Be absolutely certain your script meets these criteria before submitting it to anyone for consideration (or for coaching):
- INCLUDE THE TITLE, YOUR NAME and PAGE NUMBERS on all scripts, outlines, and anything else you submit.
- Write only the title, your name, and your (or your agent’s) address and phone number on the TITLE PAGE of your screenplay – no date, copyright or WGA registration information.
- USE FORMATTING SOFTWARE such as Movie Magic Screenwriter or Final Draft to make certain all margins, spacing and capitalization are correct.
- OMIT ALL SHOOTING SCRIPT DEVICES, such as scene numbers, sound effects written in upper case, or the word “continued” at the top or bottom of each page.
- Make no mention of the CREDIT SEQUENCE or the MUSICAL SCORE.
- BEGIN EVERY SCENE WITH ACTION AND DESCRIPTION – never dialogue.
- USE COMPLETE SENTENCES (with rare exceptions for emphasis or dialogue).
- INTRODUCE ONLY ONE NEW CHARACTER per paragraph.
- USE VISIBLE DESCRIPTION – no background information, personality traits, or anything else the audience won’t see on the screen at that moment. (*** This is the most frequently violated rule on this entire list.)
- PUT CHARACTERS IN THE ACTION of any scene before you give them dialogue.
- OMIT PARENTHETICAL DIRECTIONS to the actors.
- CREATE A NEW SCENE – with a NEW SCENE HEADING – every time the action changes location or jumps ahead in time.
- LIMIT THE LENGTH of your feature film script to 119 pages (110 pages is ideal).
- PROOFREAD your work, correcting all spelling, grammar and punctuation errors.
- REGISTER AND COPYRIGHT your script before you show it to anybody.
*Click this link to download a copy of Michael’s 15 RULES FOR SCRIPT PRESENTATION