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Format Question (1 Viewer)


Bert Ward

Question, please.
Being new to radio/screenplay writing format, I’m a little confused. (Just a little?) :)

I’ve read a few plays on this forum and see the dialog directly after the name.

Joe: I can’t believe she ate the whole thing!

Jim: Yup. And she ate the bones, too.

Before I started, I collected a few scripts off the net and had a friend send me an old Jake and the Fat Man & Dragnet script. They’re all like this:

I can’t believe she ate the whole thing!

Yup. And she ate the bones, too.

So beginner’s question, if I may.
Are both formats right?

Bert Ward

Okay, I got it. did a little research.

If it’s a Screenplay, it’s format is centered.

If it’s a Stage or Radio play, it’s indented left.

But they're both like this:

She ate the bones, ay?

Where the dialog is beneath the name.

I have no idea why the two formats.


Senior Member
no, they're not... screenplays have no colon after the character's name and the name is in all-caps... you may be reading transcriptions, and not real scripts...

stage, TV, and radio scripts are not all the same, either... theater scripts, for instance, vary from playwright to playwright, as there is not an industry standard, such as exists in film...

and TV sitcoms/series are not formatted the same way as movies/pilots for tv...

you can email me for info and format guide, plus help if you need it...

love and hugs, maia
[email protected]
If you have difficulty with format may i recommend a book.

Standard Script formats - Part1 (screenplay)


It really helped with my formating.

If your format is bad your script will doubtfully be even looked at so it's one of THE most important parts of script writing.

Good luck!


Senior Member
sorry, but i mentor many aspiring screenwriters, and would never recommend the cole & haag book... it was written in '83 [and merely reissued later] and wasn't all that accurate then...

the best, easiest to follow how-tos are [from my 'tools of the trade' list]:
'elements of style for screenwriting' by paul argentini
yellow cover, paperback, $11.95 us
shows exactly how to use all script elements in the way the industry demands they be written

'the screenwriter's workbook' by syd fields
white cover, paperback, $13.95 us
publisher: dell trade paperback
many how-to's around, but his is easy-to-get blueprint for a professional script…

‘the screenwriter’s bible’ by david trottier
dk blue w/lime title cover, script-sized paperback, $19.95 us
publisher: silman james
[2004 update: 3rd ed. of trottier’s ‘bible’ IS The Bible!... if you can only afford one book, get this!]

‘SCREENPLAY: WRITING THE PICTURE’ by Robin U. Russin and William Missouri Downs
publisher: harcourt
$22 at thewritersstore.com and $12-up used, at amazon
highly recommended by a fellow mentor who’s a full time working screenwriter… said to be as good as 'the bible' above...
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