How To Write A Short Film Script – Tips

How To Write A Short Movie Script Fast

I posted two videos for this post, presenting ideas from two different kinds of movie professionals. The first delivers 10 tips for writing a short film script based on a budget of ‘zero’, or at least, very little. Mark Hertzler makes some very good points, the biggest one being the fact that, if you are the writer AND film-maker, then what you write is directly affected by your resources.

Basically, you try to make do with whatever you have at hand and really cut down on the expenses. It sounds a bit lame, but some of the best award-winning short movies were made with a seriously short budget, so the process is not to be scoffed at.

Interesting enough, although the second video is promoting a film writing course, it touches on the same points, namely, if your film script would be very costly for the producer, it won’t get made – period! Expensive casts of thousands, fantasy science fiction, weird costumes and exotic locations are out.

I like the look of the course he proposes, but seriously – $47 a month for beginning writers is a bit too salty, at least in my view. By far the most interesting proposal I’ve seen for help with screenwriting comes form a script writer called James Lamberg and the course is called ‘Movie In A Month’.

How to write a movie script for a short film - MovieInAMonthCourse-728x90Static

He’s the guy you’ve never heard of but is responsible for over 30 commercially successful movie scripts, and his testimonials are phenomenal. He’s also got he best guarantee on the net – write and sell a movie script within 12 months or your money back. ‘Nuff said.

On with the next reel – 10 Tips For Writing A No-Budget Short Movie.

Video Transcript:

Hello and welcome to the debut episode of the screenwriters show. I’m your host Mark Hertzler. Now seeing as this at the very first episode, let me tell you a little bit about the show. Like you probably are yourself, I’m an aspiring screenwriter and I’ve written dozens of screenplays from shorts, feature-length, TV and everything in between.

I’m also a film major at a CSU university. I’ve always been a fan of the film shows around YouTube and while some of these cover segments on screenwriting. There’s no one definitive channel for all your screenwriting needs and that is what I’m trying to set out to remedy.

We’ll be doing regular episodes with screenwriting tutorials like the one today, as well as vlogs and script reviews. Now that we got that out the way, let’s jump into the very first episode and it’s my 10 tips on ‘How to write a no budget short film script’.

Number one is working with what you got and whether that’s a location that you have access to that someone might not have access to or a prop or a special costume. You’re gonna want to take advantage of what you already have.

https://youtu.be/z5GzoCbpOwY

How do you write a short film script?

Somehow write it in your script, whether it’s for scene or you can even base your entire script around a location or property you hve access to. Not only is this a very good prompt and basis to start your screenplay but it’s also gonna add a lot of production value for zero cost to you. For example, I used to work on a movie theater that was allowed to film app so I worked that into four of my scripts.

Number two is find your budget. I would define a no budget film anywhere from zero to about a thousand dollars and you might think that kind of sounds like a lot, but the reality is that you’re at least gonna have to pay for food for every single person on set per day.

Knowing your budget is essential because if you have a little extra dough you can have a little more leeway and maybe write in a couple props that you wouldn’t normally write in. For a true zero budget film, if you have no budget at all, you’re not gonna want to write in anything extra at all. Everything needs to be something you already have access to. So what this will do is, it will set the parameters of what you can and cannot write.

Number three is write to your skills. Just like you might have access to a special location, you also might have a certain skill set that can aid in the production process.

For example, if your visual effects, by all means you should write that into your script, because that way you’re gonna add a lot of production value to the end product with zero costs to the production.

Number four is use screenwriting software. And this might seem like a no-brainer to some of you more experienced screenwriters out there, but for directors and other filmmakers who are kind of just dipping into the screenwriting process to make an end product I found that this is actually kind of a problem among beginning directors.

People don’t want the hassle of formatting a script because it’s a little bit alien to them and it seems like a lot of work but in reality there are free software’s you can get like Celtx which I’ll leave a link in the info box below. They can do all the work for you.

What this will do is, it will help you break down your script and see how long production is going to be, how many characters you have, how many scenes you have, etc, etc and it’ll just help you a lot in the production process as well as the writing process.

Short Movie Scripts

Number five is hook the viewer within 30 seconds or half a page or so. Now this might seem like something that’s really hard to do but all you need to do is set up some sort of conflict or mystery within the first half a page or so.

This can be something as simple as an argument between two characters, some sort of mystery item or situation or setting that the character is within, or can be just any old hook that’s gonna get your audience or readers interested within the first page.

Number six is keep it as short as literally possible. This is really important for the no-budget screenplay because every minute or page of screenplay is gonna run you more production costs, so keeping it 5 pages or under is gonna give you your best bet to keep that budget down closer to zero.

Number seven is, unless you’re writing comedy, try to keep dialogue to a minimum. I say this because action-oriented screenwriting is going to be a lot more effective and communicate something to your audience in a fraction amount of the time that dialogue would.

Let’s say for example, guy likes a girl and he talks to his friend for about a page of dialogue explaining why he likes this girl, how they met, what he knows about her. You can do all of this and a fraction about the time if you use an action oriented scene by having this guy maybe make extended eye contact with the girl.

He gets nervous around her when she walks by or comes talks to him. A lot of people struggle with this and think that you absolutely need dialogue in your screenplay in order for it to work good. Good practice for this – if you’re one of those people – is to write a 1 to 3 page screenplay with absolutely zero dialogue and that will help you practice storytelling techniques without dialogue and also prove to you that you can tell a story without dialogue.

how to write a short movie scriptNumber eight is limit your characters and locations. You want as few characters as possible to keep the cast low and to keep that food money cost bound. And as little locations as you can have because that will also run you more gas and production days, etc.

For example, I just wrote a no budget or low budget film for a production company and I was given the rules that the cast has to be three to four characters max, and use locations around a certain part of a city. Combine characters when possible, cut locations when possible.

Number nine is avoid cliches, and by cliches I’m talking about themes like characters getting ready for their day at work or just their general day by getting breakfast and showering etc. And also certain genres like the zombie genre, the drug deal gone bad cliche, Tarantino kind of copy.

I say this because this is pretty much a go-to for any beginning filmmaker and people in the industry are really wary of these types of films. Now I’m not trying to bash anyone here with this because I can say from personal experience three out of five of my first screenplays were actually one of these cliches I just mentioned.

But while I’d say if you have to write one of these genres, just because you have a calling for it, either one, make sure it’s a fresh and original take on this or cliche. Write the screenplay, get it out of your system then do another screenplay and then film that second screenplay.

Number 10 is avoid sci-fi and fantasy. I say this because generally these two genres are gonna have a much larger budget than other genres would. It’d cost you a lot of props, costumes, set-piece and other sort of costs to your productions.

Alright, that’s a wrap on the debut episode of the Screenwriter Show. Remember to like and subscribe and keep updated for more videos coming soon. I also have some suggested watching of my favorite no budget short films – I’ll leave them in the info box below, as well as one of my scripts and a book on no budget film-making.

How To Write A Short Movie Script On A Budget PDF

Writing Movie Scripts That Sell

https://youtu.be/OI_PtNn-Y1c

Video Transcript:

Okay, so let’s say you’ve got an idea for a movie. Now in order for that idea to actually become a movie it has to go through two major stages. First you have to turn the idea into a screenplay and then second, we have to turn the screenplay into a film.

Now the writer manages that first stage but it’s the producer who manages the second stage. So as the writer you need to make sure you’re writing screenplays producers can actually use, otherwise you just end up writing for your bookshelf.

Now my name is Jeff Paolo and as an independent producer based in Sydney Australia I spent over 10 years searching for screenplays to produce. In that time my production company received over 15,000 submissions from across Australia and around the world and what I discovered was that 99% of them were literally unusable.

And not just by me but by any production company. We’re talking about thousands of writers spending months or years working on screenplays producers can’t even use and producers around the world digging through mountains of submissions and coming up empty-handed.

That’s a lot of people spending a lot of time getting nowhere. So to try to solve this problem we decided to bridge the gap. What if there was a clear path from the idea in your head all the way through the entire process? A complete and comprehensive, step-by-step system for turning any idea into a compelling original screenplay producers could actually use and then get that screenplay into the producers hands not.

How long to write a short scriptJust another screenwriting course but a screenplay development system where each step builds organically into the next, because here’s the thing – it doesn’t matter if you’re writing a big Hollywood blockbuster or an Australian indie or a European arthouse film or even a micro budget movie – you’re going to shoot in your own backyard to go from idea to the screenplay.

The process is always the same. I’ll prove it to you. You’ve got an idea for a movie so what do we do now? How do we go from idea to the page? Well let’s walk through it. First you have to explore your ideas and focus them into a story, such as with an outline.

Then you have to apply that story to the page by writing a first draft. Then you have to strengthen that story by rewriting, to fix any holes and make sure it’s effective. And then finally, you have to tweak the words on the page to engage the reader and pull them through your story, so that when someone picks up your screenplay they see your idea as a movie experience.

Well guess what? It doesn’t matter where you are, or what you want to write, or what level you’re at. Every writer must go through these four phases. That’s how we get from idea to the screenplay. The only problem is that that doesn’t actually guarantee a screenplay producers could really use.

Because screenwriting isn’t just about the writing. You also have to connect with that producer who’s going to turn your screenplay into a film and the only way that’s going to happen is if you’re aligned with them. If your idea your screenplay is something they want to make, and something they can make, so before you even start this process you need to understand what producers actually need in a screenplay and why they need these things.

So that you’re set up to create screenplays any producer could actually use and then once you’re finished with the process you need to be able to use notes and feedback to reshape your script, if necessary, to align with the exact needs of any specific producer.

