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Sample Script Page

FADE IN

EXT. RUNDOWN ARIZONA NEIGHBORHOOD - DAY

The afternoon of a day in late spring.  The one-story frame houses have mostly dirt yards.
Dogs bark.  Somewhere o.c. a mother's voice calls: "Bobby! Time for supper!  Wash up!"

Now the CAMERA TRAVELS UP a weeded walk, to a set of broken steps, and stops before a 
torn screen door.

INT. DEXTER HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - DAY

MRS. DEXTER is a dowdy Caucasian in her 40's with the look of a self-sacrificing missionary
about her.  A do-gooder worn thin by the years.  Beside her, a stone-faced Black lad of 9.  
His name's Simon, his mood defiant.

Social Worker MISS HICKS, standing in front of them, is professional and aloof.

                                   MRS. DEXTER
                     He's a saint, Miss Hicks.  Even if we
                     didn't receive a cent of State's money
                     toward his upkeep, he'd be welcome.
                     He's a joy.  A real joy.

She smiles benevolently.

                                   MRS. DEXTER (CONT'D)
                     Smile at the lady, Simon.

Simon glares at the Social Worker.

                                    MRS. DEXTER (CONT'D)
                              (to Miss Hicks)
                     He's a shy thing, he is.
                              (to Simon)
                     Aren't you shy, darlin'?  Sure you are.  




SCRIPT NOTES

Sorry about the line between narrative and the first dialogue.  That's the templet
I'm working on and I can't seem to override it.  Ignore it and, for heaven sakes, 
don't put one on your page.

Let's start at the beginning.  FADE IN.

The first words on a script are: FADE IN.  Always.  Don't title the page. Don't put 
a header at the top or footnotes at the bottom.

The next thing you see is a Slug Line and don't ask me why it's called a Slug Line.
I don't have a clue.  Anyway, a Slug Line tells many cast and crew members what 
they need to do in order to shoot this scene, but if you'll just remember 4 key 
members, you'll never again write an incorrect Slug Line.

The first piece of information in a Slug Line goes to the First Assistant Director
who does the scheduling and only wants to know if this is a scene that will be shot 
outside (EXT.) or inside (INT.).

The second piece of information goes to the Location Manager who wants to know what
he needs to physically go out and find, then contract for.  He wants to know where
this scene will be shot.  In this case it will be shot in a RUNDOWN ARIZONA NEIGHBORHOOD.

The third piece of information is for the Set Decorator, but there's almost never 
anything to tell him when you call for an EXT (exterior) scene.  He'll be working ahead
of the crew, inside the place where they will be shooting next.

The last bit of information is for the Lighting Technician.  He wants to know one 
thing and one thing only: Should he/she bring equipment for a DAY shoot, or for a NIGHT
shoot.  He cannot light "Later", or "Continuous", or "Two Hours Later".  He can only
light for Day or for Night.

Next is a narrative that's called an Opening Narrative.  There has to be one after 
every Slug Line.  It will answer 3 questions for the crew: WHO is in the scene, WHAT 
is going on, and HOW the scene looks.

As you introduce a character, be sure to CAP their name.  The reason is that casting
needs to know, at a glance through the script, how many actors will need to be hired
for this film - and it tells the actor where his role in the film begins.  Cap
the name one time only: the first time they are seen onscreen.

There are only two times you use caps in narrative: when you introduce a new character
and when you (dare to) give a camera direction.  That's all.  Never cap sound.  Not in
a Submission Script.

Character description.  How boring if I'd written: Mrs. Dexter (40) is tall and skinny,
with a mole on her cheek and a slightly crooked left arm.  Her eyes are brown and
her hair is grey.  She wears a housedress with a tear in the sleeve and sturdy shoes.

Oh, come on now.  The Wardrobe Mistress or Master knows darn well how one would dress a
dowdy woman with the look of a self-sacrificing missionary about her.  That's why
they make the big bucks.  Just tell us about the character.

Miss Hicks is the Socal Worker, but she's not a main character so I didn't give her
an age or physical description.  It's immaterial.

Notice that the dialogue has, over it, the name of the character who'll be 
delivering the lines.  That name will go on the CHARACTER'S NAME TAB.  Put it
smack in the center of your page.

All dialogue must have a name over it.

Under the character's name I've given you an example of Dialogue Direction.  In this 
case, Mrs. Dexter is to say the lines directly into the camera.  Do NOT use it to say 
things like (sweetly) or (angrily) unless you're positive the actor will never be able 
to tell from the written word how to deliver the line.

And now the dialogue itself.  Write like people talk.  Don't write "We ought to" 
and "it would be good to do that, Joseph" ... write "we oughta" and "it'd be good 
if we did that, Joseph".

Mrs. Dexter's dialogue is broken by narrative.  When it starts again, (CONT'D) is beside 
her name to simply tell her that she has more dialogue.  

A script page CANNOT end on a Slug Line.
A script page CANNOT end on an open line.

If the character's dialogue is too long to finish on a script page then write the
word (MORE), using the character's name tab (center of the page).  When you continue 
the character's name on the next page it will have (CONT'D)after it.

I didn't cover every aspect of screenwriting, but this will help you get set up properly.

I wish you the best.

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