This is the final post in a three part series on writing scripts for theatre. In part one, 'Setting the Stage' I talked about key points to consider before even starting to write. In part two, 'Actually Writing' I lay out some basic ground rules for writing. In this part we will look at how to format our play and I offer some options for submission. Read on!
- Scripts should be typed in a simple font like Times New Roman at size 12. Some publishers want double-spacing, but most accept 1 or 1.5 spacing as long as there is an extra space between separate characters’ dialogue. (Double return)
- The character name comes before their dialogue. (Do not use quotation marks.) Make the character name stand apart from the dialogue: ALL CAPS, bold or BOTH.
- all stage directions, including entrances and exits, need to be set apart from the dialogue. Some publishers prefer parenthesis, others use < > around the directions. Generally speaking, stage directions should be italicized. Song titles are treated like other stage directions. The song lyrics themselves are usually found on a separate page at the front or back of the play.
- Page numbers begin with the body of the play, NOT on the cast page or any other pages.
Other pages may include:
- Title page - Scene/Acts headings page (optional)
- Cast list - Musical numbers page (for musicals)
- Props list - Production notes
- Original cast list (optional)
ACT ONE Scene One
Alice discovered at rise, sitting centre stage.
ALICE: Where am I?
HATTER: Why, you’re in Wonderland of course! Here, let me help you. (helps Alice to her feet)
- Who are you submitting to?
- Small professional theatre companies usually prefer small casts.
- Schools often like larger casts with potential for extras (More females than males.)
- Follow the basic formatting principles already discussed, but make sure you check each individual company’s (publisher’s) guidelines.
Play Submission Helper: submit plays to their database if you are looking for someone to produce your play. (I have never used it but it might be something to look into)
a constantly updated list of plays and publishers. This is an awesome resource. http://www.doollee.com/
TreePress – self proclaimed ‘online marketplace’ for plays. You can submit plays into their database. Sort of a ‘self publisher’ for plays where they act as a distribution channel. https://www.treepress.org/
PLAY PUBLISHERS *(not a complete list)
Other posts in this series: