Screenwriting: How To Lock Your Script Pages

In screenwriting, locking the pages is one of the final things that will happen to a script. This is required so that any changes made on set can easily be tracked. When changes are made, the revised pages are only actually circulated to those that need them. These pages need to be easily integrated into the existing script. There is scriptwriting software that can be used for locking pages. When material is added or removed, the material on the page does not change.

Step 1: Have Script Accepted

The first step is to have the script accepted. At this point, production will go ahead full steam. Even though the screenplay is accepted and locked, changes can still be made. However, when changes are made, all the numbers are the same so everyone knows exactly where they are no matter the changes.

Step 2: Numbering

Any type of numbering does not occur until the actual script goes to production. The scene numbering will always remain the same in locked pages, even if scenes are deleted and there is no longer a scene 7. Many times, this scene number will appear followed by the word omitted. Any new scenes will have the same number, but will be followed by a letter. These letters show which scenes have been added after the script is locked. Subpages can be added such as 10a and 10b as needed.

Step 3: Where the Edits Occur

The new edits are shown as they are marked by an asterisk. Any type of editing can occur as scenes can be omitted, added or revised.  Even if several pages are completely changed, then they still will remain in the script. The pages are left blank.

Step 4: Page and Section Breaks

These functions are your friends within the script when locking. No matter where the text or direction ends on the page, a new section on a new page is started directly after the break. Then, when text is added, it will fill in around these breaks. A section break will contain many pages within it, but page breaks can be used for each and every page.

Step 5: Software

There is special software that can be used that will keep all the page and section breaks within the script. This way it is possible to maintain the formatting for each section. It is possible to do this yourself within Microsoft Word, but if you plan on turning screenwriting into a career, then making an investment on some software can be a good investment. These software packages will have different styles and forms depending on the type of screenplay.

Step 6: Why Locking Is Needed

Locking is necessary because so many different departments and individuals will be using the script. When revisions are made, not everyone will get the new pages. Therefore, even though the different departments will have different versions of the script, everyone will all be in the same place when shooting page 123. Most of the time, the new pages will be printed on different colored paper. Without script locking, the entire production would be a mess, and shooting would be very difficult when changes were made.