!" "Rubber arm!" "Ball!" "You throw like my sister!"
The second choice is to do it is as a character and dialogue.
CROWD You stink! Rubber arm! Ball! You throw like my sister!!