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Thread: HELP: Formatting a stage play using Movie Magic software

  1. #1
    Pro scribe MrJayVee's Avatar
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    Smile HELP: Formatting a stage play using Movie Magic software

    If you've used Movie Magic to format a stage play, I need your assistance.

    Is the proper format already built into the program? I'm assuming it is. When I click on "Stage Play," it comes up with the formatting of a screenplay. Not sure what I'm doing wrong -- or if maybe there's a glitch in my program. Anyway, if someone can provide step by step directions on how to get proper stage play formatting, I'd greatly appreciate it.

    Jim

  2. #2
    One thing you can do is to read some plays to see how they're formatted. Then use the editing function to edit how your ms looks.

  3. #3
    Pro scribe MrJayVee's Avatar
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    Smile Formatting a play...

    Thanks much for the reply...but I already know how a play is formatted. I'm just wondering if the margins, tabs, etc. are already set when you click on "Stage Play" format (again, when using Movie Magic), cuz it sure ain't workin' for me. Oh well, I'll figure it out.

  4. #4
    figuring it all out
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    I think I've said this before, but formatting in a stage play is not as critical as in a screenplay. No one is going to toss it out if your margins or your tabs are incorrect.

    That said, you should at least have your characters names in All Caps and have them either centered or indented, with dialogue left-justified to the left margin, and stage directions indented.

    And remember that published stage plays bear no resemblance to an actual script. Their formatting is changed wildly in order to decrease the page count for the publisher to save money. Do not look to a published play for formatting.

  5. #5
    practical experience, FTW ComicBent's Avatar
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    Seems to work all right

    I have used MMS for a stage play. I tried it again just now, and it worked all right for me. I opened several available stage play templates. For MMS version 6:

    FORMAT -> LOAD STYLES FROM ...
    TEMPLATE -> BLANK TEMPLATES ->
    DG - MODERN STAGE PLAY.DEF

    I recommend this template in preference to the others, but you can look at them all and see what you like.

    The Scene Heading will automatically want you to choose INT. or EXT., but you can delete it after you type your Scene Heading.

    You can also tweak the settings if you are comfortable making changes of that kind.

    As someone else said, the format is not mission-critical with stage plays.
    The fact that you have seen professionals write poorly is no reason for you to imitate them.

  6. #6
    Screenwriter Esper's Avatar
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    Stage play format has become something of a stylistic choice for younger gen. playwrights. Indented margins on stage directions, like the auto format you'd find in Final Draft, are sometimes abandoned in favor the directions dragging across the whole page - thus, looking more like a screenplay, but still within rounded brackets. One argument for this being that the indented margins end up making your page count longer.

    Whether its MM or FD, I usually end up formatting the stage direction elements.

    EDIT:

    Here are a few points for modern playwriting:

    1. Title page, including contact information. Arguably, no date included because you don't want to a reader to think your material is old.

    2. Separate character / setting page, listing all characters that appear with a brief description and the time and place. This is for your casting director - don't make them read through your script to figure this all out. Put it right up front for them to see. When you're working in FD, edit this from Document > Title Page.

    3. New scenes always begin on a new page.

    4. Stage directions inside brackets should be italicized, but not the brackets themselves.

    5. Recommended 12 pt. type. Number your pages. I always leave the first page without a number.
    Last edited by Esper; 06-06-2012 at 09:23 PM.

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