A Twitter conversation on script formats and numbered dialogue

Since a bunch of people jumped in, I thought I’d transcribe this late night round table discussion for writers, artists, and those who are curious about such things:

JoshFialkov Got sent a bunch of comic scripts by an editor, and none of them are in the screenplay format I’ve used for years. Am I doing it wrong?

bclaymoore @JoshFialkov I don’t think there is a right or wrong, but a screenplay format has always struck me as unnecessarily complicated.

JoshFialkov @bclaymoore really? With either FInal Draft or Scrivener, it does all the formatting for you. Vs. Doing your own tabs, etc.

JoshFialkov And for those curious, I use a slight variation of the amazing (and free) template made by @antonyjohnston (whom you should follow.)

bclaymoore @JoshFialkov I’ve written screenplays in Final Draft, but what I use for comics just seems to read more easily, to my eyes. Very basic stuff

nickspencer @bclaymoore yeah, I’ll never understand this. I keep my format as simple as I can possibly get away with.

bclaymoore @JoshFialkov I also don’t number dialogue (does anyone now?) and I don’t type dialogue in ALL CAPS.

ChrisSamnee @bclaymoore @JoshFialkov Format doesn’t make much difference to me on the art end but scripts with un-numbered dialog are a pain in my ass.

ChrisSamnee @bclaymoore @JoshFialkov Numbered dialogue is a quick and easy shorthand for your artist to refer to when thumbnailing and pencilling…

ChrisSamnee @bclaymoore @JoshFialkov And it’s also a big help to your editor who, more than likely, is handling the balloon placement.

ivanbrandon @ChrisSamnee i’ve never numbered my dialogue. like 2 years into working at DC i found out they do it on their end.

ivanbrandon @ChrisSamnee i have no idea how to do it. you’d think someone would say something.

andeparks That stupid @jasonaaron told me to number my dialogue once. I did so, and @brubaker wept and told me I was fired. Traumatic.

ChrisSamnee @ivanbrandon Not before it’s sent to the artist… First thing I do when I get a new script is go in and number all the balloons.

JoshFialkov @bclaymoore all of these have numbered dialogue. Letterers out there, does it actually help at all?

JoshFialkov @ivanbrandon @ChrisSamnee I was assuming they’d fill me in when I hit ten years in the industry.

ivanbrandon @ChrisSamnee yeah, dunno, i saw someone doing it. she said: do you number your dialogue? i said: i don’t even think i know what that means.

jerwa @ChrisSamnee @ivanbrandon The guy sitting right here who has always numbered his dialogue suddenly feels overworked. 😉

ChrisSamnee @jerwa If you were here right now I’d high-five you, Jerwa.

bclaymoore @JoshFialkov @ChrisSamnee I’ve had editors number the dialogue, but the only feedback I’ve ever gotten from artists was that it was useless

ChrisSamnee @bclaymoore I do balloon placement at the thumbnail stage. It really helps me sort out the composition/flow of a page. But that’s just me.

andeparks I didn’t number my dialogue in the Capote In Kansas script. As a result, @ChrisSamnee drew the whole thing totally gay.

bclaymoore @ChrisSamnee I wrote a script for you once and you never mentioned it. If you want numbers, ask for them, damn you!

ivanbrandon @ChrisSamnee not a thing writers would ever have occasion to know. i bet 75% of the writers reading have no idea what you’re talking about.

nickspencer @ivanbrandon seriously. how are none of us doing this right?!!

LauraSamnee Uh oh, someone got @ChrisSamnee started on numbering dialogue in scripts.

kmellon @Bclaymoore @chrissamnee @joshfialkov I have to number the balloons. Don’t know that I’d like it if the script came that way, though.

sterlinggates I’ve always numbered my dialogue. For the record. 🙂

mattfraction hulk hogan is wearing dennis rodman’s wardrobe. and skin.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “A Twitter conversation on script formats and numbered dialogue

  1. Oliver

    hahaha, Mr. Fraction contribution was priceless.

    I was following that conversation, trying to learn something by watching my elders. I’ve heard some discussion about dialog numbering before, but all the scripts I studied for the last couple of years had none of that.

    After reading this post, I was interested in Antony Johnston’s template you mentioned, so I went to his website to look for it. There I found an AMAZING article about his writing process, among other cool stuff. Me being an aspiring writer, it was like finding El Dorado.

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