The Ultimate Guide to Writing Stage Directions for the Screen

We admit it. We first discovered this extremely well done article via TVWriter™’s Writing & Showbiz Tips from Around the InterWebs page. Immediately, we realized it was just the sort of thing we should have commissions and published ourselves.

In other words, Industrial Scripts.Com has done the TV & film writing worlds a true “mitzvah” with this, and we hope that if you missed it last week you’ll start reading right here and click on to continue to the end.

Writing Stage Directions in a Screenplay: The ULTIMATE Lowdown
from Industrial Scripts

Crafting good quality stage directions can often be one of the trickiest parts of writing a screenplay. The directions need to be clear and concise but also need to engage the reader. With a number of do’s and don’ts, we’re providing the lowdown on writing stage directions in a screenplay.

Table of Contents

Stage Directions: An Intro

So what are stage directions? Well, these are the parts of your screenplay that will help describe the action around the dialogue.

The etymology is of course from the theater, where ‘stage directions’ would be what is written in the playtext to provide information relevant to the staging of the play.

Broadly speaking, it would tell actors where to go, set designers what to design and directors what to focus on. Stage directions can be literal and functional in describing what is happening, or they can be more abstract and poetic in setting the scene. This is exemplified by probably the most famous stage direction of all time, Shakespeare’s ‘Exit pursued by a bear’ from The Winter’s Tale….

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