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Monday, September 9, 2013

An Example of Playwriting Format

Greetings everyone, and welcome to Theater is a Sport.  My name is Bobby Keniston, and I am your theater-obsessed host for this blog. 
I am sometimes asked about playwriting format, so I'm going to give an example of the format I use.  I have used this format for every single one of my plays that have been published and picked up, as well as for plays I've entered into contests and had produced.  So, while some might say that my format isn't exactly correct, it is at least working for me so far!  To be honest, I have seen so many different examples of what is supposed to be "correct playwriting format", and all I can say is, each one is at least a tiny bit different from the others.  All I can speak for is what has worked for me, and I hope you find it helpful.

First you, begin with the title page.  The rest of this example will speak for itself.  I recommend using a standard font like Courier or Times New Roman (which is now my preferred font).  Note:  This example starts with the title page, so keep scrolling down to see everything!




PLAYWRITING FORMAT

A short scene

By

Bobby Keniston













Draft: September, 2012





















SCENE 1

SETTING: A high school classroom. Desks, a whiteboard, etc. The teacher’s desk is center stage. Students are D.S.R.


AT RISE: Two students are sitting at desks in the otherwise empty classroom. They are RAY, 17 and somewhat gawky, and STEPHANIE, 17 and very popular. 



RAY
Excuse me…



STEPHANIE
Are you talking to me?


RAY

Yeah. I know we’re supposed to have a quiz on playwriting
format today, and I’ve totally spaced on some of it.


STEPHANIE
(incredulous)
Really?! But it’s so easy!

RAY
Yeah. I think I know some of it…


STEPHANIE

Okay, look: first off, if it’s only necessary to label
the scenes if it is more than one scene. 


RAY
Right…


STEPHANIE
Make sure there are 1-inch margins all around the page.


RAY
Yeah.


STEPHANIE
For each individual scene, you need have the setting,
and what’s going on when “At rise” of the scene. 
Characters names in these directions should be ALL CAPS.
And, you don’t start numbering until the 2nd page. Center
the character’s name, and tab in once for the dialogue

2.


STEPHANIE (CONT’D)

under it. And if someone’s dialogue isn’t finished before
the page break, you write their name and CONT’D in
parentheses on the next page.

(RAY is silent a moment, probably wondering about how stage directions work. STEPHANIE looks at him, and telepathically sends the information that stage directions are written in parentheses in italics, and are separated by a space between dialogue.)


RAY
Thanks for the information. Any specific fonts?


STEPHANIE
Either Courier New or Times New Roman are the preferred
fonts.

RAY
Cool.

STEPHANIE
Any other questions?

RAY
(a little shy)
Well… yeah, actually. Do you want to go out this weekend?

STEPHANIE
(smiling)
Well, gosh… No, I sure wouldn’t.

RAY
Oh.


(There is an awkward pause, and then…)


BLACKOUT


END OF SCENE

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