How to Write a Script on Google Docs
If you want to work in the film industry, you must understand how to write a screenplay. There are several software programs you can download to help in this process, but they have limitations.
You can learn how to write a script on Google Docs by formatting specific elements of your document. You can adjust the font, margins, stylization, indents, and spacing. Learn how to build a screenplay in Google Docs in the step-by-step guide below.
What is a Screenplay Format?
You have to know the standard format of a screenplay before learning how to write a script on Google Docs. It includes the elements and style you need for commercials, films, and other videos.
The script format Google Docs does not include massive blocks of text. Every page equates to one minute of film time. Your script has to match the length of your video.
Try to keep your script format in Google Docs clean and professional. You want it to be readable. Actors have to understand what you require, and producers need to know what to film.
The content elements of your script help organize the document. They help readers understand who has dialogue and the actions taking place. Some of the most common elements are in the list below.
The fade-in is the beginning of every script. It will cover when the action begins in your story.
The scene heading describes each location used in your script. The portions of this element are below.
- Location: Determine if the scene takes place outside or inside by writing “INT” or “EXT.”
- Specific Location: Write the exact location of the scene.
- Time of Day: You need to write a general overview of the time of day. Options include “DAY” or “NIGHT.”
Subheaders give more specific information for the same scene under a heading. They are beneficial when describing a later action or room change.
Action lines describe the happenings of a scene. You can help readers visualize a character, understand the location better, or know more about the actions someone takes.
You have to show a speaking character when they have dialogue. Put the name in all caps in the middle of the document.
You will place dialogue under the character’s name. It should have standard capitalization and should follow typical grammar rules.
A parenthetical instructs the reader about how to consume the information. The most popular options include O.S. for off-screen dialogue and V.O. for voiceovers.
Shots are the least common elements in a screenplay. Writers indicate these features if the type of shot is critical.
If there is a montage in your film, there are specific steps you must follow.
- Write “Begin Montage” in your script.
- List out the scenes in the montage with scene headers.
- Write “End Montage.”
Lyrics are rare in screenplays. Writers typically share the emotions of the song rather than the words.
Chyrons are words that appear throughout the film. You will write “CHYRON” to introduce those titles.
Finally, the last element used in your screenplay is the fade-out. It goes immediately after the final action line.
On-Page Style of the Script
There are specific on-screen styling cues you should meet when building a film or TV script template Google Docs. Read the list below to learn how to set up your screenplay.
- Font: 12-point and Courier
- Margin: 1.5 inches on the left side; 1.0 inch on the top, bottom, and right side
- 55 lines per page
- Page numbers: flushed to the right margin in the top corner, 0.5 inches from the top, period after page numbers
- No number on the first page
- No number on the title page
How to Format a Screenplay in Google Docs
This step-by-step guide will help you learn how to write a script on Google Docs. This program has several features you can use to effectively set up your screenplay.
First you need to start a blank document, as shown in the steps below.
- Go to www.docs.google.com on your browser.
- Log into your account.
- Click on “Blank” to start a new document.
You have to set up your page margins when first learning how to write a script on Google Docs. On the left, there should be a 1.5-inch margin. The spacing should be about an inch on the three other sides.
You can learn to set up these margins with the step-by-step instructions below.
- Click on “File” in the menu at the top of the screen.
- Press “Page Setup.”
- Look for the section labeled “Margins.”
- In the “Top” field, type “1.0.”
- In the “Bottom” field, write “1.0.”
- In the “Left” field, write “1.5.”
- In the “Right” field, type “1.0.”
- Press “Ok.”
Font Size and Line Spacing
You also need to change the font size when learning how to format a screenplay in Google Docs. Your text needs to be Courier at 12 points. There are buttons in the toolbar to change your font stylization.
You can also change the line spacing on your Google Docs screenplay. Any dialogue, for example, needs to be double-spaced. Learn how to adjust line spacing on Google Docs in the steps below.
- Highlight the lines in your script that you want to change.
- Click “Format” in the top menu.
- Press “Line & Paragraph Spacing.”
