How to Format Text Messages in a Screenplay

How to format texts in a screenplay
'The Mindy Project'Credit: Hulu
The world is changing—everyone texts in screenplays now! 

One of the most beautiful things about screenwriting is that it's an ever-changing art form. As the world evolves, so does the way we format our scripts. The biggest change in recent life that really didn't exist a decade ago is how much everyone texts. 

But how do you format text messaging in screenplays? And how can you make the texts look good on the page? Today we'll go over all the tips and tricks and the ways you can format text messages in your screenplay.

Let's go. 

How to Format Text Messages in a Screenplay 

Characters in your story are going to be going all over the world and interacting with lots of people. Now more than ever, people aren't calling each other. They're texting. So how do you make those text exchanges look good on the page? 

There are lots of reasons this skill is important. Maybe your characters aren't fans of making phone calls. They also text a lot. Well, how would you format text messages on the page? There are two kinds of texts to cover. There's a single text you get and a text conversation. 

Let's start with a single text. 

How to Show a Single Text in a Screenplay

We've all gotten that one text that changes everything. The one that excites us, scares us, or causes us to rethink the world. So how would it look in script format?

Check it out below. 

How to Format Text Messages in a Screenplay

Yes, it's that simple. But what if you want to engage in a text conversation? 

How to Format a Text Conversation in a Screenplay

Maybe your characters are deciding where they should have their first date, or gossiping about some local murders. Let's look at a text conversation. To do that, you just want to add in parentheses after the character's name "(TEXT)."

It might be easier shown than explained. Check it out below. 

How to Format Text Messages in a Screenplay

If your characters are texting, and you want to see them both on screen, you can always intercut these in different locations as you do with phone calls as well.

That would look like this...

How to Format Text Messages in a Screenplay

Summing Up Texting in Screenplay Format 

Hopefully, this helped you understand all the instances and uses for text messages in movies and TV and cleared up how they should look on the page. If you have any tips, suggestions, or other things to say about this topic, sound off in the comments. 

As people evolve their forms of communication, we'll try to keep you updated on how they should look on the screenplay page. Remember, all of this is fluid.

Make sure the reader can clearly see what's happening, and you're off on the right foot. 

Happy writing!      

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