how to write text messages in screenplay

Screenwriting 101: How To Write Text Messages In Screenplay

Writing effective and authentic message conversations in screenplays can be daunting. That’s where this article comes in. In this Screenwriting 101 guide, we will discuss and provide practical tips on how to write text messages in screenplay. You’ll also see an example that will help you write authentic text conversations in your script.


Writing Authentic Text Message Conversations

It is crucial to capture the nuances of text messaging in a script accurately. So that it can create a sense of authenticity and relatability for the target audience.

Pay attention to the tone, language, and cadence to write authentic text messages. Consider how people use abbreviations, emojis, and punctuation marks in their texts.

Additionally, you must also consider the context of each conversation, as texts can have different meanings and interpretations depending on the relationship between the individuals.


Formatting Text Messages In Screenplays

In Screenplays, text messages are formatted in a distinct way to differentiate them from regular dialogue. Video script templates in this regard may help you out, and lessen your formatting tasks. However, here are some tips on how to properly present text messages in your scripts:

Use uppercase letters: In professional screenplays, text messages are written in uppercase letters. This helps differentiate them from regular dialogue and ensures that they are easy to spot on the page.

Center-align the text: Text messages should be centered on the page. This makes them stand out from regular dialogue, which is typically left-aligned.

Include the sender’s name: The sender’s name should be written in uppercase letters above the message and separated from the message by a colon. This helps the reader identify who is sending the message and adds clarity to the conversation.

Use a consistent font: Use a consistent font for all text messages in your screenplay. This helps maintain the screenplay’s visual consistency and makes it easier for the reader to follow the conversation.

Don’t overuse texts: While text messages can be a valuable tool for screenwriters, it’s important not to overuse them. Text messages should be used to advance the plot or reveal character traits, rather than as a crutch for exposition.


Example Of Incorporating Text Messages In A Story

Here’s an example of writing a text message conversation in a screenplay:


Jane lies in bed, scrolling through her phone. Her phone vibrates with a new message.


Message from Alex: Hey, you up?

Jane types a response.


Message from Jane: Yeah, what’s up?


Message from Alex: Can’t sleep, want to grab some ice cream?

Jane hesitates for a moment before typing a response.


Message from Jane: Sure, meet you at the corner store in 10?


Message from Alex: Sounds good.

Jane gets out of bed and quickly changes into some clothes.



Jane and Alex meet outside the store. They walk in together, laughing and chatting as they head to the ice cream freezer.

As we can see from this example, the text message conversation is formatted in a way that is easy to read and understand. The conversation flows naturally. The use of text messages also establishes the characters’ personalities and relationships. 

Overall, this adds an extra layer of depth to the scene and helps to bring the story to life.


Craft Realistic Text Conversations

Text messages are a valuable tool for screenwriters to utilize in their storytelling, especially in montages. If you want to learn more about montage writing, have a look at our guide on how to write montage in script

However, they provide a modern and authentic way to reveal character traits and advance the plot. You can write compelling and engaging text message conversations in your scripts by implementing our tips and analyzing our example.

Remember to keep your texts concise and avoid overusing them. And most importantly, don’t be afraid to experiment with different approaches. With these skills, you’ll be on your way to crafting compelling and realistic text message conversations in your screenplays.


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