Creative Writing Formats

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This rule of thumb is widely contested — a page of dialogue usually occupies less screen time than a page of action, for example, and it depends enormously on the literary style of the writer — and yet it continues to hold sway in modern Hollywood. Some studios have definitions of the required format written into the rubric of their writer's contract.

The Nicholl Fellowship, a screenwriting competition run under the auspices of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, has a guide to screenplay format.

The format is structured so that one page equates to roughly one minute of screen time, though this is only used as a ballpark estimate and often bears little resemblance to the running time of the final movie.

The major components are action (sometimes called "screen direction") and dialogue.

A "spec script" or speculative screenplay is a script written to be sold on the open market with no upfront payment, or promise of payment.

The content is usually invented solely by the screenwriter, though spec screenplays can also be based on established works, or real people and events.Some UK writers format the scripts for use in the US letter size, especially when their scripts are to be read by American producers, since the pages would otherwise be cropped when printed on US paper.Because each country's standard paper size is difficult to obtain in the other country, British writers often send an electronic copy to American producers, or crop the A4 size to US letter.Screenplays and teleplays use a set of standardizations, beginning with proper formatting.These rules are in part to serve the practical purpose of making scripts uniformly readable "blueprints" of movies, and also to serve as a way of distinguishing a professional from an amateur.The middle hole is left empty as it would otherwise make it harder to quickly read the script.In the United Kingdom, double-hole-punched A4 paper is normally used, which is slightly taller and narrower than US letter size.The action is written in the present tense and is limited to what can be heard or seen by the audience, for example descriptions of settings, character movements, or sound effects.The dialogue is the words the characters speak, and is written in a center column.Creating reality show formats involves storytelling structure similar to screenwriting, but much more condensed and boiled down to specific plot points or actions related to the overall concept and story.The script format for documentaries and audio-visual presentations which consist largely of voice-over matched to still or moving pictures is different again and uses a two-column format which can be particularly difficult to achieve in standard word processors, at least when it comes to editing or rewriting.

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