6 Tips for Typing Screenplays in Final Draft

how-to-write-a-scriptFinally, you have completed the rough draft of your screenplay and you are ready to send it off to would-be producers and directors. You need to format it, clean it up, make it look professional. You can do this with Final Draft Software. But knowing how to write a script in Final Draft takes a little know-how and technical prowess. Here are a few helpful tips.

100 Templates

If you are new to writing scripts, using one of the dozens of templates available will save you time. There are script options as specific as Screenplay formats for Warner Brothers, to screenplays in French or German, graphic novels, and regular text documents.


Yes, believe it or not, you can use the text-to-speech function in Final Draft to catch mistakes that you normally would miss just by glancing at a page. This is not going to be an Oscar-worthy reading. If anything, the computerized voices will effectively dampen any emotion or drama that you had in your script. However, this function will catch little mistakes in sentence structure, repeated words, and other issues that may not pop up normally. Additionally, Final Draft for Mac also has a Dictation function, allowing you a fully hands-free writing experience.

The Power of the Elements

Newbies to Final Draft often find scrolling up and down, up and down, and up and down again a bit annoying. However, the element pop-up menu can minimize the unnecessary scrolling. Hitting return twice brings up this helpful tool. Knowing how to write a screenplay with this tool will save you some unnecessary hassle.


Do you like marking up scripts with pen? Need to remember something really, really important for later? Then you can use the Scriptnotes function. This gives you hideable notes where you can comment and upload script sections. It only takes a few clicks to hide and show the Scriptnotes. The newest version of Final Draft allows you to print out the notes.

Formatting Assistant

The Formatting Assistant formats and paginates your script. The formatting is up to current industry standards. The Formatting Assistant lets you know if you have made any errors and provides suggestions for fixing major problems.


The newer version of Final Draft has collaboration features that allow you to work with a partner remotely. Writers can update the script in real time using the software. With more and more collaborations taking place remotely over long distances, this may be one of the best features of Final Draft to date.

A Filmmaker’s Guide to Perfectly Formatted Short Film Scripts

short-film-scriptsYou have been writing your screenplay for several months, or years. Finally, you will have a chance to pitch your idea for an engaging love story between a cricket named Walt and a rambunctious but endearing alien named Sue. But before any writer can send out their masterpiece, they have to format. How to format short film scripts? Here is a simple guide to start you on your journey to filmmaking legend.

The Basics

Before you even start to worry about page margins and fonts, make sure that your screenplay is good. And I don’t mean good enough for your mom and grandma to enjoy when they can’t load Netflix. It needs to be good, with a clear and compelling story, believable characters, and a plot that makes sense. Even in a short film there is a very clear story presented, with a beginning, middle, and end. If you aren’t sure about the quality of your screenplay, take it to a local writer’s group or share it with some of your filmmaker friends. Then listen to their honest feedback.


There are many different international standards for screenplays. Here we will go with the formatting expected for big studio films in North America. However, if you plan on pitching your screenplay overseas, be sure to find out if they have different guidelines. Short film scripts, just like big name blockbuster Hollywood type scripts, needs to be written with Courier Font 12 point. Why? The length of your film is often determined by the length of the script, when it is properly formatted. Roughly one page of your script is equal to one minute of screen time. It’s not an exact science, but that is just one reason why the correct font is necessary.

The top margin needs to be one inch (2.5 cm). Both the right and bottom margins can be roughly the same with minimal leeway. Because you need space for binding, the left margin should be around 1.5 inches (or about 3.8 cm). And guess what two words need to start out your short film, always? FADE IN. This needs to be in upper case, flush left. Add a colon then go to the next line.


Your short film scene heading will be flush left, as well, in caps. Use EXT (exterior) and INT (interior) for each scene, as well as indicated DAY or NIGHT. For example, INT. FRED’S BUTCHER SHOP – NIGHT. Then begin with your action and dialog. Action will describe what the audience will see and hear. Dialog is what the characters say. The dialog is centered while the action is left justified.

Keep the action and dialog crisp and short. This is not a novel. This is a short film screenplay. You want to write exactly what the audience will experience with their senses, not what is going on in the head of the character, unless you can show them. For example, if a character is angry, he or she might throw a cup of coffee against a wall or yell at their students.

Other Important Terms

You might need to have a character yell from a bedroom off-screen or off-camera. This is abbreviated with “O.S.” A voice-over is indicated with “V.O.” Transitions like “DISSOLVE” are often avoided but you can add them in your script. Know the difference between s “spec script” and the “shooting script”. Most writers are working on a spec script. This script does not have camera actions added. It is simple, without additional details and direction. The shooting script is the script actually used in production. This may have additional camera cues and editing directions. There are many available books to help you with your short film script or you can hire a professional script service to get you on your way.


