Template for Documentary 2-Column Film/Video Scripts

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TEMPLATE FOR documentary 2-column filM/VIDEO scripTS

PETER THOMPSON

I wrote this template in 1989. It is Freeware. Please give it to other filmmakers with my blessing. The 2-column script format is not only extremely useful for documentary paper edits, it’s also very handy for developing ideas for narrative screenplays.

Paragraph & Format Symbols:
If you cannot see four paragraph symbols (¶) between this line and the paragraph above, select “Show ¶” under the VIEW menu, and they’ll pop into view. I strongly recommend that you activate this “Show ¶” mode when writing a script. With it activated you will have wealth of format information at your fingertips and will therefore know how to correct a format mistake (more on that, later).

How to Create a 2-Column Script:
Here’s how to do it if you’re using Microsoft Word version 5.1 and earlier: 1.Choose “New” under the FILE menu. A blank worksheet opens. 2.Select “Table” under the INSERT menu.
3.Under Number of columns type “2”; under number of rows type “10”; under width type “3 in.” Hit “OK”.

Here’s how to do it if you’re using Microsoft Word version 6.0: 1.Choose “New” under the FILE menu. A blank worksheet opens. 2.Select “Insert Table” under the TABLE menu.
3.Under Number of columns type “2”; under number of rows type “10”; under width type “3 in.” Hit “OK”.

The table will now insert into your new worksheet. If you need to make space above the table to type the name of your project, hold down the Option-Comand keys at the same time, and then hit the Spacebar. The entire table will shift down one line.

Two things to be mindful of when working with tables:
1) The more words you enter into a table cell the slower the scrolling of the script will be. Therefore, break up your speeches into a few sentences per cell.

2) Do not let words in a cell spill the cell over from the bottom of one page to the top of the next page. On your screen it reads fine, but when you print it out you’ll find that much of the contents of the cell will be missing.

To correct this:
1.Place your cursor in the top left of the next lower cell, then go to FORMAT and choose “Table Layout”. 2.Select “Row”, then “Insert”, and a new blank row will be inserted above the row where your cursor rests.

Using “Strikethrough”:
you’ll notice that parts of the transcript in the script fragment below are struck through with a line. This is because I’ve decided to edit these words out. There are two reasons you want to use “strikethrough” instead of simply cutting words out from a transcript: 1) You might change your mind tomorrow and decide the words really should stay. 2) You always want to know what you are choosing within the context of the whole speech. That is, if you start cutting and pasting too liberally, it is very easy to forget where the words came from in the documentary transcript when you need to reconstruct them.

In Microsoft Word versions 5.1 and earlier, you get “Strikethrough” by selecting those words you want to get rid of, then holding down Shift-Command + ”?”.

In Microsoft Word version 6.0, I’ve programmed the computers in the Film Department Computer Lab to respond to Control + “S”. (For another computer elsewhere, you’ll have to program it yourself. Here’s how: 1.Select “Customize” under the TOOLS menu.

2.Select “Format” under “Categories”.
3.Now place your cursor inside the “Commands” box and press “S”.
This will take you to all commands beginning with “S”.
4.Click on “Strikethrough”.
5.Click on “New Shortcut”.
You will see that there is no combination of keys to call “Strikethrough” up. 6.Press Control + “S” as the shortcut for “Strikethrough”.

You’ll notice in the script fragment below that I reduced the size of the struckthrough parts to get them out of the way visually. Do this by selecting the struckthrough words and pressing Shift-Command + ““.

Using a Glossary in Word
The Glossary in Word is...
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