Scriptwriting TipsAlways start the script with thefollowing:Location and Time of DayINT = Interior locationEXT = Exterior locationAll descriptions of camerashots and character should bealigned to the right-handmarginTry to be as detailed aspossible with informationabout the characterAll camera shots andmovement should be writtenin CAPITALSAll characters and significantprops/set should also bewritten in CAPTIALSDialogue should be centred onthe page with bracketed stagedirections as to the style ofdelivery (tone of voice,movement of actor)Scriptwriting ExamplesExample 1 – The Usual SuspectsINT. HALLWAY. NIGHTTRACKING a pair of feet in MEDIUM SHOT as they shuffle acrossthe cement floor. The shoes are shabby and worn, as are the wrinkledpants that hang too low and loose at the cuffs. The right foot is turnedslightly inward and falls with a hard limp. It is clear that theknee does not extend fully.The sound of a steel door opening. The bottom corner of a steelcage comes into view. Another set of feet falls into step withthe first. Another set of feet falls into step with the first.Another steel door and another set of feet. Another door, anotherand another. Five pairs of feet walk single file down the hall.The lame feet are in the front of the line. They come to anothersteel door, this one solid and covered with dents and rivets.CRANE UP to reveal: ROGER KINT, ‘VERBAL’ to his few friends. Hehas a deeply lined face, making his thirty-odd years a good guessat best. From his twisted left hand, we can see that he suffersfrom a slight but not debilitating palsy.Example 2 – ClerksINT. BEDROOM. EARLY-MORNING HOURS.A DOG sleeps on a neatly made bed. A CLOCK reads twenty to six.TRACKING across A SHELF OF BOOKS holds such classics as Dante’sInferno, Beyond Good and Evil, The Catcher in the Rye and The Dark KnightReturns. A FRAMED DIPLOMA, dusty and unkempt, hangs askew on thewall. A PHONE sits quietly atop a bundle oflaundry. It suddenly explodes with a resounding ring – once,twice, three times. A CLOSET DOOR swings open, and a half-cladfigure falls out. THE PHONE rings yet again, and a hand fallsupon the receiver, yanking it off the trash can, OC. THE RUMPLEDFIGURE lays with his back to the camera, phone in hand.FIGURE:(groggily)Hello...What?...No, I don’t worktoday...I’m playing hockey at two.
Example 3 – Terminator 2: Judgment DayEXT. CITY STREET - DAYDowntown L.A. Noon on a hot summer day. On an EXTREME LONG LENS thelunchtime crowd stacks up into a wall of humanity. In SLOW MOTIONthey move in herds among the glittering rows of cars jammed bumper tobumper. Heat ripples distort the torrent of faces. The image issurreal, dreamy... and like a dream it begins very slowly toDISSOLVE TO:EXT. CITY RUINS - NIGHTSame spot as the last shot, but now it is a landscape in Hell. Thecars are stopped in rusted rows, still bumper to bumper. Theskyline of buildings beyond has been shattered by someunimaginable force like a row of kicked-down sandcastles.Wind blows through the desolation, keening with the sound of tenmillion dead souls. It scurries the ashes into drifts, starkwhite in the moonlight against the charred rubble.A TITLE CARD FADES IN:LOS ANGELES, July 11, 2029ANGLE ON a heap of fire-blackened human bones. Beyond the mound is avast tundra of skulls and shattered concrete. The rush hour crowdburned down in their tracks.WE DISSOLVE TO a playground... where intense heat has half-melted thejungle gym, the blast has warped the swing set, the merry-go-roundhas sagged in the firestorm. Small skulls look accusingly from theash-drifts. WE HEAR the distant echo of childrens voices... playingand laughing in the sun. A silly, sing-songy rhyme as WE TRACKSSLOWLY over seared asphalt where the faint hieroglyphs of hopscotchlines are still visible.CAMERA comes to rest on a burnt and rusted tricycle... next to thetiny skull of its owner. HOLD ON THIS IMAGE as a female VOICE speaks:VOICE3 billion human lives ended on August 29th, 1997.The survivors of the nuclear fire called the warJudgment Day. They lived only to face a newnightmare, the war against the Machines...A metal foot crushes the skull like china.TILT UP, revealing a humanoid machine holding a massive battle rifle.It looks like a CHROME SKELETON... a high-tech Death figure. It isthe endoskeleton of a Series 800 terminator. Its glowing red eyescompassionlessly sweep the dead terrain, hunting.The SOUNDS of ROARING TURBINES. Searchlights blaze down as aformation of flying HK (Hunter-Killer) patrol machines passesoverhead. PAN WITH THEM toward the jagged horizon, beyond which wesee flashes, and hear the distant thunder of a pitched battle inprogress.