How to format
a screenplay as spec-script?

Read more About screenwriting

What is a spec script?

Spec script stands for "speculative screenplay". When a writer creates a script, not commissioned, for free, without being part of a studio, the screenplay is defined as speculative.
The writer speculates on the idea that the story can be sold on the market. Hollywood studios process spec scripts all the time, because they are free, as continuous source for inspiration and, it is a way of promoting and differentiate the writer and the story from all the others.

While scripts are written and read for free, a spec script needs to be purchased to be produced by a studio. The spec script is the very first step towards the production of a movie or a tv show.


How to format a screenplay as spec-script?

The spec script is a screenplay written only from the viewer point of view. Director directions, Camera moves, scene numberings and other instructions are not included.

When the writer realizes that the story is ready to meet the world, that version of the text is going to be the final draft. The screenplay is still draft until it is purchased and eventeally it will be moved to production and formatted as a "Shooting script".

Formatting is key to ensure a screenplay will be, at the very least, considered to be read by a studio. The way script are presented, varies with the countries and the targeted studios. The one used in Hollywood is what is called: "American Standard".


To summarize:

A Spec Script is:

  • For free: A screenplay written without being requested.
  • To promote: The main goal is to promote the writer's skills and story. Eventually engage with a producer or an agent and sell it.
  • Lean formatting: A clear draft without revisions, copyrights statements or dates.