Lazy Bee Scripts
Formatting Headings

 
Formatting Script Headings
'Most playwrights go wrong on the fifth word. When you start a play and you type 'Act one, scene one,' your writing is every bit as good as Arthur Miller or Eugene O'Neill or anyone. It's that fifth word where amateurs start to go wrong.'
- Meredith Wilson
This page explains the how and why of headings - from a Lazy Bee Scripts perspective.
(Other publishers may want other things.)
 
Overview
  • All scripts have a title
  • Some scripts are divided into acts
  • Some scripts (and some acts) are divided into scenes
  • Thus in principal any script can be described by four layers of hierarchy - the fourth being the text of the script. You should have one format (one Style) for each of these levels and that is enough
  • If you are a competent user of a Word Processor, you will sort out these four layers of hierarchy by using four different Styles, and each time you want to format text according to a particular hierarchical layer, you will just apply that style.
  • If you don't understand the previous point, then the following might help...
The Title
  • This should be a large font, in Title Case (hence the name), not in UPPER CASE.  (In exceptional cases, we put titles into capitals, but these are really rare exceptions.)
  • We will centre-justify the title.  If you don't know how to do that (without using the space bar or tab key), then leave it to us
  • The Act heading is generally just "Act 1", etc. (Though, in some cases, this may be followed by a descriptor.)
  • Use a large font (but smaller than the Title font), in Title Case.
  • We will left-justify the Act heading (so doing anything else would be a waste of your time.)
  • Use ordinary numbers, not Roman numerals
    (We do occasionally use Roman numerals, but we reserve them for scripts about Ancient Rome!)
  • Format consistently. Don't use "Act One", then "Act 2". If you use a descriptor after the Act number, then use the same separator - preferably a space-dash-space construction in each instance.
  • Don't use tabs within a heading - because if we change the font size, we may distort the spacing
  • If you use a descriptor, keep it short. A heading should fit on a single line.
  • If your play is structurally in one act, you don't need an "Act 1" heading.
    (The heading "Act 1" is only necessary in a play that has an Act 2.)
Scene
  • The Scene heading may be just "Scene 1", etc., however frequently this will be followed by a short descriptor (usually time and/or place).
  • Use a large font (but smaller than the Act font), in Title Case.
  • We will left-justify the Scene heading (so doing anything else would be a waste of your time.)
  • Use ordinary numbers, not Roman numerals
  • Format consistently. Don't use "Scene 1", then "Scene Two".
  • If you use a descriptor after the Scene number, then use the same separator - preferably a space-dash-space construction in each instance.
  • Don't use tabs within a heading - because if we change the font size, we may distort the spacing
  • If you use a descriptor, keep it short. A heading should fit on a single line.  If you want to include more information than will fit in a single line, the chances are that you are spilling over into a scene-setting direction - in which case put in a shorter scene heading and, on a new line, a scene-setting direction, formatted as a direction.
Example
The following example shows
- Title
- Act Heading
- Scene heading
- Scene-Setting Direction
 
Setting an Example
Act 1
Scene 1 - The Drawing Room, Evening
(The drawing room of Settingsby Manor.  Downstage: comfy chairs; upstage: a well-stocked drinks cabinet.  Heavy curtains are drawn across French windows.)
 

See also
The Lazy Bee Scripts House Style
First Page
Directions
 

 
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