Screenwriting: Understanding Locked Script Pages

There are many different formats used in screenwriting. One such special script format is a locked script or locked script pages. This refers to a script that has been handed out to the actors, director and all departments and the actual numbers on the script do not change. This includes scene numbers, page numbers and basically anything that is numbered. Changes will be made from here, but only the pages that have been changed will be distributed, not the entire script. Therefore, the numbers need to be kept consistent so everyone knows where the pages fit into the script.

Locking Scenes

The scene numbers will remain the same in a locked script. If a scene has been deleted, then the scene number will appear with omitted after it. This happens for each deleted scene. A new scene that is added in this space will contain the scene number but also a letter, so an example would be scene 10 - omitted, scene 10a.  Any revisions to the existing scene will be marked with an asterisk in the right hand margin of the page.

Pages

Many times the script revisions will include adding new pages. The numbering will not change, but again letters tend to be added in. So there may be 3 different page 20s but they will numbered 20, 20a and 20b. Additionally, revised pages tend to be printed out on different colored paper. There is no set standard for what colors to use. It just makes it easier to see which pages are new based on the color. If a page has been completely deleted then it will still remain in the script. The page will have omitted written at the top.

Software

There is software that can be used for locking a script. Things can be added and changed, but all the correct numbering stays in place. This can make revisions and changes very easy. If you are planning to be a screenwriter, then investing in some special software is a good idea. Each type of software will come with different templates as the forms and styles will differ depending on the type of script.

Breaks

It is possible to do locking yourself with page breaks and section breaks, though the initial locking using the breaks will take time. Breaks are great tools, as no matter where the text is on the page the new section will occur directly after the break. Most breaks will automatically start the new section on the next page. New text can then be filled in around the breaks. Page breaks can be used for individual pages and section breaks are used for sections that contain many pages.

Importance

As mentioned previously, locking is important so that each department and individual uses the same version of the script. Many times only the individuals that need to get the revised pages will have them. Therefore, even though the actor may have a different version of page 32 which still details the scene 10 that occurs in a garden. This way the set dressers know what is needed, as do the costume designers and so on. If locking did not occur, then the production would not make sense as shooting would be very difficult when changes are made.