August 9


Jim from Ada, MI asks:

I have a question re: formatting.  On a spec script, is it acceptable to begin it with OVER CREDITS?   I want to use a series of shots or montage to establish environment/ character.

The answer to all screenplay formatting questions is (1) refer to  The Complete Guide to Standard Script Formats: The Screenplay, available at most national book sellers, and (2) read lots of screenplays.  They are available online at sites like Drew’s Script-O-RamaThe Daily Script, Screentalk and others.  I particularly like Screentalk because all of the scripts are in PDF format and, thus, retain the same format in which they were written.  You will see there is a baseline of formatting rules and there is wide variety in how the rules are applied or, often, ignored by very successful writers.  In a spec script, the formatting must serve the narrative.

As for your specific question, the answer is “yes”.  However, I do not recommend using  “OVER CREDITS” ever inasmuch as it takes away from the narrative.  It is never very important to your story where the credits fall.  That is a director/editor issue.  Focus on telling a good story.

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Posted August 9, 2006 by TW in category "The Craft


  1. By Dante Kleinberg on

    I think if you start writing a montage of images or whatever at the very beginning of a script, the reader will just assume it’s during the opening credits.

  2. By RB Ripley on

    When I was a reader, I never thought about scripts in terms of right or wrong, just consistency and clarity.

  3. By John Turnbull on

    What is an effective scene transistion when the opening scene involves the end of the story and the following scene goes back to the beginning?

  4. By denise on

    Do you need to indent a perosnal reflection that will be sent to a potential employer?

    Thanks for your help!

  5. By Joanne on

    I have a spec script question. When you write a Montage, does it matter if you do A, B, C etc. or 1, 2, 3 etc. Also, do you then have to make the Series of Shots different or can you use the same as your Montage? Do they have to be double spaced?

  6. By Scott on

    I know that a character’s first reference is in CAPS, but what if the name shows up in dialogue first?

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