Arts & Culture

Last updated: 27 april, 2012 - 13:57 GMT

International Playwriting Competition 2012: Script format

Setting out a script in a good format makes it easier for an actor - and anyone else - to read. However, what matters most is that what you do is laid out clearly and is easy to read.

• Each new scene should go on a new page
• Dialogue should not be split across pages
• Make sure the script has page numbers (top and bottom) with page one beginning with Scene 1 (not the title page)
• It's useful to have the play title and author at the top of each page
• If sending by post, please make sure the pages are attached together

Useful abbreviations

SFX - Sound effects
INT - Interior
EXT - Exterior
b/g - Background

Script example

SCENE 1: INT. THE OFFICE. MORNING

(write a new scene for each new location and/or different time. As above)

TECHNICAL DIRECTION SHOULD BE USED SPARINGLY AND
WORK WITH THE DIALOGUE. IT CAN BE TYPED LIKE THIS.
EXAMPLE: CHARACTER RUNS IN

SFX: put any sound effects for your play like this. Example: Cogs whirring.

CHARACTER: Character names appear in capitals with a colon on the left. The name must stay the same throughout the script.

ANOTHER: The dialogue goes here. It should be indented, to make it clear who is speaking. Use a large enough font - size 13 is good - and space the lines at 1.5.

SFX: put any more Sound Effects like this. Example: cogs whirring louder

CHARACTER: (BEAT) Actor instructions appear in capitals
enclosed within round brackets in the dialogue. (PAUSE) It is
recommended that these are used sparingly!

ANOTHER: (OFF) Indicates that the actor should speak away from the
microphone. The audio equivalent of "off-screen".

CHARACTER: (V.O.) Voiceover indicates a character who is narrating over
sound, music or dialogue.

MUSIC IS GENERALLY ONLY INDICATED WHEN IT IS A CUE FOR THE ACTORS OR IS A DEVICE BETWEEN SCENES.

FADE

Browse through the click BBC Writer's Room script library to see examples of actual radio drama scripts.

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