Chapter 7

Title Page Element

The Rules: Vertically centered on the page, type the play's title in all Caps, centered directly below type your name in mixed case.

Keep your title page simple - no oversized letters, color or fancy graphics. Being something of a minimalist, my title page might look something like this...

                                  BEEF JUNKIES
                                    Jon Dorf

An alternate method of presentation:

                           COLLISIONS IN AIR AND SPACE

                                   by Jon Dorf

For a musical:

                                     DAY ONE

                           Book and lyrics by Jon Dorf
                      Music by Mary Nelson and James Balmer

Your address, phone number, email address follows. Print it right justified (in the right half of the page) and as close to the bottom margin as you can get without wrapping onto the next page (or your agent's contact information, if you have representation).

The Rules: Should you put the draft number or the date on your script? I would argue "yes" to the draft number and "no" to the date. The draft number helps the theater tell one draft from another. For example, Tom Shade and Michael Gray, co-artistic directors of City Theater Company of Wilmington (DE), where I am the resident playwright, read new drafts of my plays on a regular basis. I would hate to have to tell Tom or Michael, "the latest draft is the one 92 pages long, not 94 pages." Printing a date on a script, while technically serving as distinguishing, has the negative impact of dating your work.

The Rules: Don't ever send out a First Draft!

What about a Copyright Notice?

Copyright notices are placed either below the address field on the right, or left aligned on the first line of the address block.

There are two schools of thought on whether to put a copyright notice on the title page. One argument is that it may deter would-be thieves from "borrowing" your work and shows that you know your rights. The opposite argument is that it's a sign of paranoia or amateurism.

Your script is copyrighted from the instant you write it, even though to receive statutory protection it needs to be registered with the Register of Copyrights; therefore including the copyright notice is redundant.

Here's what my complete title page might look like:

                           LAST RIGHT BEFORE THE VOID
                                    Jon Dorf

                                                           c/o The Writers Store
                                                             2040 Westwood Blvd.
                                                              Westwood, CA 90025
                                                                  (800) 272-8927
                                                                       DRAFT 2.3