Scripts and Screenplays

You like to read?

Of course, you do.

You like movies? Got a favorite movie? Or a favorite book that was made into a movie that you refuse to see because it can’t possibly be as good as the original?

You want to learn to write a screenplay?

I answered “yes” to all of those and hied myself up to Bethesda, Md., recently to the Writing Center to see if I am educable. (Results are still not in on that.)

I had dabbled in writing TV scripts when I worked for public TV (NPACT) more than a lifetime ago so I figured I pretty much knew my way around screenplays. Wrong.

Movie and TV scripts are an entirely different beast.

Sample screenplay pageIn producing non-fiction TV, we used a two-column format — audio in one column, video descriptions in the other, side by side — which I continued to use when I wrote video scripts for marketing and advertising clients more recently.

Screenplay formatting is entirely different. Fortunately someone by the name of Matt Carless at the BBC Writer’s Room posted a PDF file of a document formatted for writing TV scripts. I’m told it can be used for movie screenplays as well.

(BTW, a screenplay is a type of script written for film or the movies, as opposed to a play or other visual medium. So they are not precisely synonymous.)

Mr. Carless’ work was very useful, but I learn best by watching experts do their best. I like to see finished products.

My fellow aspiring writers at The Writer’s Center pointed me to three online sites that provide actual movie and TV scripts free in a variety of formats (.pdf, .txt, .html and the odd one or two others). What I could not find in one, I was able to locate in another.

So if you would like to see a real scripts for a real movie or TV program, try these links:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.