After the organic writing process of creating the script, it’s time to reformat the script in preparation for the shoot. Make the script what it is: a road map for making a film production.

What if the action moves from one room to another within a scene?

If the plan is for the set of rooms to be open concept, then one scene label in the script is fine; however, typically you need to breakdown the scene into several, labelling each scene separately, i.e. Int – Living Room – Day; and then Int – Dining Room – Day; and finally Int – Kitchen – Day… giving each one a different scene number. Even if the plan is to shoot a long take, moving the camera from room to room without cutting, it may be worth breaking down the scenes separately. Best to discuss the shooting plan with the 1st AD and Director in order to prepare the script appropriately.

What if there is more than one descriptive name for a location?

Sometimes you’ll see the same location described in a variety of ways: Int – Living Room – Day; and then Int – John’s Living Room – Day;  and then Int – House – Day;  and even with slight spelling differences like: Int – Livingroom – Day. Script formatting software is picky about how you name things, and presumes if you make a slight spelling difference to a script location, then you expect to shoot each one in a different set location. In this case, the software would expect you to shoot in 4 locations instead of 1. Do one complete pass of the script combing through the script as you are numbering the scenes for the first time to check for these script location references with multiple names and spellings and fix them. Your focus on this one (very common) error will be time well-spent.

Since the script is a interim product – and not a final product (like a book is) – don’t worry about changing the formatting for the shoot. The goal is to capture the writer’s intention… and to do that, you need a good road map.

Cheers & happy script formatting to you,