Script Mechanics

The time element is important. Scripts are decided upon six months before air date and final taping takes place three to six weeks before airing. Therefore, writers must be thinking of what the world might be like a year in advance. That's normal. What happens if the show you're working on gets cancelled? That's normal, too!

Scripts must be timed precisely. In most cases, playing time is less than twenty-five minutes in every half hour. Commercials take three-and-a-half minutes, opening and closing titles may take more than a minute. Then, a varying amount of time is set aside for a promo of next week's show.

The first scripts are written with minimal stage directions. Only the final scripts are blocked separately for actors, cameramen, and sound effect specialists. Script format should follow the Writer's Guild guidelines. A copy of these guidelines (Professional Writer's TeleplaylScreenplay

Format) costs only $2.85 and can be ordered from Writer's Guild of America East, 555 W. 57th St., New York, NY 10019.

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