Script-Writing Guidelines
~How to Submit a Play Script~
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Be a published author!



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Write a script for Whootie!  Whootie Owl invites all teens over 13 to write a SCRIPT for any story on this web site (that does not already have one).

Be a published author!  If a play script that you write, or that you write with other teens, is selected to appear on this website, the first name(s) of each author will be credited (we display a teenager's first name, age, & city only).

How will the scripts be reviewed? All scripts submitted will be reviewed by Whootie Owl International. If edits are suggested, the author(s) will see a revised version and approve it before it is posted online

Below find the details in these 3 easy steps:

(1) How to choose a story
(2) How to write a script
(3) How to submit your script

(1) How to choose a story

Go ahead & choose any story on Whootie Owl's web site, "Absolutely Whootie: Stories to Grow By". The easiest way to find a story you like is to click the "Choose a Story" button (it's the button that's second from the left on the navigational bar). Or on the same "Choose a Story" page, you can SEARCH for stories under categories such as "Type of Story" (such as adventure, animal tales, fairytales), "Theme of Values" (such as friendship, honesty, love), or "Area of the World" (such as by continent or country). Remember: The story you choose must be from this web site, "Absolutely Whootie: Stories to Grow By". Please DO NOT submit scripts from any other web sites, books, or any other place - we won't be able to use them.

Tip:  Be sure the story you choose doesn't already have a play script!  You can check the stories that already have play scripts by clicking here and scrolling to the bottom of the page.

(2) How to write a script

  • Script Format
  • Use of Narrator (tips)
  • How to Keep the Action Moving (tips)

SCRIPT FORMAT

  1. You can save your script as "Text Only" or as "Microsoft Word."  Nothing else, please.
  2. Linespacing - Single-space within a character's speeech.  Double-space speeches.
  3. Indicate speaker in ALL CAPS FOLLOWED BY COLON:
  4. Present in this order:
    • Title of the script, centered
    • [If prepared within a classroom environment] The name & address of the school, the name(s) of the supervising teacher(s), their e-mail addresses if available.
    • The contributing writers (first names & first initial of last name ; age).
    • The characters in your script, in order of appearnce.
  5. Please start each new Act or Scene at the top of a new page.

Click here for sample format



USE OF NARRATOR (Tips)

It's your choice whether to use a narrator. Either way is fine!   If you do, it's often best to have two narrators rather than one.  It's one way to create extra roles, and it spreads the responsibility for this important job.  It's also easier for audiences to listen to two alternating voices during long narrative passages, than to listen to one.  Here are some tips on how to split the narration:

  • Narrator 1 should begin each new scene.
  • "Bounce" back and forth between the narrators in a way that creates a strong rhythmic structure. This can mean trading off on sentences, or even on phrases.
  • "Sandwich" the dialogue. That is, one narrator speaks both before a section of character dialogue, then afterwards. Then another narrator does the same.

HOW TO KEEP THE ACTION MOVING (Tips)

  1. In your story opening, catch the attention of the audience (who may be fidgeting with programs or getting comfortable in their seats) as the scene opens. Grab their attention with a surprising, funny, intriguing, or startling opening.
  2. Keep the number of scene changes to a minimum. If the audience has to wait while actors change scenery, the impact of the action and the momentum of the story may be lost.
  3. Use stage directions in your script to describe the action. As the script writer, you can decide:
    • When characters enter & exit
    • How lines are delivered ("surprised"; "angry"; "concerned")
    • When lights fade, flicker, or go out
    • Spotlighting cues
    • Where furniture or props are placed on the stage

Also, as the script writer, you'll describe action that takes place when there's no dialogue. Here are some examples:

[King walks to center as Witch enters from stage left, hobbling slowly.]

--or--
[Sister enters from right carrying a fishing stick and basket; she sees Snake and stops, irritated.]
--or--
[Servant #1 & Servant #2 whisper in Tsar's ears.]

(3) How to submit your script

  • You can send your script by email.

  • Or burn your script onto a CD & mail it to:
                                  Whootie Owl's Summer Script-Writing Contest
                            PO Box 600344
                            Newton, MA 02460

  • If you mail a CD, please also enclose PRINTED COPIES of each script along with your CD.
  • And be sure to label the CD:
              Your name (or name of class & name of school)
              Your age or grade
              Your address (or address of school)
              Your e-mail address

  • Be sure to include at the top of each script:
    Name of author(s)
    Age(s) of author(s)
    Mailing address of author(s)
    E-mail address(es) of author(s)

Click here for sample format

Mail to:
Whootie Owl International
Post Office Box 600344
Newton, Massachusetts 02460-0004

E-mail us with your questions or let us know if you'd like to receive our monthly Whootie Owl e-mail newsletter.

Thank you for submitting a play script to Whootie Owl!