As a newbie…
I always noticed the uniform format in which hard copies of scripts appeared. A script looks like a book from the olden days: flipping through, you’d notice the print in that ancient courier typeface, like an ancient letter. It’s bound with a kind of metallic substance called brass. And has a traditional, non-fancy title page of nothing but varying courier sizes, spacings, and alignments. There’s always a warning that If it doesn’t appear this way, your copy will be queued for shredding without anyone even taking a look at the treasures within.
Fast-forward to the first time…
I printed out my first ever script. Sad. So unlike what I’d seen in the international film industry. Being used to the various print-outs I had done while studying in the university, I believed I had the answer with my “business centre” A4 printers and spiral binding. On each page of my hard copy, there seemed to be so much white space. Much more white space than recommended. Yes, the professional readers want to see some white space, but even mine made me cringe. I went searching for those proper hard copies (well, soft copies, but scanned or photographed hard copies which is more or less a hard copy sample, right?) and made a comparison, but they only looked like my soft copies, and not my hard copies.
Turns out, screenplay edges are 8.5″ x 11″, and when you select your print lay-out, there is an option to choose what dimensions you want to print in. Each set of dimensions have different names; an assortment of layouts that include Letter and A4.
Letter has the dimensions of 8.5″ x 11″ (same for screenplays)
A4 is 8.27″ x 11.69″
This invariably means we should print our screenplays in Letter. So, there is a paper called Letter?! Well, thank God Microsoft Word is on Letter by default, who knows the extra trouble I would have gone through, trying to sort that out too on my own —and I love to do things on my own.
Now, imagine the extra white space I’m talking about, having printed my screenplay in A4. The sight of it really bothered me. This is because, apart from sending out your scripts online, you are sometimes required to send hard copies. You don’t want to send an A4 printout, not to talk of that spiral binding. Certainly hate at first sight to the readers. Another issue was that brass, where in Nigeria will I see this specific brass the international professionals want?!
To cut a long technical story short, i thankfully was able to find an online company in the United States who would receive my PDF copy and do the printing and binding for me exactly how the professionals want it, and have it delivered to them. Hallelujah, that sorts out a lot!
On a lighter note…
I hope this inspires you in whatever you’re struggling with. Don’t think too much, don’t fret. As long as it’s something that has been done before, there’s always a solution waiting for you to discover it.