How to write a short film script

Because that’s when you’ll have a production ready screenplay producers can actually use but ultimately even that is destined for your bookshelf unless you complete the process and connect with the producer who’s perfect for your project.

By capturing their attention, drawing in and making the deal because that’s the payoff of the writers stage of this complete process. You know ultimately there’s no one right way to tell a story. There’s no single formula that’s going to work for every idea in every situation.

Each writer and every project are intrinsically unique but if you think about it, the process is always the same and that’s why to bridge that gap between writer and producer we turn the process into a system. We called it Fast Screenplay.

What we did basically was reverse-engineer the complete screenwriting process from the producers perspective, so that each step guides you directly to the sale. We took everything you need to know every skill you need to master and every action you need to take and we carefully mapped it out into a clear path.

All in all it’s pretty simple. Everyday you simply log on to the website from anywhere in the world and get the next step. As you complete each step, you make your way through the process. Through every phase, every movement and every detail.

Short movie script writingIf you want you can interact with other writers from around the world, or do your own thing in your own space, in your own time – it’s entirely up to you. Because you know, what as long as movies are made producers, will need fresh original screenplays.

Right now technology is opening up unprecedented opportunities for writers and filmmakers around the world, but the one thing technology can’t do is, it can’t put your idea on the page. Only you can do that take action daily. Do one step at a time and keep moving forward through the complete process. Join Fast Screenplay today and we’ll make sure you do. Thank you.

http://fastscreenplay.com/

 

Writing A Movie Script

Writing a movie script

This is the second video from Dr Allen, Film Studies Professor, Pittsburgh, PA, where he explains the last 5 of his 10 principles of writing a movie script. You can see the first video here.

Number six – this is something where it’s almost like icing on the cake. You want to ground each scene through things that you add that are relatable, quirky and unique to your own voice.

These are those little touches that go beyond cliche, that go beyond the work of an amateur and that add just that special something, that special detail that separates you from an average writer and shows evidence of you being a great writer.

How To Write A Movie Script

When does the course start and finish? The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course – you decide when you start and when you finish. This is a fantastic way to start writing a movie script and contains all the basics you need. How long do I have access to the course? How does lifetime access sound?

So an example of that would be the dialogue scene between Jules and Vinnie Vega in Pulp Fiction. They’re talking about a Royale with cheese and what things are called in Europe versus America and it’s a it’s a very quirky scene. It’s also a scene that’s unique in Tarantino’s voice, because the year before with Reservoir Dogs Quentin Tarantino got to go to the Khans Film Festival and he got to go to Europe.

While he was there clearly he made certain observations about these fast-food joints and about where you could take up here in a movie theater, and where you could get drugs and things like that. These details then spill over into the dialogue between Vincent Vega and Jules, between John Travolta and Samuel Jackson.

How To Start Writing A Movie Script Step By Step

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oRRl8KQ-Oz4

These are quirky details that ground the scene, that make these characters more realistic, more relatable and it gives an edge of believability and uniqueness to Tarantino’s writing. That John Travolta and Samuel Jackson would both be nominated for Oscars for their performance is just another indicator that these subtle touches took Tarantino’s writing of Pulp Fiction from being average to extraordinary.

If you do these things in your own writing, add those little details that personalize it that that somehow put your own touch, whether it’s a note about how a character dresses or a note about just those little things, that you observe in your day-to-day life – it has to be something that only you can put in.

It can’t be something that you got from somebody else or something that you’re copying. It has to be unique observations that you’ve made yourself. After all this is your story, not somebody else’s. So these that I’m talking about are extra touches and details that only you could add because you have a unique perspective that no one else has.

So these ways of grounding your scenes. These are going to be things, that if you do it, it’s going to appear one way, but if someone else did it it’s gonna appear another way. But it’s not like one way’s right and another way is wrong. It’s just that you need to add those little moments that only you can add to each scene through your observations of everyday life.

Number seven – you have to play on your reader, on your viewers fantasies. Why do I say this? Well a great movie, a great screenplay is always going to have a fantasy element. Even a drama, even a true-to-life drama has to have a fantasy element.

You’ve got to take your reader, your viewer somewhere that they wouldn’t ordinarily get to go. So for instance 1991’s Boys in the Hood. Wow! It’s a realistic drama about urban life for african-american youth in the summer of 91. It’s still a fantasy because that’s a life that most people don’t live.

Writing a movie script for dummies tipsThere’s a sense of vicariously living through Ice Cube’s character, through Ricky’s character, through Trey’s character and a sense of vicariously living through their world. Even though it’s a real-life situation, it’s still a fantasy because it’s a complete world.

Through the music, the milieu, things like that – you are on a journey. Well you want to make sure you’re, you have a sense of that. You want to make sure that you give your reader, your viewer a complete sense of that world.

This is why I think boys in the hood was such a successful film, earning fifty seven million dollars in 1991, even though it only costs seven million dollars, because John Singleton does an excellent job of painting that world.

You get a sense of the music, you get a sense of the style, you get a sense of the the apprehensions, the aspirations of each character. You just feel it. It’s not like it’s a story that’s action-packed from beginning to end, but you get so caught up in the characters and in their world.

You really care when Ricky gets killed at the end, because singleton is completely painting a picture of a world. It’s a fantasy world with gangsters, with drugs, with crack moms with prostitutes, but also with with with a young man trying to make it in the NFL or at least trying to make it to usc’s football team.

A young man trying to make it to college, you know furious styles, as played by Laurence Fishburne, you know he’s the dad that everybody wants. He’s tough. He says the right things. He can break things down. He’s wise. It’s a fantasy even though at the same time it’s set in a realistic situation.

This is also why James Bond is such an enduring character, because the average male wants to be able to woo the females and be able to do any sport imaginable, whether skiing or boating, or horseback riding. You know there’s not any athletic sport that James Bond can’t do.

 

He has all the clothes, he has all the the gadgets, the cars, you know. This is a fantasy figure and then he goes to all the exotic locales and things like that.

James Bond is more like a commercial than it really is like a narrative. You take this male figure and it’s where is he going to go next and the viewer follows him on his adventures. It’s not important who the villain is. It’s not even important who the girl is.

How to start writing a movie script guidelinesIt’s just important that there’s gonna be a villain, that there’s going to be a girl, that there’s gonna be exotic locales, that there’s gonna be lots of money spent, great cars, cool gadgets you know, and a little bit of sex thrown in.

This is the fantasy element and this is why James Bond up until recently has been the most successful franchise. Now it’s been beat by Harry Potter, although Harry Potter still hasn’t beaten James Bond if you adjust for inflation, but how can you provide your reader your viewer with a sense of fantasy?

You’ve got to take them to a world that they can’t otherwise get access to. Then you’ve got to paint that world so completely that it’s like they’re there. You’ve got to establish it through every little detail because even if this is your everyday world like, for instance, clerks with Kevin Smith, it’s an everyday world.

Its clerks working in a convenience store. He’s able to play in a world that for most people that’s not their life, so there’s a fantasy element to it. Play on that get your characters to do things that your audience, if they were in that situation, would want to do, but wouldn’t have the guts to do.

So that’s why the clerks are being so mean to the customers and they’re able to take a break and play hockey on the roof and you know use all kinds of fouling. These are things that you can only do in your fantasies if you work in that kind of job, because if you did it in real life you would lose your job.

So you want to figure out ways to create a fantasy for your viewers, for your readers and then you just want to have fun with it. Create a world painted in detail and then do things with your characters in that world that your readers would only dream about doing if they were really stuck in that world. You have an opportunity to let your readers vicariously do things through the characters that you’re creating.

Number eight – work hard to make every one of your scenes memorable. I know this is gonna be hard but you got to work hard. Do your best to make every single scene in your film in your script memorable, but certainly, even if you can’t make every scene memorable, you’ve got to make at least four scenes unforgettable.

Every great movie has at least three to four unforgettable scenes. If you look at the 100 greatest movies, these are all not just great characters, these are all not just great fantasies, these are movies with unforgettable scenes.

Steps to writing a movie script for a beginnerMatter of fact, I think one of the things that AFI should do are the 100 most memorable scenes but anyway think about great movies. The Godfather – you don’t just think about The Godfather, you don’t just think about Brando and Pacino.

Although you think about these things, you think about the horse’s head, you think about Sonny getting shot at the Tollbooth, you think about ‘leave the gun take the cannolis’, you think about all these different components that make the movie great.

These are memorable scenes, unforgettable scenes. You have to have memorable scenes. A great film just has to have that but it’s imperative that you have four unforgettable scenes. Pulp fiction has unforgettable scenes. There’s stuff that happens in Pulp Fiction that you will never forget.

You’ve got to be shocking. You’ve got to be different. You’ve got to be over-the-top sometimes but you got to make sure that you’ve got at least four scenes that are unforgettable. If you leave the audience with four scenes that they’ll never forget, they’re never gonna forget your movie.

If a person is reading your script and you leave them with four scenes that they’re never gonna forget, they’re never gonna forget your script. So that’s important. You want to work hard to make sure that every scene is memorable but you’ve got to have at least four scenes that are unforgettable.

Number nine – you’ve got to make sure that you take your reader, your viewer on a journey. One thing I love in a film is where by the end I feel like I’ve gone on a journey. I’m gonna latch on to that protagonist, to that main character and go on a journey.

I love that and I absolutely love a film that takes me to a place that’s unexpected. The first 30 minutes of the film, it’s establishing an ordinary world. I love it where I end up in the third act, is someplace totally unexpected by the first act. I love that.

It’s just there’s a great sense of it if I already know where the film is going, and I already have a sense of what to expect in the first act. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the film’s gonna be terrible but I love to be pleasantly surprised.

