I decided to compile a screenplay template for Pages because I was curious to see how a relatively crude solution can match up to a notorious dinosaur like Final Draft. And what I managed to do is get the paragraph styles to properly mimic Cole and Haag’s screenplay format with normal line spacing as it is implemented by the industry standard software, but there are no automatic dialogue and scene breaks, eg Mores and Continueds. Nonetheless, scene headings are never orphaned at the bottom of the page, and action lines are kept together. Character cues and parentheticals are not isolated from the next paragraph or their respective dialogue.
Despite my reserved attitude towards Final Draft, I used the program as a guide for the template because it features a sensible text layout and accurate pagination. But, technically speaking, what Final Draft refers to as Cole and Haag, does not entirely correspond with the formatting rules specified by Hillis Cole and Judith Haag in The Complete Guide to Standard Script Formats (first published in 1983). However, Final Draft, more than most, has done a good job in adapting these conventional norms and keeping with the times.
In conclusion, there is no absolute standard format within the film industry. Depending on the writer’s competency and the software being used, the format can vary, and sometimes considerably, but overall, if your script can easily be read by people working in the film industry, it certainly is in line with acceptable standards. So, if you don’t have a specialized software for writing movies, if you simply want to pen a few pages for a short film, or even commercial, this screenplay template may serve you well. Included is a variant that uses the Warner Brothers formatting style.
The template works between Mac and iOS devices and also generates a list of scene headings that automatically updates with each edit. Clicking on a page number within that list takes you directly to the proper scene. To simplify the input, the following shortcuts (and ensuing paragraph styles) have been added:
F1 — Scene Heading (Action)
F2 — Action (Action)
F3 — Character Cue (Dialogue)
F4 — Dialogue (Action)
F5 — Parenthetical (Dialogue)
F6 — Transition (Scene Heading)
F7 — Shot (Action)
If, at a later point in time, you feel like migrating to a software that better suits your needs, you can export the Pages document as a PDF and import it into Highland. From there, you will be able to generate an FDX file that is compatible with Final Draft, Adobe Story and a number of other screenwriting applications.
This template for Pages is provided “as is”, without any warranty; without even the implied warranty of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.