Last week, a friend gave me screenplay that looked like this:
No—my friend’s name isn’t actually George Washington. I’ve changed the name because I didn’t want to TOTALLY EMBARRASS him for his ridiculous title page.
Yes—it is ridiculous.
At least by the standards of Hollywood. And let’s face it—if you want to sell a screenplay in Hollywood, the standards of Hollywood matter.
Screenplay title pages have a SCRIPT FORMAT that you must follow. Title pages are NOT the place to express your creativity or to GRAB attention with a clever layout. Title pages that break the mold and detour from the Hollywood standard don’t look innovative or exciting—they look amateurish. The only thing worse than submitting a script with a lousy first page is submitting a script where no one even gets to the first page. And trust me—a title page like the one above is a glaring billboard that says just one thing: This writer does not know screenplay format, and therefore probably can’t WRITE either…
The good news is that getting your title format RIGHT is super duper EASY.
Here’s whatcha do:
1.The most important part of any title page is the TITLE. Your title is the ONLY creative decision you need to make on the title page. Your title should be written 12-point Courier (or Courier Final Draft) font in ALL-CAPS, and centered on the page approximately 18-20 spaces down from the header.
2. After the title, move down TWO SPACES and write the word “by” centered in lower case 12-point Courier.
3. After the by-line, move down one or two more spaces (your choice!) and write your name, with the first letter of each name in CAPS, in 12-point Courier. If you are CO-WRITING your script with someone else, use an ampersand symbol between your names (&), like “John Smith & Jane Johnson”–but do not use the word “and.” The word “and” between author names suggests a hierarchical ownership of the material. A name-line that reads “John Smith and Jane Johnson” means that John Smith is the primary writer, and Jane Johnson is a secondary writer.
So far, your title page should look like this:
4. If your screenplay is going to be sent out by a manager or an agent, your work is done! Your representatives will add their own title page and contact info to the script, along with a WGA number or copyright number if necessary. If you will be submitting your script to contests or producers on your own, however, the following steps are important:
5. In the bottom, left-hand corner of your title page, type your Name, Address, Phone Number and E-Mail Address in five single-spaced flush-left lines, like so:
11611 Forest Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
Flush-right, on the same line of the page as your e-mail address, write your WGA registration number, like so:
[email protected] WGAw #6374920
A completed title page, then, might look like this:
6. If you’ve only written ONE DRAFT of your script, or this is the FIRST DRAFT that you are showing to anyone, your title page is now complete. However, if you plan to complete rewrites in the future, or are developing your script with a production company, you should add a DRAFT DATE line flush-right on the same line as the name above your address, like so:
Jane Johnson DRAFT: January 1, 2009
**Don’t add this date line if you don’t have to, however. Scripts are often passed on, or may spend months on a shelf before being read. In the future, a date-line may make your script appear DATED, and prevent people from reading it even if there doesn’t exist a more recently updated draft.**
7. Finally, if you are RE-WRITING someone else’s script (which often happens in Hollywood), you must add a REVISION-BY line. This line should be centered on the page approximately 6-8 lines down from the primary-author’s line. Like everything else, it should be written in 12-point Courier font, with a capital “R” in the word revision, like so:
Underneath, center the NAME of the revision writer, add a comma, then type the DATE of this revision, like so:
Michael MacMichael, 2/4/09
8. If there are numerous revision writers, the MOST RECENT revision writer’s name and date of revision should be typed on the top of this list, and everyone else’s name and date should be listed underneath, like:
Michael MacMichael, 2/4/09
Sarah Danials, 8/15/08
Jimmy Twitter, 12/1/07
So, a script that has been rewritten many times, but is being submitted BY A REPRESENTATIVE, might look like this: