SCRIPTWRITING STANDARDS TIP
Unusual Script Formats
Most film and TV scripts look something like this:
On Joe, outside Walt's door, looking at his script and
shaking his head.
ANGLE HIS POV INS THE SCRIPT
We see for the first time that the name of the script is "The
Old Mill," by Joseph Turner White.
We hear raucous laughter from Walt, et al, in the b.g.
Worf signals the team forward, and they slowly begin
picking their way down the Borgified Corridor. It's
not easy -- they have to choose their footing carefully
as they walk through the maze of cables, circuits, and
machinery... Ensign Hawk accidentally steps on some
circuitry, which gives off a BEEP. The entire team
suddenly whirls their lights and weapons on the
unfortunate Ensign, who pales at their sudden attention.
Worf looks irritated, then motions his team to continue
their search. They continue making their way down the
spooky corridor... and as they turn a corner...
But the script for 1979's ALIEN (link)
takes a very different tack. Rather than action described in paragraphs it's presented in a series of single sentences, single-spaced.
What is it. What hurts.
Kane's face screws into a mask of agony.
He falls back into his chair.
A red stain.
Then a smear of blood blossoms on his chest.
The fabric of his shirt is ripped apart.
A small head the size of a man's fist pushes out.
The crew shouts in panic.
Leap back from the table.
The cat spits, bolts away.
The tiny head lunges forward.
Comes spurting out of Kane's chest trailing a thick body.
Splatters fluids and blood in its wake.
Lands in the middle of the dishes and food.
Wriggles away while the crew scatters.
Then the Alien being disappears from sight.
Kane lies slumped in his chair.
A huge hole in his chest.
The dishes are scattered.
Food covered with blood.
Without saying "angle on this" or "close on that", it paints a picture of what you see happening. Every action gets a kind of emphasis which is lost in the more typical paragraph form. These short one line narrative punches create a kind of tension on the page that you'd see in the final film.