There are a great number of films that have done that for me but I think it’s important for you as a writer, for you as a filmmaker, to have a story that takes your viewers, takes your readers on a journey. How does that work?

Writing a movie script step by stepWell as I said earlier, the first 30 minutes of your film, if we’re dealing with a two-hour feature, are the establishment of your ordinary world. In keeping with Joseph Campbell’s sense of the hero’s journey, the hero, the main character, the protagonist, has to receive a call that more than likely he’s going to initially refuse.

But then he accepts and he goes on a journey. He goes to what’s called an extraordinary world. That extraordinary world should be where you create the fantasy. Then he comes out of that extraordinary world into where he’s going to resolve things for this story, and that’s where things can really get exciting and can really get unexpected.

It’s important to do, as I mentioned earlier, to create a last act that’s a commentary on the first act. Like Aristotle says, you don’t want to begin or end your story haphazardly. There’s a reason why your story begins where it begins and there’s a reason why it ends where it ends.

George Lucas has a great quote about how a son’s life is always going to be a commentary on the father’s life, and I think that’s that’s true and his interest and father-and-son relationships plays out in Star Wars.

Luke Skywalker’s life is very much a commentary on Anakin Skywalker’s life, so Star Wars four, five and six is essentially the adventure of Luke Luke Skywalker. Whereas Star Wars one, two and three is The Adventures of Anakin Skywalker. If you take Luke’s life as a commentary on Anakin’s life, it creates something that’s very interesting.

Infographic 8 Movie Elements

What I’m stressing here is the idea of taking your viewer, your reader on a journey but it can’t just go anywhere. The ultimate place, though unexpected, still has to have a poetic relationship to the beginning. So that even, though the last act is unexpected, when people get there they’re like ‘oh that ties together rather well’.

This was the kind of ‘aha’ moment that I had while watching episode 3, because even though the story was backwards, there was a tremendous poetic relationship. It’s not a coincidence that Yoda’s entering his ship which is shaped like his house at Dagobah with two setting crescent moons.

Well that’s a commentary visually on the end of the Jedi, just like when we first see Luke. He’s in a desert looking at two suns. The two suns are counter to the two setting moons because we’re seeing the twilight of the Jedi as Yoda enters a ship, and then with Luke we’re seeing the rise, a new hope.

Writing a movie script template structureIn essence, Luke looking at those two suns is the visual motif of that new hope. You have a commentary, so it’s not haphazard try to do something similar. Come up with an unexpected, come up with an unexpected ending for your story, that’s set up by your opening act.

But at the same time give it a poetic relationship so that people can say on their second viewing ‘Wow that does tie together, that makes a lot of sense, even though I had no idea it was going there’. Now that I see where, when – I can see how he was telling me that, or she was telling me that and giving me a hint that that’s where it was going all along.

This is what makes the sixth sense such a great film because when you go back and watch it you realize man the answer was right there in front of us, even though we couldn’t see it.

The last and most important element to great screenwriting is number 10 and that is to be true to yourself. There’s an old saying which says ‘write what you know’. Well that’s a little tricky. Does that mean write only what you know about?

So if you’re not an astronaut you should never write about astronauts? Or if you’re not a drug dealer you should never write about drug dealers? Or if you’re not a minister you should never write about Church?

I think that you can’t look at it that way because part of storytelling is using your imagination. I would rather say be true to yourself meaning write a story that only you can tell. Share a perspective that only you can share. Don’t try to share someone else’s perspective.

Don’t try to write like Lucas or try to write like Tarantino or try to write like Shyamalan or try to write like John Singleton. These are all filmmakers, writers who I admire in one way or another, and all who have been imitated in one way or another. But all who ultimately I’ve had to abandon to some degree in order to come to grips and to come to accept my own voice.

The last most important thing you should do is be true to yourself. Share a story from your perspective. You’ve got to take your viewers, your readers to a unique place that only you can take them. If one person tells the story of being an American, it’s gonna be different from another American’s story of being an American.

If one person tells a story of being a Pittsburgher, it’s going to be different from another person’s story of being a Pittsburgher. If one person tells the story of being an african-american father with a wife and two kids, somebody different from another person’s story of an african-american father with a wife and two kids.

Essentially I’m sharing my own situation. You’ve got to put your spin on it, your twist on it. You’ve got to do that. You’ve got to make sure that your story is essentially loaded with your personality, your perspective. Now some people will disagree with me because there’s a big debate in film studies now about auteur theory and that the film doesn’t really reflect a filmmakers personality etc etc.

In my opinion this was really all just an argument that enabled filmmakers to not have to take responsibility for the work they created, because if viewers were going to constantly be perusing their work to get clues into their personality it made filmmakers self-conscious.

The bottom line is you’re not going to spend six months a year on writing a script if it doesn’t interest you somehow, if it doesn’t appeal to your personality somehow. There’s going to be things that you’re not going to do because they don’t agree with your sensibilities, therefore it stands the reason that the things that you are doing somehow appeal to your sensibilities in some way shape or form.

So since that’s going to be the case, go all out make sure that you’re choosing stories, that you’re choosing narratives, that you’re creating characters and letting viewers and readers in on worlds that are reflective of sensibilities that you ultimately want to disseminate to the world, and give the world access to you.

How To Write A Script For A Short Film – Screenplay Tips

How to write a script for a short film template

Like many novel writers, I often find myself thinking in terms of moving images. I visualise my story and play a short movie in my head – so why not write the story in the form of a short film instead? The format isn’t like writing a novel. Show, not tell is obviously more important, and there are also certain formatting rules that have to be strictly followed.

After deciding to outline a screenplay for an idea I had for a short movie, I researched the internet for ‘how to’ articles and videos about writing movie scripts. Normally, I go for free resources, and as they say, ‘you pay your price and take your chance!

I have natural aversion to paying for script writing courses …

… when there’s so much free advice on the internet, until I came across ‘Movie In A Month’, a DVD course put together by James Lamberg. If you’ve never heard of him, it’s because he has mostly ghost-written over 30 commercially successful movies for USA and UK audiences.

Apart from the fact that the course is sent by physical DVD (quite rare nowadays) the testimonials from professionals are an eye-opener. I guess the lessons are DVD based because of the amazing guarantee that comes with the package, which I’ll get into right now.

In short, I have never seen such an impressive guarantee for any product offered on the internet. Basically, James promises that you will sell a movie script within a year of taking the course! If not, simply return the DVD in good conditions and get refunded 100%.

That’s not all. As well as showing you how to write a movie script fast, guidelines are given for submitting it in the right format, and even who to send it too to ensure it gets noticed. Check it out below and oh, by the way – it’s perfect for beginners who know nothing about the industry.

How to write a script for a short film - MovieInAMonthCourse-728x90Static

How To Write A Script For A Short Film – Josh’s Tips

Video Transcript:

Hey guys what’s up? It’s Josh WRD here bringing you a brand new video. Today is episode 2 of ‘How to make a short film’. This episode we are talking to you guys about script writing tips and tricks, and some inspirational links and just places that I found that have really helped me write my first scripts.

I spent the last like four months really, just like doing research, learning the ins and outs and really, like yeah, if there’s a lot more that goes into this, then this video will actually cover. But I thought this would give you kind of a good stepping stone or hopefully get the ball rolling for you guys to get your first script started.

Tips for how to write a script for a short filmThis is it right here. It’s not very long or anything. I don’t know if you can even see this okay. So first off you have your idea, like in the first video and that’s great. Now you need to know how to write a script, so there’s a whole bunch of links that I’m going to talk to you guys about.

In this video the first thing that I really wanted to do, to understand how to write a short script is to read scripts and I actually saw in a bunch of other videos that reading scripts is a really good start.

The first link that I’m going to give you is it’s like an Internet Movie Database, so IMDB for scripts and downloading scripts for yourself. And the first script that I downloaded is right here on the front page – ‘la-la land’.

I love Damien Chazelle and to see how he writes. I really wanted to, like, break down ‘lala land’ because it was my favorite movie last year, and I was just like all encompassed in this film.

I have it printed somewhere but I just to like use that as a stepping stone. To see how, here I’ll just click through here and show you guys just how easy this site is. I can’t really see, I got the camera kind of in the way here, so read ‘la-la-land’ script.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LF8Ds9zsduU

There we go. So as you can see, it is right here. I’m going to have all the links in the description below but go to ‘imsd’ be calm and read scripts instantly because that is the first thing that I did and that really did actually help me out.

Next thing you’re going to have to do is learn what like how scripts are put together. So I put a link in the description for this wiki how to page. Says ‘how to write a movie script’ so here’s just a quick overview of the stuff that you’re going to see in that understanding what a script is.

Read the scripts of some of your favorite movies. Well there you go. That’s what I just told you to do. Number three – flesh out your concept. Outline your story. Write the story in three acts because that’s every movie has three acts, if you didn’t know that.

Short movie script writing template

Udemy Script Writing Course For Beginners

To add some sequences, start writing your scenes. Begin writing dialogue. Cut away the dead weight and show your finished work to your friends. And that is the one that is, like, there’s been a lot of edits on my first script.

I have a writing partner in my friend Ben who went to school to become a writer, so I’m really fortunate to have a friend that is helping me out in this. He doesn’t have as much time as he used to in to write all the scripts, so I thought I would try and take this everything on myself and kind of encompass it into this channel.

The number one thing I could say as filmmaker in general is get, or hopefully you have, a friend that is already a writer like I do. Because that makes everything, the jumping off points, so much easier.

But if this is more, how to get you started, if you aren’t going to really be a screenwriter the whole time or if you just want to start making your own movies. So there you go. There’s another link for you guys.