The Importance of Post Production Transcription for Filmmakers

film scriptsIf there’s one lesson new filmmakers learn in a hurry it’s this: you can never have enough information about your project. When engaged in post-production filmmakers need to know who says what, when they say it, what the scene is, whether that scene calls for any special effects and so on. Editing itself is extremely time consuming, especially if you have to keep guessing exactly what each actor says in each take. Post production transcription is the ideal way to cut through the clutter and keep your production on schedule.

Make the Most of Your Film Script: Toronto Post Production Transcription

Sifting through mountains of takes during the editing process can be migraine inducing. But it doesn’t have to be if you use post production transcription from Flaming Fingers. Here are some of the ways post production transcription can benefit your TV or film script in Toronto.

  • Finding the right take – Often times directors will call for a dozen or more takes of a certain shot. Buried in all that footage is the one take they thought hit the nail on the head. If all takes are transcribed then finding that one take is just a matter of doing a keyword search. Without transcription you need to sift through every take to find what you’re looking for.
  • Producing captions – Most productions aimed at a wide audience will need captions. These are typically in the native language of the film and are intended to help the hearing impaired. Captioning from the film itself is an arduous, labour intensive process. By comparison transcriptions make the process of captioning a cost-effective walk in the park.
  • Translating the film – Creating foreign language subtitles for your project is another expensive, time consuming process if you’re working directly from the film itself. The translators have to keep listening to the scene over and over again to make sure they heard things correctly so that the subtitles are accurate. When the translators work from transcriptions the whole process is much faster and cheaper.
  • Cutting the final product down to size – Even after you have what you believe to be the perfect film or TV show chances are the studio, theatres or TV stations will ask that the project be further cut to accommodate their projected time slots. The timecodes in the transcription allow you to easily find those pieces of the project that can be sacrificed without the final product suffering.

Don’t Settle for Less

Post production transcription will help you keep your film or TV project on schedule and within budget. There are few other things you will find yourself relying on as much as the transcriptions when crunch time approaches. Make sure you have the best, most complete, most accurate transcriptions possible by hiring the company more GTA film and video production houses trust over any other for their transcription services: Flaming Fingers. We help you get the most of your film script in Toronto, or wherever your production is based.

What to Ask When Looking to Get a Film Script Transcribed

film script Getting a film script transcribed has many benefits, especially in post-production. It speeds up the process of translating the film and makes adding subtitles much easier and quicker. Seeing that there are roughly 20,000 words in a film, getting it transcribed could turn into a lengthy process. Which is why you need to make sure it is done right the first time. Here are a few tips on how to ensure you get what you need when you have your film script transcribed.

  1. Ask for details

Based on what you are planning to use the transcript for, be clear as to what details you need to be in the transcription. Here are some details you might need:

  • Nonverbal Communication

This includes anything from crying, laughing, sighing, body language and so on.

  • Music and background noise

This might not be important for the purposes you want to use the transcription, but if it is, indicate it to your film script transcriptionist. This also goes for sound effects, silence, pauses and filler words (e.g. uhm).

  • Clarify the dialect

A lot of thought goes into the creation of a character. The smallest detail of each character is planned to help convey the meaning of the film. Therefore, it is important that you ask the transcriber to pay careful attention to the dialect the characters use. For example “coz” instead of “because” and so on.

When asking for detail you need to ask the transcription company you are using to provide you with a key on which symbols or characters indicate what type of information. To make sure you and the transcriber are on the same page with regards to what you need, discuss how you will use the transcript.

  1. Get a timeframe

Although this might seem obvious, it is very important to get this before the process starts. As mentioned already, the process of film script transcription could take a while and you will need to know when you can expect the finished product. Also, ask how many drafts and rounds of editing and proofreading you can expect.

  1. Ask about the process

Many transcribing companies believe that computer transcribing technology is easier and quicker. However, we found that this slows down the process because it lengthens the proofreading process. We, therefore recommend you ask for human transcriptions or if you would like to give technology the benefit of the doubt, always ask for raw samples of previous work.

  1. Confidentiality

Although this has nothing to do with the transcription itself, it is a very important aspect of the process. In many cases, a film script transcription happens before the movie premiere, which is why it is crucial to ensure that the script is not leaked.  Make sure the consequences for leaked information are very clear in the contract.

Film Script Transcriptions by Flaming Fingers

We realise the importance of getting a film script transcribed and also the importance of getting it done quickly and accurately. With years of experience in the industry, we are able to work with you to serve your film script transcription needs and provide quality services.