Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Debate About Format

Each year of the Festival, there are more questions about how to format a script than there are questions about anything else. This is usually because when scripts are published into books and included in textbooks, the printers will condense the text to read like a novel and to save space (which also saves money). The result is a script that looks like this excerpt from our sample play, The Day Jennifer Lou Ellen Mississipp Kerbunkle Changed Her Life by Bernadette Bizer, 2003:

You can click on the script samples for a larger view.

However, when you write a play and submit it to a theatre or contest, the preferred format looks like this:

This last format above is fairly standard with some variety in the way in which descriptive stage directions are formatted. For example, sometimes the stage directions that describe the scene will be indented toward the middle of the page and without parenthesis. This creates a paragraph on the right side of the page. Stage directions that provide specific character action or emotion are still indented once from the left.

However, the preferred format for the NJ Young Playwrights Festival is different from that variation and other theatres or contest might have a slightly different format, too. So, whenever you submit a play to a theatre or a contest, you should always check how they want the play to be arranged. You will find the NJ Young Playwrights Festival preferred format at the website - And never be afraid to contact a theatre with any questions.

Happy writing!

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