How To Format A TV Sitcom Script
Now that you have sold your show, you need to know how to format a TV sitcom script. How to format a TV sitcom script is more than just giving your actors their dialogue; how to format a TV sitcom script tells your production crew what to do. It tells them what kinds of sets need to be built, when and where a scene is supposed to take place and provides stage direction to everyone that is involved with putting your TV sitcom together. The basics of how to format a TV sitcom script is broken into four pieces; sluglines, action and descriptions, character names and dialogue. Following this formula for how to format a TV sitcom script will the production process move along smoothly.
- Get your sluglines ready. A slugline is just a fancy TV term for headings. A slugline should appear at the beginning of each new scene and give your crew the scenes setting. A slugline should be written in all caps and include the interior (INT) or exterior (EXT), location and the time. Here is an example of a slug line: INT. BILLY'S KITCHEN-NIGHT. There should always be two spaces between INT/EXT, and a hyphen between the location and the time.
- Give them some action. The Action/description part of how to format a TV sitcom script, describes what will be going on during the scene and what characters will be involved in the action. Here is an example of the action/description portion of how to format a TV sitcom script: BILLY: sitting alone at the table drinking a beer fidgeting, staring at his cell phone waiting for it to ring. his room-mate BOB turns on the light making BILLY jump up and spill his beer on his cell phone. When you're writing your action/description, make sure that everything happens in the present tense.
- Let them know who's talking. Always put the character name above the dialogue in the how to format a TV sitcom script process. Putting the characters name directly above their dialogue makes sure that there is no confusion over who is speaking and when. The name of the character who is speaking should be written in all caps so that the actors know exactly where their lines begin and end.
- Put the words in their mouths. The dialogue should be written directly below the name of the character speaking in the how to format a TV sitcom script process. Putting the dialogue directly underneath the characters name keeps the confusion of who is speaking and when to a minimum. If you want your characters to do specific things when they're talking you can add action/description in between lines of dialogue.