So next I’m going to talk to you guys about the program that I used to write my first script and that is Celtx. It is a free script writing program online. Just go to https://Celtx.com I got the link in the description below.

Short film script writing guidelinesHere’s a few scripts that we’re working on. That’s the first rendition of Game Night. This is the actual script that for the short film. These are a whole bunch of, like premium things, that you can do with Celtx. As well as budgeting, storyboarding, index cards, breakdowns, shot lists, all that stuff.

It costs money but the script writing portion of this program is free and you can collaborate with your writing partner like I am with Ben. So here it opens up in a new window and this is, this is the entire script for Game Night.

So there’s just a little sneak peek. That’s all you guys get. I don’t want to show you too much because I want to keep the short film as spoiler free as possible. As well as breaking it down and going into how I’m creating it as I’m doing it, I don’t know if that’s going to be an easy process or not.

This is just another tip that has really worked out for me is, because I forget stuff, so have a little note notepad and if you’re watching a movie or TV shows just have it beside you. And if you see something that you really like, jot it down like ‘uh wow, the reveal of this character was really cool’ or they only showed this character wearing red and red had a lot of meaning to this particular film, or something and I really like the symbolism behind that.

I write down all that type of stuff in my notebook and just for cues for later. Like, I really knew the tone that I wanted for Game Night so I started watching a bunch of movies with in that same tone.

And I started borrowing a few ideas of the different movies and TV shows sort of had in that same kind of tone and that’s just a really cool way to inject other things that you might otherwise forget about while you’re at the writing process.

Celtx movie script writing softwareI rewrote a lot of stuff after, I looked back at my notes as well, so like, this has been a really good thing for me. In trying to put this whole thing together, lastly I just wanted to show showcase a few other YouTube channels that really helped me out when I when it came down to writing my first script.

And the main one that I’ve been a fan of for a long time is ‘Lessons from the Screenplay’. He does like, video essays and breakdowns of like, a lot of TV shows and movies that I really like. But he brings up what was actually on the screenplay first to show you how different things are from like the writing process to how they’re actually made on screen.

Or if there’s some improvisation or just stuff like that and it’s really cool and it really helped me kind of understand. It just really helped me understand the the writing processand it makes you again think a little bit differently of how to watch movies as well.

Like, for me, I’ve been watching movies probably differently than you watch movies for the majority of my life because I’ve been making short films and videos with my friends since I was a young kid. And I started watching movies on ‘how are they creating this? how are they putting this together?’

And I think that’s why I am so desensitized to horror movies and they don’t scare me anymore, because my mind is always thinking ‘oh how are they accomplishing this Gore? how are they doing this?.

I really want to break it all down and see the behind the scenes of this and that’s just how I always watch movies, unless I’m watching them to review them. I watch them a little more objectively than that. I don’t know, so that’s another tip to kind of, especially if you have a favorite movie, watch it over and over and over again.

Try watching with the sound off. That really helps you with like composition as well and it really helps you break down a movie completely. But with writing, obviously you want to have the sound on and see who dialogue and all that stuff, but yeah, Lessons from the Screenplay – amazing YouTube channel.

Definitely go and check him out if you’re planning on writing a script. Here’s another one, the Script Lab. They break down the whole process. This is the channel that you really want to go to if you have no idea what you’re doing, like me.

So I’m going to scour their channel a lot more, and yeah, just go through that because I want to continue to to write, because this is my first one. I want to make sure that this is, I just want it to be a stepping stone for me, writing and creating more films of my own.

The last link that I’m going to show you guys today is Film Courage. Again, it’s interviews with celebrities. It’s breakdowns of screenwriting tips and advice from other writers and that is seriously, like I spend, it’s like a ritual every Saturday morning.

I get to sleep in, so I choose to wake up and stay in for a good hour, or an hour and a half and just watch nothing but informative YouTube videos on an endless playlist. And I find myself laying in bed way longer than I expected.

So that is my tips and advice for screenplay writing or just in general. I hope this was informative for you guys. If it was, don’t forget to hit that like button. Let me know in the comments down below if there are any other informative channels or websites that I that I missed and I’ll add them to the description as well.

Let’s get the conversation going down below. I really want to know what you guys are working on and any other projects that you guys have on the go, or older projects that you want me to see.

I really want this channel to be a tight-knit film community to help all of us grow and make better films together. So that’s all I got for today guys. I hope you enjoyed this video. Thank you guys so much for stopping by….

How to Write a Fantasy Novel PDF

Podcast About Writing Movie Scripts: “358 – Point of View” from Scriptnotes by John August and Craig Mazin.

 

 

Online Script Writing Course

Online script writing course info

Okay, week one introduction to screenwriting. Hello my name is Jane Pugh and I will be your tutor for the online script writing unit study block – I really hope you enjoy the course. Our first week’s work is threefold.

In part one we will discuss what is script writing, what does the script writers do, and how do they do it. Finding ideas and choosing your subject. Research and where inspiration comes from.

In part two of this week’s session you will begin to write and develop a portfolio of ideas. In part three we will look at the major theorists and the Guru’s who claim they can help you write your script, plus useful websites and inspiring information.

For this session you will need a notepad and pen. There are a total of four exercises I would like you to complete. One is ongoing . You can either listen to the lecture in full and then completely exercises, or pause the lecture to complete the exercises as you as you go along.

https://youtu.be/Vmak0TZzs-s

Online Script Writing Course – Screenplay Mastery

So let’s begin at the beginning with the idea. We have a voracious appetite for stories in all forms because we aren’t, we are trying to understand ourselves and the world around us. Writers and their stories help us on that journey.

So what does a scriptwriter do? The script writer writes feature film scripts and scripts for television drama. As well as online content, the script writer must generate generate ideas that are fit for the marketplace. They want interest a producer or a broadcaster in the first instance and will capture the imagination of the audience in the second.

The ability to generate ideas is akin to the nonfiction industry, where ideas are considered first and only when the idea is accepted and commissioned does the actual script writing begin. So a script writer generates ideas.

It is therefore well worth keeping abreast of current trends, spotting gaps in the market and creating new areas of interest. This applies to all types of screenwriter, whether they are generating original work or writing for an existing television drama series.

It is important for you as a screenwriter to know the business side of the film and television industry, so I want to spend a short time looking at the role of the producer, because it is the producer who will become your best friend and partner.

The role of the producer, the producer is the person who is in charge of making the film. It is they who search for ideas to turn into scripts. It is they who raisee the not inconsiderable finance to pay for the making of the film, and it is they who distribute the film with the help of a distributor.

They do this because they want to make a profit. I would strongly argue that good producers also love films and television dramas, otherwise they wouldn’t involve themselves with such a precarious and costly industry. So contrary to popular belief a writer with an idea for a script needs to solicit the interest of a producer, not necessarily a director.

Because it is a producer who turns your idea into reality. Of course there are lots of exceptions to this basic rule. Writers and directors do indeed work together, also producers might approach a writer and not the other way round, because it is the producer who has originated an idea but needs the most appropriate writer to realize it.

Writers and directors do indeed work together on scripts and then convince a producer that they are the right partnership or package to bring this particular idea to the screen. Finally, producers of a long-running drama series on television will read original scripts by writers, not because they want to produce the submitted script, but because they are finding suitable writers for their series.

Online script writing course free guideMuch like a salesperson touting their wares from door to door, a writer will be thus equipped. They will have a feature-length script to show the producer and they will also have a list of ideas to discuss with the producer. This is because they want the producer to make their feature script into a film or they will use their feature script as a sample of their work.

They will try to get one of their other ideas commissioned, or if the producer doesn’t like the squid or the ideas, the writer will try to build a working relationship with the producer so that they might work together at some future date on only new idea.

Please note – the writers ideas do not come in the form of finished scripts. That is impractical and will take far too long. They come in the form of outlines or synopses of your story and range from about 50 words to 2,000 words in length.

Again there are no set rules for this. Do not be intimidated by the notion that you have to have 10 wonderful ideas for scripts. It’s the quality of ideas and not the quantity that counts. It’s important to have at least 2 drawn and ideas that really resonate.

That is so much better than having half a dozen underdeveloped poorly realized ideas. However I must stress that all script writers must have written a feature-length script to show as a sample of their work before launching themselves into the big wide world of producers and agents, funders and broadcasters.

Why? Because they need to know you can write and they need to find out who you are and what interests you. I’ll give you an example to illustrate my point. If you have written a script that involves tensions within a family then a producer from EastEnders might be interested in reading your script and hiring you to write for the series, because you are interested in the same issues as dramatized in their series.

At this juncture I would like to advise you to think carefully about the kind of writer you are. do you like writing car chases or love scenes? Horror or science fiction? Are you interested in action or characters? Never attempt to write something that doesn’t interest you, simply to try and compete in the market.

Online script writing software tipsYou will probably fail in the first instance and in the second, a gifted producer will be able to tell from your writing that your heart really isn’t in it. Shane Meadows who last year brought his highly offered piece summers town to the screen, wouldn’t take his scripts to Barbara Buckley producer of the Bond films.

Exercise one – it doesn’t matter if you have never written the script before. Write 500 words describing the type of writer you are. The content should include – something of your background, the subject you are interested in and why. Please also include the type of audience you would like to reach.

Next research a producer or production company who might be interested in your ideas. To achieve this look at the latest copy of a television listings magazine such as the Radio Times or a copy of a mainstream film magazines, such as Empire.

Make a note of all the drums of interest to you and make a note of the producer and the production company for your reference. Make a note of what format it is, i.e. is it a long-running series, a soap, a seriall, a single drama or a feature film.

