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A Free Audio Theatre Script Template

 by Tony Palermo

It's a Wonderful Life script & SFX for radio - Details about how you can produce my radio adaptation of Frank Capra's classic film.
It's a Wonderful Life script for the stage - Adapted as a stage play


Advice on using my free MS Word template for writing radio drama scripts.

NOTE: Make sure to see my detailed lesson on How to Write Radio Drama Cues. Between the template below and the lesson, you'll be able to work professionally in getting your ideas across to cast, crew and audience.


Radio Script Formats and Microsoft Word
Radio scripts follow a special format that was developed in the 1940s. It does not look like modern film or TV or radio commercial scripts. Its conventions are well suited to efficient radio drama rehearsal and production. Other formats will work, but I've found this one to be quick and easy.  If you want to see what a radio script looks like, see a HTML rendering of an excerpt from my radio adaptation of Macbeth. The spacing isn't quite right, but it gives you a general idea.

This page regards using a free downloadable template for use with Microsoft Word for Windows and it  will work with Word for Macs. Also, the template is in MS Word 6.0 format--because it doesn't use the Visual Basic macro language which some creeps manipulate to send virus programs around the web. The template I'm providing CANNOT send macro viruses to anybody, and is easily loadable by later versions of Word (Word 7, Word97, Word 2000 Word XP, etc.) You may need to load it once then save it in your later Word format. That's fine, it doesn't need to stay as an old-style Word file.

First read through this page, then download the template and open it in your version of MS Word.

If you just want to see what the template looks like, click on radio_tm.pdf. It's in PDF format and can be viewed using the free Adobe Acrobat reader for PC/Mac.


What's a template?

A template is a special kind of source document that you load into MS Word. It contains all the "styles" that allow you to instantly format the various types of cues employed in radio. You could do it yourself with tabs and underlines and capitalization, but the template styles allow you to just type away and get the correct formatting and margins you need. It saves a great deal of time.

This template file is stored in a template directory and can be used as a "model" that you can change and save under a new name. You never really modify the template itself. To use a template, you must store it with your other Word templates. Then you'll typically go to your Word "File" menu and select "New", then a box pops up listing various templates. Select the template--in this case, RADIO_TM.DOT and it will create a new document using the text, format, styles and toolbars of the template. You can then change anything in the document to write your own radio script and save it under whatever name you want. My template includes a short sample script that demonstrates the various conventions of radio scripting and formatting. You just have to replace my writing with your own. The template also includes a toolbar for radio scripting that brings all the styles to one place for easy formatting--or re-formatting of existing scripts.

Download the template

To download the template, RIGHT click on RADIO_TM.DOT then select "Save Link As". NOTE: If your browser tries to save the file as a .DOC or .HTM file, change that extension to .DOT and save it. For some reason, IE and Opera now save the .DOT file with incorrect extensions. Firefox, Safari and Chrome save the file properly, as a .DOT file.) If you don't save the file as a .DOT, then it will NOT open properly in MS Word.

 Be sure to note where you've saved it on your computer. You'll want to move the file to wherever your other MS Word templates are stored. Otherwise, it won't show up in your list of available templates when you open Word and click on "File" then "New".

What's in this template?

The template is a radio formatting course in the form of a dummy script. There are typical cues for dialogue, sound effects and music, as well as headers, footers, production notes, etc. The template also includes the extra pages I use for casting, rehearsals and production. It's taken me years to perfect this format, but it works very well and other professionals have no problem understanding what I intend for the radio program to sound like.

Title (a/k/a "fly" page)
Cast listing
Two page demo script
Writer/Director's notes
Radio Skills School page -- listing rules for radio production
Casting Evaluation form
Sample of Casting Monologues
Sound Effects role listing
Sound Effects "How to" description
Engineer's Equipment and Music Cue listing
Writer's notes -- including instructions in how to use the template




(page 8 from my adaptation of Macbeth: Act 4, Scene 1)

    Shakespeare On The Air                                               “Macbeth”                                                                                 8.
     

    1.  MACBETH:          That will never be. Who can impress the forest?
                          Yet my heart throbs to know one
    thing. Tell me,
                          if your art can tell so much, - shall Banquo’s issue
                          ever reign in this
    kingdom?

    2.  SOUND:            THUNDER (2X).
     

    3.  MUSIC:            WEIRD MUSIC-UP. DUCK FOR VOICES.
     

    4.  ALL WITCHES:      Seek to know no more.

    5.  MACBETH:          I will be satisfied. Deny me this, and an eternal
                          curse fall on you! Let me know!

    6.  SOUND:            INTENSE BUBBLING-SLOWS-STOPS. THUNDER (1X).
     

    7.  MACBETH:          Why sinks that cauldron? And what noise is this?

    8.  FIRST WITCH:      Show!

    9.  SECOND WITCH:          Show!

    10.  THIRD WITCH:               Show!

    11.  SOUND:           THUNDER (3X).

 


OK, I can write and make it look like a radio script. Now what?

Once you've started using the template, check out my other web pages about: How to Write Radio Drama Cues,
Formatting Radio Drama Scripts for Fast Rehearsal and How to Prepare Radio Scripts for Production.

Lastly, I've created a blank radio script template  for MS Word that omits the example text.
You can download it here at RADIO_TMB.DOT


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TONY PALERMO is an audio theatre producer, performer, and educator living in Los Angeles, California.
He performs professionally, conducts workshops, and produces programs for hire.
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Last modified: 05/15/11