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I was hoping to get information on how to write a movie script.  I am have not done this before but I have such a great format for a movie, I just have to do it.

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Hit the library, bookstore, or Amazon and grab a book or two on the subject.  There are tons out there.  Those should offer you the info about formatting and such. 

CELTX is free and it does the formatting for you.  Though I have never used it.  I am very happy with Final Draft.

People have different approaches to how the write.  I create a story arc, outline, treatment, script, then re-write, then re-write, then...


Best bet is to get the idea out of your head and onto paper, or in a computer, or on a voice recorder.


Good luck!


Thank you.  I will look your it up....  =)

This is great advice! Celtx is free to download and is a great way to learn to format. You have to test it out to see what works for you as a writer, outline or none, synopsis or treatment first and then the script or vice-versa, etc.


I recommend two books: "The Hollywood Standard" by Christopher Riley and "Save the Cat" by Blake Snyder. I teach screenwriting and coach writers and have also placed in screenwriting awards. I wish you a lot of fun!



Have you tried this company beofre?
my advice ----find hollywood script from movie you liked---   read---    then write your movie --then read LINDA SEGER  making good script great ---then rewrite or hire budget consultant---then rewrite or              find writer to give you first draft    anywho   break a leg  hope your story is a good one
Two great scripts to read over are James Cameron's Avatar and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Both available in PDF format online, just do a google search. Chances are you've seen these movies and when reading the script, can make the visual connections.

I recently purchased two books at Borders that have been a great help. There are several books available to guide you on story structures.

When finished with your first draft. Send it to friends who aren't filmmakers to get feedback from their standpoint and have them ask questions after reading such as plot holes, flow, etc.

Scriptwriting can be a long process, so don't be discouraged if you find yourself 9 months in and still working out the kinks.
Great advise.  I have never ventured into anything like this before.  I am finishing up my degree and will "hit this" over summer break.  Thank you so much!!
one last piece of advice its never to early to start trying to find outlets( ie sell)
Jennifer, Since I just came on board here at FFA I'm a little late to the party with advice.  I'm sure you've moved on, but formatting should be the last thing you need worry about when writing a screenplay.  I teach screenwriting in Sacramento and may be coming down to Fresno to conduct a workshop.  In the mean time, if you'd like to be on my mailing list, I'd be happy to send along my FREE news letters which contain tips and info about screenplay writing.  Vince Cosentino has attended one workshop so he can fill you in a bit more on what I do.  Whatever you decide...good luck.


If you would like some advice, or bounce some ideas of someone, or would like some coverage for your script, feel free to contact me.  My email is  My phone is (818) 726-5773.  Don't let the area code fool you, I live in Fresno (relocated from L.A.).  However, I kept my L.A. cell phone because I still have connections there.  We can talk on the phone or meet for coffee.


In the meantime, here's some general advice:


BOOKS--- For book recommendations, I like "The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Screenwriters."  (  The author interviewed a few dozen top screenwriters, and then divided up their responses into subjects.  It's a unique way of laying out their experience and wisdom.  Also, the advice is is from many different points of view, so you can focus on what appeals to you most, since there is no one way of writing a script.  Formatting and guidelines are not discussed, just the foundations of screenwriting, the methods of motivating yourself, the techniques of rewriting and prep, etc.  Very educational and easy to reference.  You can borrow my copy if you wish.


FORMATTING--- I agree with the others that formatting should not be a concern at first.  Your software will take care of that for the most part, and your rewriting will take care of the rest, especially after getting good coverage.   For now, focus on story and character, and everything else will fall into place.


COVERAGE--- Try to get coverage from people who are experienced at it.  Reading and critiquing a script is a skill.  Your average person, even your average film school alum, will not be able to give you constructive advice.  They will give you suggestions (i.e. attempt to rewrite your story), or worse, just say "It was good" and nothing more.  You want coverage that tells you if your characters are distinct, believable, and consistent, if key characters have an arc, if their dialogue is individual, if the story has momentum and continuity, etc.  It took me years to build a solid group of go-to people for coverage.  If we meet, I will give you an example of coverage I did for another first-timer (her script went on to place well in a comp), to give you an idea of what to look for.


READING SCRIPTS--- I disagree with the others about reading successful scripts of films that you like.  It can be misleading, especially if you are starting out.  Successful, established screenwriters no longer have to follow any guidelines at all.  They don't even have to worry about spelling or grammar!  "Pulp Fiction" won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, but if you were to use it as a model for your own first script, it would most likely get shot down by every first-tier reader in Hollywood, because Tarantino no longer has to write by anyone else's standards, unlike first timers.  Also, script that you can download are often "shooting scripts," which are always filled with draft revisions made during production, which again can be misleading to a first-timer.  If you do choose to read produced scripts for inspiration, try to choose scripts that were someone's first big break, as opposed to their 10th produced script.  It will prove much more useful.


SOFTWARE--- I used to use Final Draft, which is the standard of the industry.  However, I've been using Celtx for a couple of years, and I love it.  It's free, and it's a complete filmmakers software package, covering more than just writing.  Also good is Movie Draft, which is available on the Apple App Store (if you use a Mac) for $29.99.  It doesn't have all the tools of Celtx, but it's cross-compatible with Final Draft, if that is important to you (if you have older scripts in that format).


Hope all that helps.  Good luck, and I hope to hear from you.






Read a bunch of screenplays!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   The one thing I benefited from my screenwriting course and the book, "Screenplay" was the advice to read screenplays.  The more you read, the more natural the screenplay "paradigm" will come out of you.  I also use CELTX.  It saves me ton of time.  Time I use to polish my screenplays!!!


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