Next write a single sentence describing the drama. Finally write down what type of audience the drama is aimed at. The advantage of this exercise is threefold. Firstly you will be able to identify type what type of writer you. Are you will begin to understand how you fit within the marketplace and you will get to know producers who have a similar outlook as yourself.

Always remember that a producer or Commissioner wants to make a brilliant award-winning, profitable work so don’t show anyone a half-baked idea. You have got to love it first before showing anyone else. Producers put their life and soul into their jobs and they expect the same from writers.

You have got to convince any potential producers you meet that your script or idea is worth really quite substantial amounts of money. Even a micro budgeted film costs about a hundred thousand pounds. Is your idea worth a hundred thousand pounds. Let’s find out.

Now bandying around a lot sums of money can sound intimidating and I don’t want to put a price tag on any script or scriptwriter. As a writing script editor myself understand how much films cost but I rarely think in concrete terms of the actual amount my script would cost to bring to the screen.

I write because I think I’ve got a great idea not because it’s cheap or expensive to make. So how do we find a good idea? As your life unfolds, so will opportunities for drama. Some writers travel across the world to find ideas. Some stay closer to home.

Online script writing course adviceAll writers keep their eyes and ears open every day to find new ideas, to excite and inspire them. Use a notebook, scrapbook, shoebox or cuttings file to collect ideas. A good idea is an idea that grabs you. It could be a story in a newspaper or something you reserved a party but if it actually makes your heart beat faster, then you’ll know it’s good.

But test your idea by leaving it alone for a few days. If it’s still granted when you return to it then it probably has the necessary substance. If it fails to grab you then resign it to the bin. Do not be too precious about your ideas.

As one of my students said ‘all ideas are good if they are written well’. Concentrate on finding an idea that means something to you and not necessarily on changing the world. On the other hand, be discerning. It is you who will spend weeks and months, even years writing your script.

Make sure the original idea is genuinely captivating. Collect ideas as you go along because some ideas will be utilized months or even years later. Be careful not to talk about your ideas to friends before they are properly formulated. Rigorous criticism from the well-meaning can swamp a fledgling idea.

Be inspired by existing films or stories but don’t copy. It is plagiarism and you will be found out and it reveals a lack of confidence in your own work and your own ideas and your own style. Remember you and your stories are unique.

For a fascinating glimpse into the formulation of an idea visit YouTube and type in David Lynch interview. Scroll down to receive David Lynch interview part 1 from the BBC programme scene-by-scene with Mark Cousins.

In this excerpt both Lynch’s preoccupations and how his 1999 film straight story came into being are discussed. One could argue that the first part of my lecture has concentrated on inspiration more than ideas, so for the second part of my lecture I would like to apply a more rigorous approach to finding and developing the right idea.

Online script writing programThe essential question to ask is ‘does your idea have enough conflict to sustain a full-length drama’. I will be returning to the notion of conflict again and again during the course because conflict is at the heart of every drama.

What do I mean by conflict? Of course every piece of writing in whatever form or genre must have conflict, otherwise there is no story. Structurally, stories have a beginning, middle and end but so does a trip to the shops. It doesn’t necessarily follow that a trip to the shops would make a good story.

Put simply, a character at the beginning of their story wants to reach a goal or goals. As she embarks on her journey to achieving her goal she encounters obstacles along the way and changes as a result of those obstacles. Whether she reaches her goal or not, she is a different person at the end of her story than she was at the beginning.

It really is as simple as that and if you can grasp that you have understood the rudiments of all storytelling in all forms that ever has been and ever will be. For your second exercise writing in first-person narrative describe in 500 words something that really bugs you.

For example, drivers who hog the middle lane of the motorway. Then write 500 words expressing the counter-argument, also in first person. Finally, write 500 words where you reach some kind of consensus. By completing this exercise by grappling with conflict you will have in effect written a small story that deals with conflict and resolution.

This approach can be applied and expand it to all your stories and scripts, whether you’re dealing with a domestic or global subjects. The same principle applies to every script that you will write. The central conflict could be something grounded, such as how do I survive as a working-class woman in the cutthroat business world, such as Nora Ephron’s 80s film working girl.

Or the more philosophical how do I survive in a world that operates in direct conflict to my morals beliefs and sensibilities, such as BBC’s life on Mars. I hope you can see from my two examples how the central conflict in both these dramas are strong and simple deep and complex and then therefore strong enough to warrant bring you to the screen.

For the final section of my podcast I would like us to indulge ourselves in a short brainstorming session to get the ideas flowing. I will endeavour, as we proceed through the course, to demystify the machnations of the film and television industry. I hope this next exercise contributes because it takes place in every producers and broadcasters offices on a daily basis.

Exercise 3 – for the sake of the exercise pick a long-running drama series from the current schedule. It could behold these boots, waking the dead for example. In your own words write a short description of the series that you are clear what the series is about. What the characters do and the actual moral problems they deal with.

Secondly, on a single piece of paper write five storylines. By story lines I mean no more than three sentences describing what the episode is about. I used to do split Edit on the Canton television series peak practice and here is a story line I generated for an episode as an example.

A middle-aged man is in need of a kidney transplant and will die without one. His estranged daughter is the only possible donor but the man has abused his daughter in the past when she was a child. Will his daughter make the sacrifice or will she let him die?

I would suggest that you keep doing this exercise in your own time as it really fires up the ideas machine in your imagination. This brings my lecture back to where we started. As a screenwriter you are a purveyor of ideas. The more ideas you have, the more material you have to write, and the more inspired you are to write.

This week’s film is Citizen Kane. Ask yourself what is it about. Let’s have your comments and observations on the website party, having discussed ideas and how to find them in my podcast for. Week one – and having completed the exercises you are now in position to start your portfolio of ideas.

I would like to reiterate the points I made in my podcast.

  1. One – a good idea is one that grabs you.
  2. Two – be discerning
  3. Three – check that the idea contains conflict inherently within it
  4. Four – make sure it is the kind of idea that suits you as a writer. There’s no point in writing a horror story when you love romantic comedy.
  5. Five – collect ideas as you go along. Who knows? You might return to an idea you spotted in the news paper five years from now.
  6. Six – be audience aware
  7. Seven – don’t copy. Don’t be overwhelmed by an existing film or play or book and wish you could write in the same way. You must develop your own unique voice.
  8. Eight – a good idea is one that grabs you. It’s you who has to sit down and write the script, which may take months even years to perfect, so you must be very very interested in it.

To help you get started you might want to explore the following to find those all-important script ideas: newspapers and magazines, the internet, books, television, lectures and talks, pictures and photos, real-life experience of yours or someone else’s, visiting places and interviews.

For your final project you will be asked to select an idea from your ideas portfolio. I will ask you to submit a short list of four ideas by week six for your portfolio of ideas. Your first task is to start gathering as many ideas as possible.

 

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Screenwriting Workshops Online – Writing Screenplays

Screenwriting workshops

Today we’re going to talk about 5 of my 10 principles for great screenwriting. For me screenwriting is kind of like a seduction, where you’re trying to lure your audience in and persuade them to a certain point of view.

You get them to like certain characters and you get them to sympathise with your perspective storytelling is like a trance. It goes back to the ancient times when people would sit around campfires and tell stories.

 

There’s something about storytelling that mesmerises us, that we get obsessed with something about hearing a great story that requires our entire concentration.

We forget about everything else and become mesmerised with the narrative, with the situations, with the characters – almost as if what we’re hearing is real. It’s like a trance, a trance that lulls us to sleep or a trance that lulls us into the perspective that the storyteller wants us to buy into.

Best Screenwriting Workshops – Five Principles Of Great Screenwriting

https://youtu.be/4yxUeP8tlDs

This can be a good thing but this can also be a bad thing, depending on what it is the storyteller is trying to say. With these ten principles I’m going to teach you how the Masters have woven their stories, their narratives and hopefully you’ll be able to do the same.

Number one – make your characters likable. The more likeable your main character, is the more likeable your story is. If you do a test and you write down your five favorite movie characters of all time, then you write down your five favorite movies of all time, without fail I guarantee you that there’s going to be a tremendous overlap.

Chances are your five favorite characters, maybe not all of them, but the majority of them, are going to correlate with your five favorite films. Because essentially what a film is doing is selling us a character.

Therefore it’s essential that if you’re going to make a great screenplay a great film, you’ve got to center it around a great central character. The more engaging your protagonist is going to be, the more engaging your story is going to be.

Number two – give your story /script a strong re-watch or re-read factor. The great stories are classics not just because they’re great stories. They’re classics because they last and why do they last? They last because they have a strong re-watch re-read value.

The sixth sense is a great story not only because it’s entertaining the first time around but because there’s an element within it that gives it new meaning when you watch it a second time.

Best screenwriting workshops tipsMy favorite film is The Empire Strikes Back. I’ve watched the Empire Strikes Back probably three hundred times. There’s something about that film that’s so strong for me that no matter how many times I watch it I never lose my fascination with the worlds that are painted in that story.

Which I essentially divide into three parts – the Hoff part, the Dagobah training part and then the Bespin Cloud City part. But that story is so fascinating, for me it’s so mesmerizing for me, that I never lose interest in rewatching it.

You want to make sure that your story has a strong rewatch value. Some people give twist endings. This has an opportunity to give your story a rewatch factor but you want to make sure that your twist ending is not a one-trick pony.

You don’t want to have a twist ending that upon a second viewing, it doesn’t hold up. Try to tell a story that gains meaning the more times that it’s seen. If your story is only going to have value one time around, chances are it’s not a great story and it certainly will never be considered a classic.

