If there’s one thing that seems to put off prospective scriptwriters more than anything else it’s not knowing how to correctly format a script. There are basically two ways to do this. Either buy a piece of scriptwriting software which does the bulk of the work for you (I recommend Final Draft) or you learn how to do it yourself and use a typewriter or programme like Microsoft Word.
If a Hollywood executive comes across a script with poor formatting then he will instantly dismiss it as the work of an amateur and not bother reading it. The script could be a sure fire box office smash but without correct format it will probably never even be read.
The script that you are trying to sell is known as a spec script. This is because it’s written under the speculation it will be optioned later. At this stage it is important to avoid adding camera angles, editing directions, or anything technical unless absolutely necessary. You might have read a Tarantino or Kubrick script littered with these but that’s because they are writer/directors. If you’re selling your first script it is a lot easier to do purely as a scriptwriter rather than writer/director. Production companies are a lot more likely to take a risk on an unknown writer than an unknown writer-director.
Formatting Scene Headings (Includes montages and flashbacks)
Formatting Electronic Dialogue (Television, radio, telephone, computers)