Title Pages

Before shipping their screenplays to various production houses, screenwriters will want to create a Title Page.

But not all Title Pages are the same. The information on your Title Page will change depending on whether you are the sole author or a co-author, whether of not you are represented by an agent, whether or not your screenplay in an original work, and other factors.

 

Common, Single-author Title Page:

To the right is an example of the usual Title Page most writers will generate. This Title Page is for a screenplay written by a single author.

Here are the Basics of what you see:

  • The title of the screenplay is centered, typed in ALL CAPS and underlined (which is optional).

  • The title is located about 1/3 of the way down the page.

  • The words written by are placed four spaces below the title, all lowercased. Alternatively, the screenwriter could have said, screenplay by, or simply by.

  • The author's name is double-spaced below written by.

  • The contact information, including address, telephone, and email address (optional), is found at the bottom of the page, left justified. The writer could have also put it on the right margin. Different critics place the information on different sides of the page. Either way is fine.

  • Notice this particular writer has an agent. The agent's name or agency is placed above the contact information in ALL CAPS. If you have an agent, the contact information will be the agent's, not yours. And they'll tell you what side of the page on which they want the contact info presented. If you have no agent, it'll be your contact info, without your name above it (after all, your name is already on the page).

Here is what you DO NOT do to a Title Page of any kind:

  • DO NOT enclose the title with quotation marks.

  • DO NOT put a date (such as the day the final draft was completed) on the page.

  • DO NOT add dedications. Unless you are an established writer, your dedications will not be included in the film. Even if you ARE an established writer, odds are it still won't happen. No one cares.

  • DO NOT include WGA registration numbers or copyright information. If a production house receives your screenplay, especially from an agent, they'll assume it's protected. And besides, if they want to steal your idea, they'll do it regardless.

  • DO NOT indicate this is the FINAL DRAFT or something like that. If a production house receives your screenplay, they'll assume it has been re-written, polished, and ready for sell. And it BETTER be.

  • DO NOT dress it up with phrases like "A Travis Wingate Production" in an attempt to look professional. You are NOT fooling anyone.

  • DO NOT try to spice up the page with a tag line, such as "Just when you thought it was safe to go into space . . ." Leave the clever one-liners to marketing once your brilliant idea has been sold.

  • DO NOT add graphics or decoration OF ANY KIND.

Multiple Writers:

If you co-authored the screenplay with someone else, you'll indicate it on the Title Page.

Here is what a byline will look like with Two Authors:

Notice the two names are separated with an ampersand (&). Why not type "and"?

Because an ampersand conveys the message that the two authors collaborated in writing the screenplay. They worked together.

The word "and" tells the reader that the second author listed (here, Maria Styles) was brought on LATER to rewrite some or all of the screenplay originally written by Travis Wingate. The two authors DID NOT collaborate on the finished product, and likely have never even met.

Here is how it would look:

So if you are writing a screenplay in collaboration with a co-writer, use an ampersand.

If three or more writers collaborated to create the finished product, the names are separated with commas, with the last name separated with an ampersand, like this:

If the author's names are too long to fit on one line, let them wrap around, single-spaced, to the next line.

If that happens, make sure an author's whole name makes it to the second line. Don't put a first name on the first line and a second name on the second line.

Based On Actual Events:

If your screenplay is based on a true story, you'll indicate so on the Title Page, like this:

The words based on a true story are typed all lowercase four spaces below the author's name.

Alternatively, the writer could have typed inspired by a true story or based on actual events.

WARNING: If you are writing a screenplay based on actual events, make sure you have obtained the legal rights from everyone involved before trying to sell your idea, especially if it is based on an event that did not happen to you personally.

Based On a Previously Published Work:

If your screenplay is based on a previously published work, you'll indicate the fact on the Title Page.

If it is based on a book of the same name, the Title Page will look like this:

The words based on the book by are typed all lowercase and four spaces below the screenplay author's name.

The name of the book's author is double-spaced below that.

If your screenplay is based on a work with a different title, the Title Page will look more like this:

The only difference is the original title of the original work is typed on the "based on..." line, underlined and using traditional Capitalization rules.

Of course, screenplays can be based on just about anything; short stories, graphic novels, journal articles, songs, video games, even previously-written screenplays.

WARNING: If you are trying to sell a screenplay based on someone else's original work YOU BETTER have the legal right to do so! Don't even start writing such a screenplay unless you have called whoever has the creative rights to the original work and worked out an agreement giving you permission to adapt the original work to film. And if you didn't hire an attorney to work out the details, you didn't do it right.

And DO NOT assume you have the right to write a screenplay based on your own published novel. The publishing house likely has the rights to your novel, and you still need to get their permission to turn it into a film.

Also, DO NOT base your screenplay on your own previously UNPUBLISHED novel. What you've written is an original screenplay, not a screenplay based on some other work. And self-publishing DOES NOT count.

Scripts for Television:

So you fancy yourself a television drama writer.

Well, I'm skeptical.

But just in case you have written a teleplay, here is how the Title Page should be formatted:

The title of the TV series will be in ALL CAPS and underlined, still about 1/3 of the way down the page.

The title of this particular episode is double-spaced below the series title, typed with standard Capitalization rules and enclosed in quotation marks.

The words teleplay by are typed four spaces below the episode title, all lowercase, and finally, the writer's name is double-spaced below that.