Scene Heading Basics

A Scene Heading introduces every new scene change, providing vital information such as locale, time of day, and more.

Below is an example of a properly formatted Scene Heading:

Note the Punctuation and Spacing common in all Scene Headings:

INT [period; space] WAREHOUSE [space; hyphen; space] OFFICE [space; hyphen; space] DAY

Here are some other Basic Rules to keep in mind with regards to Scene Headings:

  • Margins: Begin at the left margin (1.5" from page edge) and may extend all the way to the right margin (1" from right-side page edge).

  • Triple-space before each new Scene Heading. (Although this is not in stone. You can double-space if you like, but triple-spacing is customary.)

  • Type in ALL CAPS.

  • Double-space after each Scene Heading.

  • If a Scene Heading is long enough that it must take up two lines, Single-space within the Scene Heading.

  • NEVER leave a Scene Heading at the bottom of a page (unless it is an Establishing Shot). Either add a line of Direction below it, or move the Scene Heading to the next page. For more information, see Page Breaks.

  • NEVER put Action, Sounds, or Articles (such as a, an, or the) in a Scene Heading

  • The ONLY exception to the ALL CAPS rule in Scene Headings are for proper names such as McDonald's, DeWalt, DeVito or some name of that nature.

In the examples above, the first three are CORRECT and show situations when to lowercase letters in Scene Headings.

The last four examples, however, are INCORRECT.

The fourth example is wrong because it contains the article THE. The fifth Scene Heading uses the article A.

The sixth example contains action (TAPPING), while the last example contains sound (SQUEAL), making both examples incorrect.