Number three – you want to have a surprise in every scene. Now soap operas are usually associated with cheesy acting, extreme close-ups, etc, but the reason why soap operas are so compelling is because they put surprise us in each scene.

That makes you want to continue to watch, to figure out what’s going on. Practically, you want to create cliffhangers, where you create a conflict but then you don’t resolve the conflict in that scene. You create the conflict and you sort of leave the audience hanging and then you don’t resolve it until later on in your film.

This makes people want to continue watching or continue reading. This is something that will work particularly well in your story and if you don’t do the cliffhanger in every scene, you should at least do it periodically, but a surprise on the other hand should be in every scene.

What’s the difference between a surprise and a cliffhanger? Well a cliffhanger is a conflict that’s established in a scene that doesn’t get resolved until a later scene. A surprise, on the other hand, is an event that occurs in a scene that’s unexpected. Pulp Fiction is a film that does this particularly well.

Screenwriting workshops in los angeles - Pulp FictionIf you watch Pulp Fiction, pretty much in every scene there’s something that happens that’s a surprise. Something that, if you look at the scene from the beginning, you’d have no idea where it’s going to go by the end.

So in the beginning of the film you have two people who are talking at a restaurant, talking about robbing gas stations, etc,etc. Well you have no idea by the end of that scene that they’re actually going to be robbing the restaurant that they’re in.

By the same token, when John Travolta and Samuel Jackson are talking you have no idea that they’re on their way to commit murder, to execute a hit. By another token you have no idea that Bruce Willis and Ving Rhames, the situation that they’re going to end up in with a Zed and and his buddy.

And I can go on. You have no idea that Mia is going to OD and you have no idea that Bruce Willis is going to end up confronting John Travolta and essentially shooting him when that pop-tart pops, although in that scene I believe it’s generic pop-tarts.

These are all surprises. It’s a great film to study on how to put surprises in every scene. This is why I film that is so violent and so dark in many ways is also so popular, because at every level, every scene has a surprise.

Also it’s a film that was nominated for Best Screenplay. It may have even won, I can’t remember to be perfectly honest, but I do know that it was nominated for Best Screenplay. Rodger Avery and Quentin Tarantino as the writers, that’s why it’s it’s great writing, with a surprise at every scene. It’s something that you should that you should try to do. If you can’t put a surprise in your scene you may want to reconsider putting that scene in your film, in your script.

Number four – you’ve got to make your audience, make your reader ask questions. You’ve got to do it from the beginning of the film all the way to the end of the film. So in the very beginning, you as the writer, should have a sense of what questions are.

My reader is my audience asking – you want to make them ask questions and then as you go you want to answer the questions but don’t answer a question until you’ve made the audience ask new questions. This will always be the key to a great screenplay, to a great story.

Screenwriting workshops online guideMake your reader, make your viewer ask questions and don’t answer the question until you make them ask new ones. Do this all the way until the end, and then at the end you want to you want to resolve things by answering all the questions.

Unless somehow it’s important to your narrative to leave certain questions open-ended and unanswered, but I would avoid doing this because very often viewers, readers will feel cheated if you leave certain questions that they want answered unanswered.

It seems like you’re cheating them and you didn’t know what you were doing and that you wrote yourself into a corner. There are ways and exceptions to this where you can do it and it’s brilliant, but it shouldn’t it shouldn’t be a cop-out to writing a great resolution.

After all, the ending of the film is in fact a commentary on the beginning, so where your film ends is critical and it should absolutely be set up by the beginning, so make the viewer, make the reader ask questions as they’re reading.

This is going to give even a comedy a sense of mystery and we all love mysteries. It’s kind of like if I say ‘I have a secret’. Well automatically you’re intrigued. Well that’s what you want to do in your story. You want to let the reader, let the viewer in on secrets. Do this and I guarantee your reader, your viewer will turn and continue to turn pages until these questions are answered.

Your viewer will continue to watch. If you’re not asking questions, then chances are your viewer and your reader will also not be looking for answers. If they’re not looking for answers, they won’t be watching your film and they won’t be reading your script.

Number five – you want to pick characters with opposing viewpoints together and each scene. You don’t want to have characters in a scene together who are agreeing with each other.

Can you imagine a scene with two people in a car?

“Hi John, how you doing?” ”
“Well I’m fine. Did you like the baseball game?”
“Yeah, I thought it was great. I really loved how that guy hit the homerun.”
“Yeah, that home run was incredible'”

It’s boring. It doesn’t make sense. Now I just made that up but now let’s make it a little more interesting:

“Hey John did you go see the game?”
“Why would I go see the game? Last time I went to go see the game I had that pain for everything and you ate all my food.”
“What do you mean I ate all your food? I don’t even like your food. Matter of fact the last time I went to a game you weren’t even there. I tried to call.”

I mean I’m just making this up but now all of a sudden the same situation, the same scenario is more interesting, because you have conflict. You have opposing viewpoints. You’ll notice this and in essentially all films it almost becomes cliche, but chances are when you are watching a film you’re seeing characters with opposing viewpoints pitted against one another.

Screenwriting workshops principlesThe buddy film, you know the Rush Hour,s the Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid – these films pride themselves on this formula taking characters with opposing viewpoints and putting them together. You even see this in sitcom.

Sanford and Son is a great example, Fred Sanford and his son the big dummy Lamont. These are great examples of how you have characters with opposing viewpoints pitted against one another and together it makes for wonderful drama.

That is a key and that’s critical. If your characters are agreeing with one another, then you’ve got to put a character in there somehow that mixes it up with a challenging dynamic conflicting viewpoint.

That’s what’s called drama. Drama is conflict. If you don’t have conflict, you don’t have drama. If you don’t have drama, you don’t have a story and if you don’t have a story you shouldn’t be writing.

Online Script Writing Courses – Are They Any Good?

Online Script Writing Course - featured

Whenever I look for any kind of product online, and digital products in particular, I always look for a full refund Guarantee.

It just makes so much sense to hedge your bet, knowing that you’ll get re-imbursed if it doesn’t work out for you. An online script writing course is not exception, and of course e-learning platforms like Udemy offer such a refund for all courses, although it has to be said that not all courses are of the highest quality.

When I came across an advertisement for a course entitled ‘Movie In A Month’ presented by James Lamberg, I had to go back and read the sales copy again. Did it really guarantee that I would sell my movie script after taking the course? Well, yes it did!

This is the best guarantee I’ve ever seen. Basically, James teaches how to write a screenplay including all the elements that producers are crying out for, with guidelines for submission – but that’s not all. He also provides a current contact list for agents and buyers looking for scripts that are ready to go.

Here’s the guarantee:

“If you don’t sell your movie script within 12 months of purchasing the course, simply return the DVD and I will refund the purchase price 100% without questions.”

How to write a movie script for a short film - MovieInAMonthCourse-728x90Static

It’s well-known within the film industry that over 99 percent of spec script submissions are rejected before they pass through the first reader. This person is often an intern learning the trade, and they have a simple set of guidelines to follow before they let a submission through.

It’s very rare for a script itself to be submitted – those days are long-gone. The procedure for movie script submission involves writing a pitch or query letter, crafted to present the important feature of the movie.

The creation of this letter is quite a job in itself. Writer’s often find this the most difficult part, much harder than writing the script. Of course, this is covered in Lamberg’s course. Unless the letter describes the movie in the right way and in the right tone, your script will never be read.

Scripts that simply aren’t ready are a big turn-off for producers at all levels. This is one of the biggest failings of new screenwriters – scripts are submitted too early. The first draft, even though you might love it, is never as good as it good be.

Honing the script to perfection takes three or four re-writes. Hollywood producers can afford to wait for professional script in the right format that are almost production ready. Most film makers on a low budget simply cannot afford to have your script re-written. It’s your job to make sure it’s the best it can be

https://youtu.be/2H240YaxGxc

In this lesson I’m going to introduce you to the topic of story structure.

Now, when I say story structure, the first objection that inevitably gets raised is, somebody cries ‘formulaic’. They say ‘No, I am NOT going to use the story structuring techniques. I am going to be original and write something that has never been done before.’

Well chances are you can’t actually write something that’s never been done before because as the adage goes there’s nothing new Under the Sun. Story structure is not designed to be formulaic. It is not as though you sit down with the story structure template and crank out identical screenplays.

Online script writing course free infoIn fact story structure is a template for you to use to enhance your creativity and come up with something that is even more original than you might have if you just sat down and began typing.

So what does story structure do for you? Well, one that is perhaps the most important is that it keeps your writing on track and it makes sure you know where you’re going. It is very disheartening to get bogged down in the middle of act 2 and have absolutely no idea what comes next.

This frequently happens right around the 30 minute mark. Actually writers will come up with a brilliant idea, they’ll have all of his inspiration and they’ll sit down and begin writing act 1 and they will construct a beautiful, wonderful, emotionally satisfying act 1, get to the first turning point and have absolutely no idea what comes next.

At that point, instead of sitting down and trying to figure it out, those 30 pages end up languishing in a drawer someplace. By beginning with structure, you avoid that problem because then as you start writing you know exactly where you’re going and how you’re going to get there.

Structure also makes sure that the story you’re telling connects emotionally with your viewers, which is the most important thing, arguably that a good storyteller can do. But wait – what about movies like Pulp Fiction, Run Lola Run, or Magnolia? Those don’t seem like they follow traditional story structuring techniques at all.

Online script writing tipsPulp Fiction, in fact, is told sort of almost in concentric circles but I will say that if you begin to look at where traditional story structuring moments should fall, chances are that at the appropriate time in the movie there are corresponding emotional highs and lows as well as plot twists and turns, even though the story is being told chronologically out of order.

