Script Format & Style Guide

by Elliot Grove

Write nd sell teh Hot Script by Elliot Grove An extract from his book Raindance Writers' Lab: Write + Sell the Hot Screenplay.

Screenwriters have an ideal entrepreneurial opportunity, if they consider themselves as a manufacturer of product - take a ream of paper, available from any stationers, and turn it into a screenplay worth thousands using just a few pennies' worth of ink, your time, and your mind.

If you treat your writing like a business, then it follows that you are a professional, and certain rules apply to your profession - as they do to any other profession. What follows is both a format and style guide which attempt to give the reader an idea of the different choices and strategies involved in the craft of screenwriting.

Screenplays must be submitted in the correct format, or the industry personnel you are pursuing will ignore them. By ignoring the simple formatting rules will make your script look amateurish.

The film industry has become institutionalized to the point where scripts follow one set of rules for screenplay, and another for television. This chapter explains the basic rules for screenplay.

Here's a PDF of the one page Script Format Guide
Here's the great BBC script format guide


1. Take the time to format your script properly.
2. Don't be intimidated by the formatting rules - it will just make you delay the writing process.
Dig Deeper
Raindance script consultancy is an excellent and cost effective resource. Email for more details: Toronto / London

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About Elliot Grove

Elliot GroveCanadian born Elliot Grove founded Raindance Film Festival in 1993, the British Independent Film Awards in 1998, and Raindance.TV in 2007, the Raindance Postgraduate Film Degree in 2011 and Raindance Raw Talent in 2013.

He has produced over 150 short films, and 5 feature films incuding his latest feature film, Deadly Virtues: Love.Honour.Obey. He has written eight scripts, one of which is currently in pre-production. He teaches writers and producers in the UK, Europe. Japan and America.

He has written three books which have become industry standards: RAINDANCE WRITERS LAB 2nd Edition (Focal Press 2008),  RAINDANCE PRODUCERS LAB (Focal Press 2013) and 130 PROJECTS TO GET YOU INTO FILMMAKING (Barrons 2009). His first novel THE BANDIT QUEEN is scheduled for publication next year.

Open University awarded Elliot and Honourary Doctorate for services to film education in 2009.
He is regularly interviewed. Here is an interview for Canadian television


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Script Format Guide