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writers style guide

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Information for contributors to Study Guides.


Study Guides can be emailed as an attachment to Peter Tapp: (Microsoft Word). Study Guides should not exceed 5000 words, however an appropriate length should be agreed upon before commencing the guide.

Please keep all formatting to a minimum. The only formatting required is:

  • sub-headings to be in bold
  • film and book titles in italics
  • quotes over forty words to be indented
  • single space only between sentences; text double-spaced and left justified, no extra space between paragraphs.
  • use endnotes, rather than footnotes, and all references should follow the style guide, as below.

Writers are expected to thoroughly check their work for spelling, grammatical and typographical errors before submission; study guides with an inordinate number of errors, or that do not conform to our style guide, will be asked to re-submit.

Please include a brief, one sentence writer’s by-line to run at the end of the guide, and full contact details for our database.


The following points offer a basic style guideline, as of 2004. All articles submitted to ATOM for consideration must follow these guidelines.

  • film titles to be printed in italics, with name of director and year of production in brackets after first appearance of title
    • e.g. Eight Men Out (John Sayles, 1988)
  • actor’s name to be given in brackets after first mention of character name
    • e.g. Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) in Goodfellas (Martin Scorsese, 1990)
  • articles to be referenced with endnotes; endnote markers to be superscripted Arabic numerals, following all punctuation
    • e.g. ‘The look of a film comes out of the story’.i
  • referencing details as follows: author (including where possible first name, not just initial), ‘title of article’, title of book/journal, publishing house, city of publication, year of publication, page numbers (if relevant); for subsequent references, use ibid/op. cit.
    • e.g. Ien Ang, Watching Dallas, Methuen, New York, 1985.
    • e.g. Amy Taubin, ‘Playing it Straight’, Sight and Sound, August, 1996, pp.6-8.
    • e.g. Andrew Ross, ‘The Ecology of Images’ in M. Torgovnick (ed.), Eloquent Obsessions, Duke University Press, Durham and London, 1994.
  • quotes to be designated by single quotation marks:
    • e.g. Yannick Dahan claims in Positif, ‘Dark City is an irritating filmic object ...’
  • quotes within quotes to be designated by double quotation marks:
    • e.g. In her article on the mysteries of film marketing, Lyla Wilson notes ‘There are no hard and fast rules; as William Goldman famously declared “nobody knows anything”’.
  • if a quote is embedded within a sentence, the full stop follows the quotation marks (see above).
  • quotations of more than two sentences/four lines to be indented, without quotation marks; please indicate whether any emphases are yours or original.
  • web sites should be cited in full and followed by the date accessed. Details of articles published on the web should be referenced in the standard form, as above.
    • e.g. Kathy Pollit, ' Kristof to the rescue' , The Nation Accessed 18 March 2004.
  • ellipses are to be used to mark the omission of words within quotations
    • e.g. In a man’s interior world, perhaps there are secrets locked away; each one of us contains the best and the worst, by our material condition … Only the shining intoxication of fresh love can sometimes dissipate this dark threat: but let the new woman in a man’s life be discreet; the hidden places of the masculine self are forbidden to her and, above all, those where … past love lies.
      (note that only three points are used, with a space either side, even if the ellipses comes at the end of a sentence, in general, ellipses don’t figure at the beginning of stand alone [over forty words] quotes).
  • dates to be given as follows: 10 September 2001 (day-month-year, no punctuation)
  • eighteenth century (not 18th century, C18)
  • 1960s (not 1960’s, sixties, ‘60s)
  • First World War, Second World War (not WW2, World War 2, etc.)
  • numbers from one to ninety-nine are to be written out in full. Numerals for 100 onwards. The exceptions to this are 95-year-old, 2am (otherwise time is written out in full e.g. seven o’clock, ten to six)


  • filmmaker/filmmaking
  • documentary-maker, video-maker to be hyphenated; other hyphenated words: pay-TV, avant-garde, close-up, voice-over
  • preferred spellings: organize/realize/recognize; storytelling, travelled, scriptwriter, scriptwriting, arthouse, marketplace, per cent (two words) email, online (one word); web site (two words); DVD, CD-ROM (all caps), program (not programme)
  • foreign language words to be designated with italics (exceptions are words that are considered anglicized)
  • Cassavetes’ films, Mills’ books (not Cassavetes’s films, Mills’s books)
  • USA, UK, USSR, LA (not U.S.A., U.K. etc.)


