Subheader, Transition, Action, Parenthetical, Capitalize Action, Screen Directions, Camera Directions/Angles. I might need help.
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What are you saying, that you don't know how to format a screenplay?
Avoid transitions. Use parentheticals sparingly; never for action, never capitalize action, screen directions go in the action block, never use camera directions/angles.
Pick up a copy of the Hollywood Standard by Chris Riley. I think it's now volume 2. All your questions will be answered there. Amazon, The Writers Store... 20-25 bucks.
Or read a stack of screenplays.
Bill, why haven't you done a formatting Blue Book?
Do not capitalize action. Perhaps a single word or a few words if it's an impact point like 'BANG! He shoots him.' or 'the coupe SLAMS headlong into the guardrail.' Don't give camera angles. You don't even need transitions like CUT TO. Minimal parentheticals (you're not the director or the actor).
You'll right. I do need to read and study
You need to write. Write everyday.
William Martell has nailed it. But read screenplays in "draft" versions, not shooting scripts (you can spot shooting scripts by the shot numbers running down the left margin). Drafts are much closer to what screenwriters actually wrote before directors got their fingers all over the pages. Here's one of the better sites for downloading scripts and one that lets you know what version of the script they have (http://www.simplyscripts.com). And then get some kind of screenwriting software. These formatting programs will take care of nearly all your questions above. If you're not sure yet if you have that visual storytelling gene required for screenwriting, try a free or at least inexpensive program like Celtx. When you know you're serious about this, get Final Draft or one of its competitors. In the meantime, download a draft screenplay of a film you've liked in a genre you think you'd like to write, and start writing every day using that draft screenplay as a formatting guide. Get at least 10 pages done in format and you'll have a fairly good idea if this business is for you.
Make this site your HOME PAGE!!!!! You have gotten a ton of awesome advice already but, remember, you need to find what works for you. I started my passion for writing about 4 years ago and, I found that reading screenplays did help, but not always. You have to keep in mind that those who have made it, certain rules do not apply. Invest in David Trottier's book as Lisa mentioned, it is a gold mine, in my opinion. Also, if you want, read my short screenplay that sold in 2013 on my website, as a new writer myself this type of example would have saved me a lot of time and money concerning format and the mechanics of what is acceptable within a spec script. You can find the site on the link button in my profile. Another thing, as a writer that is starting out, I would suggest that when your script is finished that you peruse what the Happy Writer has to offer. Andrew, this is a learning process; it takes grit and determination along with a talent to tell a great story, it is not for the weak or thin skinned. There is a lot we as new writers have to juggle when learning, so don't get discouraged. If this is what you really want to do, do it, but don't give up your day job, yet. ;-) Write on, and see you around the "Stage."
If you have problem with all of those things, then you need to do your homework before you start to write.
But don't let that stop you. Writers do this all the time, and once you start letting that get into your way, you're delaying/stopping the writing process. Write the script, get the first draft, that comes first. You can worry about cleaning it up later. Feel free to message me with any other questions :)
Does the draft have to make sense?
Yes, the draft / story has to make sense. You wouldn't be interested in sitting in a cinema watching something that doesn't make sense, would you?
Yes of course it has to make sense, but all I was suggesting is that you get your story down FIRST before you worry about all the rest. Even if you write it first in treatment form and adapt to a screenplay next, it might help. I have worked with many new writers, and have stepped in to clean up/format their scripts. Message me if you need more help.
Thank You Crystal
Hello Andrew. I suggest you read Syd Field, The Writer's Journey, and the Screenwriter's Bible. The Screenwriter's Bible gives you a step-by-step plan on how to format and write your script. I'd start there first, before I'd do any writing.
Richard is right about reading drafts only -- at least in the beginning until you understand screenplay structure. Read screenplays every day.
Find SPs in the genre of yours and see how the writer crafted descriptions for emotion, tension, drama, etc.. It's known as doing your homework..