Run Lola Run is a very interesting German film. It’s an 80 minute piece that is broken up into three chunks in which the character Lola performs essentially the same action three times.

Once when she’s early, once when she’s late and once when she is right on time and the ending plays out quite differently in each case depending on her timing. Now that certainly does not seem like that fits traditional story structuring at all. However, each individual segment is a miniature structure complete – beginning, middle and end.

In fact, towards the end of the movie, where the climax of a traditional structure would go, those are when the events are the most intense and so it actually even fits sort of a larger structure if you take a sort of step back and look at it in terms of rising tension.

The character’s emotional journey, those story check points almost work out perfectly as well. Magnolia is a movie that is almost entirely subplots and in fact there are so many plots going on it’s difficult sometimes to tell what the main plot is.

Online script writing program adviceEach of those subplots, even though they’re trapped up and scattered throughout the entire two-hour movie, they each have complete story structures as well. Some of the stories come together in ways and again, if you look at moments where the first turning point should be, that’s a moment where there will be a moment that is a game changer for many of the subplots.

They’re related enough – that one moment will frequently play into many of the other subplots and as an audience we may not get to see them all, but we’ll get to imagine the way that they’re tying together, and what the effect that this turning point has on the others as we pick them up in act two going into act three.

If you look at the climax, all of the events tie in to this thing that happens, this quirk of the weather that results in climaxes through many of the subplots. If you look for story structure in successful films, it is always there. It is possible it can get much more complicated as with Run Lola Run, where instead of structuring in a tight one movie with a complete story structure, there are actually three complete story structures.

Again, with the subplots you’ll have as many complete story arcs as there are characters who overcome flaws. Now not every character in Magnolia is considered a protagonist because not everyone overcomes their flaw, and not all of the subplots do include complete arcs.

But those that do are probably the ones that you remember the most and sympathize the most with those characters. So what’s coming up in the next couple of lessons is an introduction to four act structure, which gets talked about in television a lot, but also works for movies.

It’s kind of three act structure in disguise and then we’ll get into really in-depth three act structure discussions, where we’ll break down each act and talk about the checkpoints that your character goes through in each of those – I will see you there.

https://youtu.be/0Ly9isRk92M

Tips on getting started with script writing. After you have selected the topic of your story it’s time to begin writing your script.

We believe that the script is the key component of the digital storytelling process and without a good script there will not be a good story. Without a good story there will not be a good digital story, so in this video we’ll present some tips to help you begin writing your script.

Tip 1 – keep it small and focused. Remember you are not writing a script for a cinematic movie, you are writing it for a digital story which is only going to be about three to five minutes long. Focusing on a specific problem or topic will help you create a better digital story.

Screenwriting CourseTip two – make it personal. Your digital story is unique. It is your story and your audience wants to hear it from your perspective. You may choose to include personal details in your story in order to add emotional depth, although it is completely up to you to decide which details you wish to share with your viewers.

Tip 3 – know the story arc. A typical story is composed of three parts – the beginning, the middle and the end. The beginning is where you try to draw your audience’s attention to the story. You want to tell here, you will introduce the characters at the scene and begin the plot.

The middle pqrt is where most of your story will be told. Here you will explain your topic further by providing more details of the topic or problem you’re trying to tell. In many cases this is where your story reaches the climax or a turning point.

The end is where the conflict is resolved. Well, the new invention solved the issue. Well, the couple get married. What happens after the medical treatment? The questions will be answered, the loose ends will be tied and a discovery, revelation or an insight be revealed. Since it is difficult to sustain the audience’s attention after the climax, it is better to keep this part short as you finish the story.

Tip 4 – visualize your story. What you need to do is get the pictures related to your story. Arrange and place them on a table, then write descriptions describing each of the pictures and how they relate to the story. This should help you in getting started with your draft.

Online script writing coursesTip 5 – start drafting. Now let’s do an activity. Please pause this video and find a piece of paper a pen and a timer. If you haven’t done so yet, please pause this video and get the paper pen and timer. If you have them with you let’s begin the activity.

Set your timer to 10 minutes and start writing. Write anything that comes to mind on the front and back of the paper and do not stop until either the time or the space on the paper runs out. When you’re ready to start writing your draft, please pause this video again. Ready? Go.

Welcome back. I assume that by now you have a draft of your story. Congratulations!It may not be perfect at this point but at least you have something to start with that is why the final tip will be so useful.

Tip 6 – participate in a story circle. A story circle is a small group where you can share ideas and work through the process of making digital stories together with others, including perfecting your scripts.

In the story circle you and your colleagues can read aloud the draft versions of your scripts to each other and provide constructive criticism. You can then use these suggestions to improve your script. Most of us are not good enough writers to get the script perfect with the first draft and it may require several versions to improve it and make it stronger.

Continuing to work on your script by creating successive new versions will help you construct the foundation of a good digital story. Participating in a story circle and receiving useful feedback from others is an excellent way for you to improve your work.

How To Sell A Script To Hollywood – Producer’s Perspective

How to sell a Script to Hollywood

Let’s cut to the chase – as long as movies are made, producers will need fresh original stories.

You’ve got an idea for a movie. In this video I’m going to explain exactly what you need to do to sell it. Since we rarely ever see the screenwriter, or read the scripts of the movies we watch, there tends to be this unnecessary mystery surrounding that aspect of the film industry.

Where movie ideas come from, or how screenplays are chosen, or how to get your idea through the door and it’s led to a lot of confusion and misunderstanding about what producers actually need and why amateurs and dreamers tend to think of it a little bit like a lottery.

If I could just get my idea into James Cameron’s hands, he’d love me and shower me with instant fame and fortune, but long-term, struggling writers tend to think of it a little bit the same way. If I could only master the story formula, or find that tip, or secret trick that’ll swing the doors open and land me an agent and ignite my magical screenwriting career.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJxS4p8ZzZc

Well, to turn that dream into a reality let’s pull back the curtain and see how this really works. Selling your movie idea ultimately involves two basic steps.

  • Number one – turn your idea into a production ready screenplay.
  • Number two – get that screenplay into the hands of its ideal producer.

Now, that may sound terribly obvious, but in truth it’s really not. Look closely at those words. It’s not just a screenplay, it’s a ‘production ready’ screenplay and it’s not just a producer it’s your project ‘ideal producer’.

See, our goal ultimately is to make a movie and movies aren’t just an idea. They’re a carefully crafted story, rich and complex, and compelling enough to engage an audience’s imagination for about two hours.

Since we can’t shoot an idea, someone has to turn that idea into a screenplay that costs time and money. Remember – the screenplay is not our ultimate goal. Screenplays only exist to be turned into a film.

Screenwriting CourseIt’s not just a story, it’s also the blueprint for the production process, a very pragmatic working document that will guide and be used by a whole bunch of creative people, the actors and the director and the crew.

Unfortunately, most people who teach screenwriting are only teaching from the writers perspective. They invent formulas and theories and techniques by deconstructing existing movies.

They literally take a film, pull it apart to see the mechanics of how it worked and then tell you to replicate those mechanics but there’s something everyone seems to be overlooking. Steps 1 and 2 are intertwined.

Screenplays will only sell if you connect them with the people who want to make the movie. If you write a flawless formulaic Hollywood epic, it’s unusable by an independent producer in Sydney or Paris or Louisiana, or a thousand other places where movies are now made.

By the same token, if you write a bold experimental risky, non-traditional story, no matter how brilliant it is, a producer in Hollywood who makes hundred million dollar event films cannot use it.

For any producer of any kind of film, if your spec script is not production ready it’s almost impossible to sell, because it comes with a huge script development expense. It’s not enough to just slap together a screenplay.

It’s not even enough to write a production ready screenplay. The key to the deal is to marry both steps. So if you’re serious about selling your movie idea, seeing it made into a film, not just writing it and letting it rot on the bookshelf, it’s essential to understand who you’re trying to connect with.

That person is the producer. The producer is basically the overseer of a film object, like the project manager at the highest level, and they’re ultimately responsible for everything.

Where to sell a screenplay in HollywoodThe producers job is to find or develop the story, assemble the team and the resources to make the film, gather the budget by getting investors, oversee the production to make sure we don’t run out of money halfway through, make sales and distribution deals to get the investors their money back, and see it all the way through until the money comes in.

We’re talking about hundreds of moving parts for every project, and because movies are such a big job that often takes years to complete, sometimes with no guarantee of sales at all, most producers will have multiple projects in various stages of this process at any given time, which means one simple thing.

I hope you’ll always remember, producers are always juggling and that’s good news for you. Producers are always on the lookout for new material, because they’re always meeting new actors or directors or investors or sales and distribution people, trying to figure out which people fit with which projects.

If they know a director and a name actor who’ve always wanted to work together, I’ll try to find a project that suits their creative sensibilities. If they meet an investor who wants to make a quick buck or win an award or shoot in a specific state or country, they’ll try to develop a project to satisfy those business ambitions.

It can happen the other way around. Maybe they’ll find a project and they’ll love it. They’ll get passionate about it, maybe a project like yours. They’ll option it so that they can exclusively go out and try to assemble all those elements and resources to make it happen, but here’s the problem.

To juggle effectively they have to be very protective of their time, since 99% of all projects will always be unusable to them. What tends to happen, even though they’re always on the lookout for material, they tend to put up a little bit of a wall around themselves, particularly with writers.

Where to sell my screenplay todaySo how do you break through that? How do you connect with your project’s ideal producer? The real answer, even though you’re not going to want to hear it, is that you should immediately distrust anyone who claims to have the answer, because the truth is it depends entirely on you, your project and the producer you’re trying to connect with.

