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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

From the Mailbag

Dear Mistress of the Cupcakes:

According to The Screenwriter's Bible, Scene Headings and Action Lines start 1.5 inches from the left edge of the page. Character Cues, Dialogue, and Parenthesis start at 3.7, 2.5, and 3.1 respectively. All these numbers are adjustable in Final Draft. So my question is: What are the correct Indentations for Transitions and Shots? Trottier's book doesn't say anything about these two. I've looked online too but the sources don't say too much. To see exactly what I'm talking about, open Final Draft, then go to the top where it says Format, then Elements, then click the Paragraph tab. This alone is one of the greatest features a screenwriting program can have.
-Wide Margin in Wisconsin

Dear Wide:

I asked my colleague Andrew Zinnes Master of the Donuts, to answer your question so here goes:

Shots begin at the same point as scene headings. And they are always in CAPITAL LETTERS. Transitions (like CUT TO:) start at the far right page margin and work back towards the center. I believe this margin is 7.5 inches in from the left (or 1 inch from the right edge of the paper).

But the real question is: what are you doing that you are monkeying around with these settings in Final Draft? The only answer that seems to make sense to me is that you are trying to create your own template in Word or Pages. I guess if you cannot afford FD that would be a way to go, but I would be interested to know what other little quirks or limitations pop up since Word isn't specifically designed for the screenwriting process and therefore automatically conforms to the industry format standard. If this is not the case, then I would strongly suggest you leave everything be - you're only asking for technological nightmares that will probably crush your creativity and keep you from writing.

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Luzid said...

Actually, the *real* real question is, why is a spec writer even worrying about where shots go?

Spec scripts should not contain *shooting script* direction!

Christina said...

Off topic: I love Randy's Donuts.

Julie Gray said...

Christina - right?! Who isn't! Any business with a giant donut on their roof gets my vote. Every time.