Difference Between Script and Screenplay (With Table)

When starting in the graphical and digital world, you will come across the terms script and screenplay a lot. Some people even use the two terms interchangeably, which does create a lot of confusion. To assist you with the same, this article is dedicated to explaining to you the differences between script and screenplay and the references the two used.

Script vs Screenplay

The main difference between script and screenplay is that even if both are very commonly used in filmmaking and digital orientation, they differ in their underlying meaning. While a script is an initial form of any artwork, a screenplay is the conclusive and upgraded result of a script.

A script refers to the written form of any digital or manual artwork. It could be either manually drafted or generated through computer aid. One of the examples of the script is calligraphy. A script is mostly the spontaneous and initial form of any act or performance that may or may not be visual.

A screenplay strictly constricts to being a script that is used for television and movies. A screenplay consists of information that lays the foundation of the artwork in progress. A screenplay is the finalized and the most detailed structured outline for any artwork that is necessarily graphically visual.

Comparison Table Between Script and Screenplay

Parameter of ComparisonScriptScreenplay
DefinitionA script is the set of written details of a drama, act, or show.A screenplay is an outline of strictly a television or movie show.
MediumA script could be used for other mediums outside of visual.Screenplay strictly adheres to being a source of the visual medium.
ContentA script contains minimal stage direction and the superficial nature of dialogues expected of the performing individual.A screenplay is the upgraded version of the script that contains layered direction and pointy expected dialogue deliveries.
FormatA script will mainly contain the general vibe of the act along with a hinted overview of the backstory.A screenplay will contain point-to-point location preferences, scene durations, dialogues, and dissected backstory.
Generic statementIt is not essential for all scripts to be screenplays.All screenplays are necessarily scripts and are considered the modified version of them.

What is Script

The word script encompasses a massive range of definitions. The Latin word of the meaning of the word script is ‘to write’. A script is a manual, natural, and spontaneous hardcopy. A script is subject to changes, modifications, additions, and error reports before being finalized. A script could be for anything. You will require a script to officiate a wedding or to deliver at your graduation ceremony. The nature of a script is not limited to being visual.

When the computer language is considered, a script is a set of programs that  another group of programs runs. This is opposed to the general working where a bunch of programs is run by the processor. A script may also refer to an instructive sequence of images, files, and media. A script can also be a plan of action. An itinerary could be referred to as a scripted schedule. A script is a draft that is open to changes. It can be scribbled upon, newer details can be added, and any loopholes are fixed. A scrip is what is usually given to the acting or conducting personnel for them to have an idea about the requirements of the scene or act.

What is Screenplay




The term screenplay is strictly used in the references of a television or a movie show. A screenplay is the source of outline for anything that is graphically and visually pleasing. They could be called blueprints for movies and television shows. A screenplay demands creativity, attention to detail, and potential. A typical screenplay consists of scene locations, dialogues, action lines, the name of the characters, and an overview of the scene. Proper formatting is essential for the grasping and understanding of the drafted screenplay.

It is vital to understand that a screenplay has been a script, but it does not go the other way round. A screenplay comes to being after its prior writing has been modified and subjected to mandatory and structural changes. The best way to draft a screenplay is by using screenwriting software that takes care of the formatting and the content. Depending upon the time and acting required in the scene or act, the screenplay length may vary accordingly. A screenplay is the complete and finalized draft used as a reference for any shoot, recording or scene. A screenplay contains the required  demarcations of scenes along with the lines that help the acting individual better assess the dialogue requirements and the nature of the scene.

Main Differences Between Script and Screenplay

  1. A script is a written form of an act, drama, shot, or scene. At the same time, a screenplay is a manually formulated and computer-generated itinerary for a movie, television show, or visual performance.
  2. The term script can be used in the reference of games, coding, computer languages, dramas, stage acts, but the term screenplay can be used only in movies or television shows, necessarily the things that can be seen on screen.
  3. The script does not have to follow a writing format, but a screenplay must adhere to one.
  4. The term script is versatile and not restricted to being used in only the digital content creation genre, which is the case with the term screenplay.
  5. It is not necessary for all scripts to be screenplays, but all screenplays need to have been scripted previously.


English is a universal language, and often people mistake words that may start from the same sub-word. However, it is crucial to understand the difference between words that are often used interchangeably, which dilutes their meaning. Words need to be said while their meanings stay impacts because this is what any language demands. In the case of words like script and screenplay, both could be used interchangeably when talking about movies or wedding speeches. However, only one of the two sits right for each scenario. The term script is more inclined towards being globally used for any set of instructions for an act that has to be followed, not considering the order. On the other hand, a screenplay consists of content whose order is necessary to be adhered to and performed to perfection.


  1. https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/intellect/jwcp/2016/00000009/f0020001/art00009
  2. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-81-322-3957-4_4

About the Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff at Ask Any Difference is a team of experts in the field of "Difference Between" topics and led by Sandeep Bhandari, Piyush Yadav and Chara Yadav. Trusted by over 1.5 million readers worldwide
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