In an effort to make all our guides consistent, where possible please follow this template:

  1. Introduction
  2. Synopsis/About the film
  3. Curriculum Links (any links mentioned should be discussed in the body of the guide; i.e. if you cite a link to History, you need to include a section on why the text is useful to History [see 5 below]). If you intend to write the guide as ‘cross-curricula’ please state this in the introduction.
  4. The body of the study guide should include relevant sub-headings (i.e. Themes and Issues, Before Viewing, After Viewing, etc.)
  5. Depending upon the subject matter of the film/documentary, the guide may require division into relevant subject areas so that it usefully addresses issues raised in each class (i.e. History, English, Media Studies). For example a Media Studies class may examine a film such as Bowling for Columbine (Michael Moore, 2002) in terms of the construction of the text whereas an English class might examine the themes and issues raised by the film.
  6. Conclusion
  7. Further reading and relevant web sites.

Please label any diagrams or charts with a number (i.e. Chart 1, Diagram 1).


ATOM is a non-profit organization and, unfortunately, are unable to pay our contributors anything representative of the effort that goes into an article. Book reviews are unpaid (the reviewer keeps their review copy), as are articles by full-time academics. We request that freelance writers negotiate payment for their work during the initial submission process, to avoid possible misunderstandings.

Please note that Metro and Australian Screen Education are available online. We ask that all writers sign a release form allowing their work to be published in this format.

If you would like to join our email Broadcast List for either Metro or Australian Screen Education, please forward email details to the office.

For further information, contact Sophie Gebhardt or Naji Dellal
P.O. Box 2040
St Kilda West
Victoria 3182 Australia
ph: (03) 9525 5302; fax: (03) 9537 2325; email:

i M. Helms, ‘Dark City: Interview with Andrew Mason and Alex Proyas’, Cinema Papers, no.124, May, 1998.


writers release form

arrowdownload the word version (*.doc, 69KB)






Dear Name,

Re. ‘Name of Study Guide’: Letter of Agreement

Thank you for submitting your study guide for review and consideration for publication by ATOM.

I am delighted to advise that ATOM would like to publish your study guide and sell it online as part of (‘The Education Shop’) on the following terms:

  1. A) In consideration of ATOM paying you a fee of amount in words ($    ) upon delivery of the study guide currently titled ‘Name of Study Guide’ to ATOM, you grant ATOM, subject to clauses 1b, 3, and 4, a non-exclusive license to exploit the study guide in all territories throughout the world and in all media whether now known or later devised, to ATOM in perpetuity.

    B) If you wish to republish this study guide you must wait twelve months after publication by ATOM and your new publisher must acknowledge that the article was first published by ATOM and then print ATOM’s publication web site ( In some circumstances, ATOM would be willing to waive the twelve-month window on publication but this would be considered on a case-by-case basis.

  2. You warrant that the study guide is your sole original work, is not defamatory, and does not breach any right, including copyright, of any third party.

  3. ATOM reserves the right to determine the date of publication of the study guide in print format and online as part of The Education Shop. ATOM will notify you of the date of publication. If ATOM does not publish your study guide within twelve months of receiving it from you, this agreement is null and void.

  4. You consent to ATOM editing, altering and making changes to the study guide in such manner as ATOM thinks is reasonably necessary to fulfil legal, policy or general editorial requirements. Any significant changes, besides spelling, grammar and punctuation, will be checked with the author before publication.

  5. You consent to ATOM publishing your name, approved likeness and selected biographical material for the purpose of publicity and promotion of the study guide and The Education Shop.

  6. You acknowledge and agree that ATOM is entitled to all revenue that may result from publication of the study guide online at The Education Shop.

Kindly indicate your acceptance of these terms by signing both original counterparts of this letter where indicated below. Please return one signed, original letter to ATOM and retain the other signed, original letter for your records.


Yours sincerely,


Peter Tapp

Publications Manager