This paper introduces the Movie Script Markup Language (MSML), a document specification for the structural representation of screenplay narratives for television and feature film drama production. Its definition was motivated by a lack of available structured and open formats that describe dramatic narrative but also support IT-based production methods of audiovisual drama. The MSML specification fully supports contemporary screenplay templates in a structured fashion, and adds provisions for drama manufacturing methods that allow drama crew to define how narrative can be translated to audiovisual material. A timing model based on timed petri nets is included to enable fine-grained event synchronization. Finally, MSML comprises an animation module through which narrative events can drive production elements like 3-D previsualization, content repurposing or studio automation. MSML is currently serialized into XML documents and is formally described by a complement of an XML Schema and ISO Schematron schema. The specification has been developed in close collaboration with actual drama production crew and has been implemented in a number of proof-of-concept demonstrators.
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