? the three and one-half inch dialogue line

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  • ? the three and one-half inch dialogue line

    I have read that the dialogue line should be 3 1/2 inches long. How strictly is this observed?

    Thanks!

  • #2
    From what I understand, it is VERY STRICTLY observed just as much as the font Courier 12. The margins of your page should be right at well.

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    • #3
      I don't know if readers carry a ruler with them. It is a guideline but I doubt it would insite a script shredding party.

      I'm wondering how scenes like the opening speech of Patton or the closing speech of Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman avoid this rule.

      It is easy to do by adding minor action statements like, "Speaker adjusts his colar" and continue with the dialog.

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      • #4
        re: ratwriter's reply

        I mean 3 1/2 inches horizontally across.

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        • #5
          That would be 3 1/2 inches wide. Not long, WIDE damnit!

          My scriptwriting template uses 3" WIDE dialog margins CENTERED HORIZONTALLY in the page.

          I hate feeling dumb.

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          • #6
            What a difference one word makes. 3 1/2 inches long isn't very, ah, impressive. 3 1/2 inches wide? Hmmmm...

            Actually I didn't know that at first- someone caught it in my second script and told me, bless them...

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            • #7
              I think that if you are David Mamet, William Goldman, or Nora Ephron, you can write in Galliard or Palatino. You can doodle on the side and put porn pictures.

              However, I think that most aspiring first-timers should stick with what is commonly accepted because it signals a few things.

              1. You understand the industry standards...implies that you are someone who is professional (even if you aren't a professional writer).

              2. Force of habit. Agents probably are used to doing things in a certain way. You don't want to provide any reasons for your script to be rejected.

              3. Allows for a cleaner looking script.

              That's it for my not-so humble opinion. I am envious of those who brag about their 3 1/2 inches.

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              • #8
                re: what people have said

                LOL!

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                • #9
                  Re: re: what people have said

                  i'm just curious, because by now, hopefully you got the impression that you stick to formatting guidelines and not break them, but my question is this:

                  whenever i see someone asking a question like "how particular are they about my font? can i use something else? what should my margins be?", i wonder "why?"

                  why are people so eager to break protocol and do it "different" in FORMAT, instead of mastering the craft? i don't get it. just get a screenplay formatter or a word template and let it do the work for you.

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