by Tony Palermo
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
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.
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.
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.
Shakespeare On The Air
1. MACBETH: That will never be. Who can impress the forest?
2. SOUND: THUNDER
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
6. SOUND: INTENSE BUBBLING-SLOWS-STOPS. THUNDER
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,
Lastly, I've created a blank radio script template for MS Word that omits the example
TONY PALERMO is an audio
theatre producer, performer, and educator living in Los Angeles, California.