What I have learned about screenwriting.

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pattypicasso

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What I have learned about screenwriting.
« on: April 30, 2013, 03:39:52 PM »
I hope that I have posted this in the right topic.

I recently wrote a screenplay about 4 months ago, and finished it quite quickly. However, I did not fully grasp the concept of a screenplay. I mean, you're just writing a script for a movie; how hard can that possibly be?

It is not as easy as it seems, I learned that. I hired an editor to review my first draft, and when I received it in the mail, it was HIGHLY covered in red pen. I knew I had work to do.

If you are interested in writing a screenplay, but don't know how, I recommend purchasing a copy of "Screenplay" by Syd Field. I learned a lot from that book, applying it to my screenplay. I can honestly say I am quite proud of my new screenplay. I have already had three friends read it, and thoroughly enjoy it. They got emotionally involved and everything. Good signs.

Anyways, I would like to briefly discuss some things I learned about writing a screenplay. Again, these are the things I learned. It is not scientific fact. These are my views. Note: I am new to screenwriting, and I have never sold a script.

First, remember that a screenplay is a story told through a visual medium. It is a blueprint. Do not approach writing a screenplay as you would a short story, novel, paper, etc. Screenplays are stories that are told through action and dialogue, and only, action and dialogue. Set up a scene, then have character's actions and what they say tell your story. Don't put "Michael was visibly upset at his mother for not letting him go out that night." Instead show that through action and dialogue.

Michael slams his hands on the kitchen table, his face turning red with rage.

                 Michael
           I hate you, Mom! You never let me
           go out with my friends.

He storms out of the kitchen.


Second, always remember that a screenplay is a 3 act structure. A screenplay has a beginning, confrontation, and resolution. (Beginning, Middle, End). Make sure you have that structure. Establish your main character and what he/she is after in the first act. Give them confrontations and obstacles from getting what they want in the second act, and did they get it or not in the third act.

Third, get to the point. Try to write as little as possible while still telling the same story. If you want a producer/agent/studio/etc. to read it, don't make it to long. They may have to read a lot of scripts in one day. If it gets to long for them, they won't hesitate to stop reading it. You can have the greatest story on planet Earth, but if you overwrite, it won't get read. Just try to keep as much white space as possible. It is more pleasing to the eye.

Fourth, write a log line first. I wrote a screenplay and then had to figure one out. That was a mistake! I should have wrote a log line first, that way I based my story upon the log line, not the other way around.

These are some of the things I have learned, and if I have more things to share, I shall surely post.

Thanks for reading!  :)

What have you learned from screenwriting? I would love to know.






Aria

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Re: What I have learned about screenwriting.
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2013, 03:47:36 PM »
I've learned you have to find balance in opposites....

I.E

-Be as descriptive as you can.
-Confine descriptions to 3-4 lines.

Makes sense to writers though.  Certainly does to me.

You also have to be able to convince yourself the following:
-My script is not unoriginal.

Once you've done that you have to take it a step further:
-My script is interesting.

Your script can be as original as it gets but if it isn't interesting nobody is going to care for it...

Just two simple lessons I've learned out of millions of other ones :P

pattypicasso

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Re: What I have learned about screenwriting.
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2013, 03:53:02 PM »
Very good lessons.

I also learned that you should keep dialogue to a five line max. Again, a film is action and dialogue. If you need to have a character speak more, use action to break up the dialogue.

And always believe in yourself. You can write a screenplay. Don't give up!

Brey

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Re: What I have learned about screenwriting.
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2018, 07:33:36 AM »
What I've learned over the years is that screenwriting is tough. It doesn't come naturally to me at all. But practice does make it easier so I guess I'll keep practicing.