When I say magic, I don’t mean black magic. Nah. I mean working concepts which could turn out to be extremely magical, if only you knew how to play by the rules; speaking of which, you might want to take a look at how this special magic works out in movie scripts, like the generally acceptable typeface to use.
There’s nothing you see in a correct movie script that wasn’t premeditatedly placed. The typeface, for example, which always looks like letters and numbers typed from an old type-writer, is generally accepted to be Courier 12″(check that out on your computer). Although, I’d confess here that my Microsoft Word doesn’t have the ancient Courier typeface, but it does have Courier New, and that’s what I use.
Yeah, I write with Microsoft Word, and not with any of these fancy screenwriting software (Final Draft et al). I do use one on my iPad though, for times when I need to write on the go, but that’s by the way.
So, the recommended, and only acceptable typeface in writing movies is Courier. And it must be sized at 12″. Why is this so? I wondered too when I started writing screenplays, because I desperately loved to explore those fancy cursive ones! But guess what? It’s all part of what makes one page equal to one minute.
The space its round body and size consumes is perfect for that kind of timing, and it might interest you to know that before the advent of computers, type-writers were used to write scripts, and this set typeface and size, probably, is what informed the spacing for scene headings, description, dialogue, and stuff that altogether combined to help our one-page/one-minute syndrome.
In other news.
I’d also like to touch on “capitalization, bold, Italics, and underline”. Apart from other ways of using caps in movie scripts (which I will touch on in future posts), one that might interest you is using it when a character is singing the lyrics of a song. You don’t have a character shouting in a movie script, and have it in caps, like how we all do on instant messengers; some people even make use of multiple exclamation marks. LOL!!!). No. The characters have to be singing to have those words in caps in movie scripts.
You might want to ask how you’d know if a character is meant to be shouting. Well, you have parentheticals to indicate that the character shouts. Okay? Parentheticals are those little cues just above the dialogue that says (shouts), or (whispers), and stuff. However, if the character isn’t shouting all through, but has to emphasize a word in his statement (thereby maybe shouting at the point of saying that word), then you have the word underlined.
There are now bold courier typeface usages in scripts: for sluglines, names and transitions. I have had to edit all my scripts to look this way. It so happens to now be a thing in screenwriting that I’ve noticed in recommended script formats lately. Check recent scripts on Simply Scripts.
Isedehi Aigbogun, also known as ISD, is a staunch academic, holding a B.A., M.A., and PhD (in view) in English Language.
She’s a Screenwriter, Screenplay Analyst, Consultant, and Film Scriptic.