Screenwriting: Understanding Top Continued and Bottom Continued

Top Continued and Bottom Continued are ways to indicate that a scene is continuing to the next page or from the previous page. However, in screenwriting today, this is not commonly done. If it is desired, screenwriting software, such as Final Draft or Movie Magic, can do this automatically.

Use of Top and Bottom Continued

Here is a sample scene.

INT. OFFICE BUILDING - CUBE FARM - DAY

A bunch of suits type away in their tiny cubicles.  They all look bored.  The most bored is JOE (25), who looks like he'd be more at home on the beach.

                                                JOE

            Why on earth did I take this job?

CAROL (45), pops her head over the cubicle walls, prairie dogging. She looks like she gave up a long time ago.

                                                CAROL

            Because you're a vampire. You can't go out in the sun anymore.

                                                JOE

            I hate being a vampire. 

                                                CAROL

            Life sucks.

 

Now, say there was a page break after Joe's first line. Using top and bottom continued, it would look like this.

INT. OFFICE BUILDING - CUBE FARM - DAY

A bunch of suits type away in their tiny cubicles. They all look bored. The most bored is JOE (25), who looks like he'd be more at home on the beach.

                                                JOE

            Why on earth did I take this job?

                                                                                                            (CONTINUED)

 

CONTINUED:

CAROL (45), pops her head over the cubicle walls, prairie dogging. She looks like she gave up a long time ago.

                                                CAROL

            Because you're a vampire. You can't go out in the sun anymore.

                                                JOE

            I hate being a vampire. 

                                                CAROL

            Life sucks.

Format of Top and Bottom Continued

First off, this is no longer commonly used. However, this is how it would be used. At the bottom of the page, on the far right, you would write, "(CONTINUED)" all in caps and parenthesized.

At the top of the next page, on the far left, you would write, "CONTINUED:" all caps, no parentheses. Screenwriting software can apply this to an entire script, and is recommended.

Continued for Dialog

This is commonly used in screenwriting and similar to the top and bottom continued. It is used when dialog extends from one page to the next.

For example:

                                                JOE
            This all started in high school. There was this tall, pale
            guy in my class. Some new girl really liked him. Then
            these other weird people came in, including this really
            crazy girl. She bit me, and now I can't go out in the sun
            anymore. Sparkle like diamonds? Whatever.

If there's a page break after the first two lines, it would look like this.

                                                JOE
            This all started in high school. There was this tall, pale
            guy in my class. Some new girl really liked him.

                                                (MORE)

 

                                                JOE (CONT'D)
            Then these other weird people came in, including this really
            crazy girl. She bit me, and now I can't go out in the sun
            anymore. Sparkle like diamonds? Whatever.

For the bottom of the page, aligned with the character name, write (MORE), parenthesized and all caps. For the top of the page, after the character name, write (CONT'D), parenthesized and all caps.

This is commonly done, and screenwriting software will do this automatically.