Script Format Question

I want to use Scrivener to write spec scripts. Probably 1 hr or 2 hr drama scripts. Which script format within Scrivener would be best for me to use?

I have the extras installed.

Thank you in advance.

Blessings, Stacey

I’d use the standard screenplay format. Hour TV dramas have all kinds of little quirks and oddities, but spec scripts should be in regular, standard format (“Screenplay” in Scrivener). Final Draft gives you templates for a bunch of shows, but that’s not a good option in my experience (I was a reader for a talent agency for about 6 months). There are two reasons for this:

  1. Specific show formats are sometimes a little bit confusing at first. Not like “Huh? Wha?” confusing, but you really don’t want a reader to have ANY reason not to read on. And since you’re not going to submit a spec to the show you’re writing the script for,** your reader will not be familiar with the little quirks of that specific show anyway, so there’s no need to do it.

  2. The Final Draft templates are interesting and all, but sometimes when you’re reading a “show-correct” formatted spec, you catch a whiff of fan fiction. That may be unfair, but that’s the way it is.

Keep it simple, and read as many scripts as you can get your hands on. I always suggest Googling “screenplay .pdf”, and you’ll find a wealth of useable material. Read the pdf scripts, not transcipts or html formatted ones, because that doesn’t really help.

**As a rule, you don’t write a spec for a show you want to write for, because agents tend not to send those scripts to those shows. There are some legal reasons – the “hey, they stole my idea” thing. But really it’s because you don’t want a reader who is too close to the material. If you have a good idea they’re not going to appreciate it because it’s a good idea they can’t use – they don’t want to rip you off (in theory). And if you make a mistake with a character, they’re going to notice.

Thanks for the advice!

Blessings, Stacey