- Choose “Single,” “Double,” “1.5,” or “1.15.”
Alignment and Indentation
Some portions of your screenplay should have specific alignments and indentations. Dialogue and speaking character titles need to be in the center. You can align these elements with the below steps.
- Highlight the section of text you need to align or indent.
- Click on “Format” in the menu at the top of the page.
- Press “Align & Indent.”
- Click “Center.”
You can use a couple of examples when making changes to the alignment and indentation. Center your title horizontally and take it a third of the way down the first page. Dialogue, as mentioned, should be in the center and indented 1.0 inches away from the left side of the page.
You can format your text in several methods in Google Docs. You can italicize, bold, change the font, and adjust the size of the words in your document. You can click on “Format,” followed by “Text,” to make those changes.
You have to add page numbers when you learn how to write a script on Google Docs. They will go in the top right corner. The first sheet will not have a page number on it.
Learn how to add page numbers to your script outline template Google Docs with the below steps.
- Click on the “Insert” button in the menu in the top left.
- Press “Page Number.”
- Click “Page Number” again and click in the top right corner.
- Go to the section labeled “Header.”
- Uncheck the box next to the field labeled “Show on the First Page.”
Screenplay Template Google Docs
You may wonder if you can find a screenplay template in Google Docs to make setup easier. Unfortunately, there is no built-in option on the software.
You can always follow the above steps to learn how to write a script on Google Docs. Several templates are available for you to use in combination to create your screenplay.
Use a Combination of Several Different Templates
You can use each script outline template in Google Docs below to build your screenplay.
Google Docs Newspaper Template
A Google Docs newspaper template is beneficial for your screenplay. You can use the “Newsletter Geometric,” “Newsletter Lively,” or “Newspaper Plum” options as a play script template for Google Docs.
These templates come with pre-made layouts, columns, and fonts. You can adjust the margins and font styles to your needs for your script.
Google Docs Quiz Template
Google Docs technically does not have a quiz template either. You can link your Google Forms survey to your screenplay.
Fill in the answers to the quiz to ensure you get all the information you need. When you finish, you can share the document with any collaborators.
Agenda Template Google Docs
The Agenda template is the final option you can incorporate into your Google Doc script template. This option works to build your branding into your screenplay.
An Agenda Template is perfect for a play script template Google Docs as it allows your whole team to collaborate. You can also define the purpose of your screenplay.
Use Add-On Templates
You can use several add-ons on a blank document to start your screenwriting in Google Docs. These options help to keep your screenplay organized and cohesive.
Screenplay Formatter for Google Docs
Screenplay Formatter Google Docs is a tool that helps you organize your document in a way that follows script standards. It will automatically adjust the indents and dialogues with one-press buttons. You can find this tool in the Google Workspace Marketplace.
There are also buttons to help you switch between scenes and action lines, and there are included transitions. The app continually checks your information to know if you are in the middle of something new. Additional features of Screenplay Formatter Google Docs are in the below list.
- Add headers
- Set action lines
- Introduce a new character speaker
- Add parenthesis for dialogue
- Set your dialogue format
- Introduce special effects in your script
- Insert transitions
Fountainize is another tool available in the Google Workspace Marketplace. It allows you to draft a screenwriting template in Google Docs with ease.
When you use Fountainize, you can write text in a typical manner, converting it to a script later. You only have to press one button to make the transition.
Fountainize automatically determines the parts of your text associated with characters, dialogues, action lines, and other script elements. There are specific rules you should follow, as shown below.
- Write a character name in all caps.
- Start a scene heading with the words “int.” or “ext.”
- Any line after a character name or parenthetical is automatically dialogue.
Write a Script on Google Docs
You should feel comfortable knowing how to write a script on Google Docs. You have to format your document to meet screenplay requirements.
Your font should be in Courier and should be size 12. You need specific elements in the middle of the document, including the dialogue and titles. You need 1.5-inch margins on the left, and all others should be one inch.
If you need assistance building your screenplay on Google Docs, you can use an add-on template. Consider Screenplay Formatter for Google Docs or Fountainize to make your scripts with ease.
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