Distinguishing Between a Script & a Screenplay

Script vs Screenplay

For those not involved in the film and TV industry, script and screenplay may seem like interchangeable terms referring to the story of a movie, play, or serial. While these concepts are similar, it is important to understand the differences between them, especially for those aspiring to make a career as a writer in the entertainment industry.


A script is a written document outlining the story on which a movie is to be based. It is called an outline because a movie involves the efforts of not only the writers but also the director, cameramen, producers, actors, junior artists, and many more before it takes concrete shape. The script may undergo several changes and sometimes may even require complete rewriting. However, it must follow a standard format to be clearly understood by everyone involved.

A scriptwriter must remember that their story will ultimately be converted into a visual medium, such as a movie. During the movie’s shooting, much improvisation may take place, so the scriptwriter may need to use words like picture, sounds, dialogue delivery, and cinematic effect to help the reader visualize what they will see on the screen.

Key Takeaways

  • Script is a generic term used in all types of media, while screenplay is specific to movies. Teleplay is the term for scripts of television serials.
  • Script is for the actors and others involved in filmmaking, while a screenplay is a type of script that focuses on the visual aspects and processes involved in making the movie.
  • All screenplays are scripts, but not all scripts are screenplays.


The term screenplay may be confusing for some people, as they might associate it with plays. While screenplays are written for plays, they are also used for TV serials and movies. However, a screenplay is not a play. It outlines a story to be converted into a visual medium like a movie or soap opera, with various components that must be put together and fastened in place. A screenplay is not a regular story in a magazine; it should enable readers to visualize the entire scene and feel like a participant rather than a bystander.

In summary, the main differences between a script and a screenplay are their usage in various media, their focus on different aspects of storytelling, and the fact that not all scripts are screenplays.

Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanovhttps://whats-different.com
Dmitri Ivanov, a writer and managing editor, was educated in Canada and holds a BS in Science. Dmitri loves doing research, writing, and teaching various courses.


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