Screenwriters Save the World!
My old friend Tamara (we've known each other since around 5th grade or so) has started a grass roots campaign to try to save some paper, and thus some trees. Called Change the Margins, the initiative has lofty goals that will require very little from any one of us. Think of it as environmentalism for the lazy man (or woman).
The idea is, if we all change our word processors to have narrower margins (the suggestion is .75" instead of the typical 1.25 inches per side), every document we print will consume less paper, and thus contribute to fewer trees killed worldwide. Admittedly, any one of us will have little effect on this issue, but if enough people make this change, the collective global impact could be substantial.
One goal the campaign has set, which could increase the impact of this measure is to try to persuade Microsoft to change the default margin settings on MS Word. There is a petition up at the site, and I hope you'll consider signing it, as I already have.
Now, it's true that screenplays have very rigid formatting guidelines, and most of us don't have the option of altering them when we submit our scripts. (I did, however, once encounter a script that had been submitted from a production company to the larger company, for which I was working. It contained a form note on the bottom of the title page that said that as an environmentally conscious company, they submit all screenplays printed double-sided. Nice!) Still, I did want to at least suggest a few changes that we, as screenwriters can make to contribute (in addition to changing the margins for our non-script documents).
I don't know about you, but I'm the type of writer who writes on the computer, but tends to do a lot of my editing on paper. After I finish a draft, I typically print it out and mark it up by hand. Well, those printed pages don't have to waste as much paper as they might.
One option you have is to change your settings so that you print 2 pages per sheet, instead of one. They will be printed side by side on the page, held with the long side of the page running along the top, instead of top to bottom. Thus, you are using half as much paper. And if you then go and print on both sides of the page, you are actually using 1/4 the paper you would have! It is true that the font size prints much smaller, but it isn't tiny, and your eyes adjust relatively quickly. And even if you still can't adjust to 2 pages per side, printing double sided should be standard for draft copies.
Another option is something that my parents have been doing for a long time. They have a stack of "dirty paper" by the printer. This is paper that they may have brought home from the office, or previously printed drafts on. The paper has stuff already printed on one side, but it is stuff that isn't important. The paper would have normally been thrown out. Instead, they use it to print drafts on the other, "clean" side. I've done this as well, and I highly recommend it for drafts, or other "unimportant" work pages.
It is easy for writers to close themselves up in their rooms and forget about the world outside. These have been a few simple steps we can all take to reverse that, and help save the world instead.
(And kudos to you, Tamara!)
Tags: Change+the+Margins, environmentalism, paper+conservation, screenwriting