Why do all screenplays use Courier font?

The standard screenplay format dictates that you use Courier New font. It’s a blocky typewriter font that is sometimes difficult to read.

 

Django Unchained

 

Ever wonder why this font is industry standard?

Most sources say that it is a holdover from Hollywood’s golden age when scripts were typed on typewriters. Although Hollywood rarely eschews tradition, this isn’t the case.

Courier is a fixed-pitch font, meaning each character or space is exactly the same width. Since standard screenplay format is designed so that one page approximately equals one minute of screen time, consistent character spacing is important.

-screenwriting.io

This way when you finish a massive epic screenplay that spans 200 pages, you can estimate that your audience will have to stay in their seats for over 3 hours.

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Becoming a filmmaker on a budget

So, you have decided to be a filmmaker. You have watched enough movies, read enough about the process and you want to start making movies. However, there’s one problem: you don’t have enough money to spend on a top of the line camera or expensive software. Do you give up? No! You spend as little as possible to practice your passion. Here’s where to start:

First, you need some sort of screenwriting software. You don’t want to make a movie without having a plan after all! The good folks over at Celtx have a great program for $0. It’s fully functional and will format your screenplay appropriately.  I really can’t say anything bad about it. I also can’t stress how much you need to have a proper story before you film.

Next, you need a camera. If you’re just starting out, really any camera will do. Just make sure you can access the content easily. In other words, make sure you can connect your camera to your computer. Also remember that you do get what you pay for, and an extremely inexpensive camera may need upgrading after some practice.

While we are on the subject of cameras, make sure you get a tripod. Don’t try the handheld effect. Nobody liked it in Blair Witch, and nobody’s liked it since. Tripods will usually run you about $20-$30.

(While you’re acquiring things for production, you might as well start assembling your grip kit.)

After that, now you’re ready for post-production. Time to edit together your first masterpiece. Fortunately, your computer may already come with some editing software. For Macs, you can use iMovie to edit your creations. For PCs, you may need to download Windows Movie Maker. If you bought a camera, you may have some software that came with it in the box. Once you cut your teeth on these, I recommend upgrading to Sony Vegas or Adobe Premiere Elements. NOTE: Check to make sure your computer is compatible with the software, or plan to add upgrading expenses to your budget.

Follow these guidelines and you have your first film production! Now get some actors and make a movie!

Film Tips #1

I’m starting something new here. Someone in a random forum I frequent was asking for tips for his short film. So, I instantly gave him a ten-point list and invited him for more discussion. Then it dawned on me. This is what I need to share with the world. So here’s installment one of Film Tips.

Tip #1

Story is key. If you go out to shoot, have a plan of what you want to shoot. Make sure your shots line up with the story. In fact, carefully craft the story over time and make sure it is a good story. Read it and objectively ask yourself, “Is this crap?” Make someone else read it and ask them the same question.

Above all, make your story concise. I have seen too many student films that take 15 minutes to tell a story that could be summed up in 3. The longer the story drags on, the more your audience will wander.