Screenplay Editor’s Checklist
This article is intended to serve as a shorthand reference that
can be used while writing a screenplay.
It is also the checklist that we refer to when we are
double-checking a screenplay’s format during the editing
Use ALL CAPS for the
first time these four are mentioned: PROPS, SIGHTS, SOUNDS, and
After a character has been introduced in a slug line,
write the name in any subsequent slug line as “Jim Johnson” or
“Bartender” (in the case of a character without a proper name).
In other words, use lower case after the initial
introduction of a character.
As with characters, use lower case for a prop, sight, or
sound in a slug line once it has already been introduced.
Slug Lines are defined as
the text that appears in all CAPS at the beginning of a scene.
They are scene set-ups that quickly describe the location
and time of day.
For example: EXT.
AUDREY'S PORCH - AFTERNOON
(Note: Sometimes slug
lines are abbreviated and simplified to read "LATER" or
scene is defined as an event that occurs entirely in one
location or at one particular time.
Anytime there is a
change in either location or time, a new scene is created.
This is always delineated by a slug line.
This is the scene description, the character
movement, and the sounds as described in a screenplay. The
action usually follows the slug line.
For example: The
POPPING sounds of cooking can be heard as AUDREY fries catfish
in a SKILLET on the STOVE.
Use ALL CAPS for CHARACTERS every time they are speaking in
dialogue. Do not
ever use all caps for anything else, such as emphasis in
Slug lines should contain as little “direction” as
possible—they are to be used primarily as set-ups for scenes.
Motives, emotions, etc. should be expressed through
Descriptions are necessary in slug lines, but should be concise.
Check the entire script for inconsistencies in
characters’ names, places, and the use of punctuation ( … ) to
indicate interruption in dialogue.
Also check to be sure “continued” is used consistently
when a speaker continues a dialogue.
Denver Book Editor | Boulder Book Editor