There is no one single answer. There can’t be and here’s why. Just as every writer in the world is unique, every producer is unique – we come in all shapes, sizes, ages, genders and personalities. We have different creative sensibilities and different business ambitions, and different preferences in how we like to connect with people.

We also have different resources available to us at any given time. About the only thing that we all have in common is that we’re all constantly juggling. So the bottom line is this – to really sell your movie idea you can’t treat it like a lottery.

You don’t just want a producer or some famous producer that’s inaccessible to you. You want the producer that’s perfect for this project. While every situation is intrinsically unique, there are two steps that are required in every situation.

  • Number one – turn your idea into a production ready screenplay.
  • Number two – get it into the hands of its ideal producer.

Now if this all seems a little bit impossible or easier said than done, stick with me throughout this series. I’ve reverse engineered the entire process and we’re going to start at the end and work our way back to the beginning, so that you can see exactly how to achieve these two steps.

In the next video I’ll show you how to grab your ideal producer’s attention in just 15 seconds. Plus I’ll introduce a breakthrough strategy that leads directly to the deal, so subscribe to this channel, subscribe to our newsletter, like and share this video, if you can and we’ll see you next time on the Producers Perspective.

https://youtu.be/KJxS4p8ZzZc

In this video I’m going to show you how to grab a producer’s attention in 15 seconds, plus I’ll introduce a breakthrough follow-up strategy that leads directly to the deal.

To truly reverse-engineer the complete screenwriting process we need to start at the end and your end goal is to connect your project with its ideal producer. But how?

Producers will always tell you they’re not looking for material, they can’t read your screenplay, even though the truth is, unless we’re busy for the next 5 years with a guaranteed production slate, we’re always looking.

The problem is a properly written feature-length screenplay takes about two hours to read and 99% of them are unusable by any given producer. The fact is producers need to put that little wall up around themselves. It’s part of the juggling act. Without it we would be overwhelmed by submissions and never get any other work done.

So the unspoken reality is that producers need writers to break through that wall. Fortunately, there is a way, a shortcut to help us filter through all the noise. It’s called the logline. Loglines evolved out of an old Hollywood cliché that goes ‘pitch me your movie in 25 words or less’.

Sell a script to hollywood infoIt’s a sentence or two, usually just one, that conveys the heart of the project. Now writers tend to hate the logline. They think I can’t possibly condense my complex story into a single sentence, or my story isn’t about the concept, it’s about the execution, or with only one sentence you’re judging the story or me too quickly.

But this resistance just demonstrates the gap, an awareness of what producers actually need. To understand why producers tend to love the logline, look at it from our side of the table. Log lines save us time. We know instantly when a project is not right for us.

They spark our imagination. Done well, we can see a whole movie from a single sentence. They demonstrate a marketing angle this helps us sell the project, one of the producers key responsibilities, and they reveal the writer’s skill level. We can spot talent instantly, all of which makes the logline an extraordinary opportunity for writers.

To help you understand what a logline is and how to create one effectively, let’s first look at what it’s not. A logline is not a tagline, the blurb on a movie poster ‘this time it’s personal’. Don’t try to sell us the film. We’re the ones who would be making the film with you!

Producers need to know what your story is about. If you submit a tagline, we pretty much know your project’s not ready. A logline is also not a teaser, a partial concept that’s missing the meat of the story – ‘two cops face ultimate corruption. Will they survive with their souls?’

Again, we need to know what the movies about and this tells us nothing, except that we can safely pass on this project. It’s also not about your whole story. Don’t try to cram your entire story into one giant run-on sentence. That just tells us that your screenplay is going to be bloated and unfocused too.

Instead, your logline is a single sentence that captures the essence of your story’s plot and ignites your readers imagination. The logline’s purpose is not to tell the story. The loglines purpose is to grab their attention, let them know there’s a compelling story here and encourage them to follow up and that’s all.

How to sell a script to hollywood tipsNow, as with all creativity, there’s no one formula that’s going to work for every idea but almost every logline should include an intriguing character in a compelling situation that implies a rich story.

Now, after reading and analyzing about 20,000 log lines, I’ve discovered that there’s a secret ingredient that makes the most effective log lines work and that is the compelling promise. As I explained in the Missing Ingredient, every word you write is a promise that sparks the reader’s imagination, as they try to anticipate where you’re going to go next.

There are two kinds of promises.

  • Direct promises, where you literally make a promise.
  • Implied promises, where the words you use create expectations within the other person.

If you create a log line that implies a compelling story, you engage their creativity. The compelling promise is a hook that taps into our natural human curiosity. They have to follow up to see if you’ve achieved or exceeded what they imagined.

Now think about this for a second. You can literally open any door in 15 seconds with the right logline and this is how you break through that wall. As I was building the marketing phase of fast screenplay, the very end of the screenwriting process, I discovered a breakthrough strategy that leads from this hook directly to the deal.

I call it the ‘promise progression’. We spend about five weeks on this in the system but here’s the gist of it. , your logline makes a compelling promise which hooks them and makes them need to know more. They ask to see your synopsis to find out what your story is about and see where you’ve taken the idea.

Your synopsis then not only pays off the expectations your logline put in their imagination, it also makes or implies its own compelling promise, that takes it to the next level, which your screenplay then pays off by building an effective promise progression.

Your screenplay becomes a must read and then if your screenplay exceeds their expectations and their imagination, you become a writer they must know, even if they can’t do anything with your project right now. The secret of breaking through that wall then is this – ignite their imagination and then deliver more than they imagined.

How to sell a movie script adviceNow, your full promise progression will include your title, your query letters, your pitches, all your marketing materials. It will be customized for individual agents and producers and production companies, whoever you’re trying to send it to, but the key to understand is that it all starts with the logline.

The best part is that there’s even a dead simple way to know when you’ve mastered your logline. When you test it out on people. all you need to hear are four simple words;

Wow! Tell me more!

That’s why the logline may be the most important sentence you’ll ever write. Before you start sending loglines out into the world, I want to give you three tips or warnings from the producers perspective:

Number one – take the time to craft an extraordinary logline. Most loglines destroy the writers chance of even getting a read. Your log line reveals your skill level, so we can instantly rule out a poorly written log line or a log line that doesn’t convey a story clearly or powerfully. If the log line is weak, there’s little chance that the much longer screenplay will be written at a pro level.

Number two – always create the logline after the screenplay is done. Most writers make the mistake of writing their log line first, but you need to know the compelling promise your screenplay actually delivers so you can design a log line that sparks a promise progression that will exceed their expectations.

Number three – never send out a logline without a screenplay ready. Remember, producers are always juggling, so if we spot a project that engages our imagination when you’re very excited and think ‘if this project is what I imagined it to be, I know exactly what to do with that’, we assume that it’s ready and we follow up.

Now if it turns up that project is not ready, we may miss an opportunity entirely. It can be very frustrating. We won’t consider the writer to be a professional, so for all these reasons, this is why I like to say you only get one sentence to make a first impression.

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In fact, you know what? Don’t send your log lines anywhere until you watch the next video in this series, because to really sell your projects you need to avoid the mistake almost every writer makes. They send their project to the wrong producers.

In the next video I’m going to explain the real secret to the deal, the one common denominator for every project that sells. Plus, I’ll introduce a skill I’ve never seen written or talked about anywhere before. In fact, I only discovered it once I started looking for screenplays and examining screenwriting from the producers perspective.

I’ll explain the skill and I’ll show you exactly how to achieve it, so subscribe to this channel, subscribe to our newsletter, please like and share this video, if you can and take action today to make your dreams a reality. Stick with me throughout the series and that’s exactly what we’re going to do. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you next time.

Script Writing Course – Screenwriting Classes

Screenwriting Course Featured Image

After successfully writing, editing and publishing a novel, I decided to delve more into the structure and process of movie script writing.

Like many people, Youtube was my first stop, before considering signing up to a script writing course. Although there are some gems (like the video embedded below), it has to be said that the 80-20 rules comes into full force here, except that it’s more like the 90-10 rule.

Basically, this means that about 90% of the free screenplay writing tips you find are below average. They simply regurgitate the rules presented y such luminaries as Michael Hauge, Syd Field and Blake Snyder. Oh, these rules are solid for sure, but if we really want to re-read them, we’d simply buy the original books.

There is no getting away from the 3 act structure for movies, novels, plays or any medium that tells a story. As authors, we create a character that the audience wants to follow, place him or her in a setting that complements the story, and place obstacles in their path to success. Aristotle laid it out and we have honed the process to perfection.

So if the rules of movie scrip writing are available everywhere, exactly what are we looking at in a script writing course? The creation of self-editing for novels made it possible for millions of people to make their novels public, which ultimately means that the vast majority are below par. A similar thing has happened in the screenplay writing business.

Due to the appearance of script writing software and other free resources, film agents and producers are inundated with a mountain of spec scripts every day. I have it on good authority that the pile of scripts is first vetted by an assistant, so how do they proceed? The script is consigned to the trash bin if:

  • it isn’t bound in the right format
  • the title shows ‘it’s been done before’
  • font format isn’t standard
  • title page doesn’t have the right information
  • screenplay format doesn’t conform to the industry standards

And this is before the man that matters actually gets to read your brilliant script! There’s more to movie scripts than writing a great story – much more. The ideal course would cover the whole process, from conception to submission and tell you who to send it to and show you how to present so that it gets noticed and read.

After looking through the descriptions of endless courses on Udemy and various other platforms, I’m recommending ‘Movie In A Month’ by James Lamberg. You’ve probably never heard of him, but he’s the ghost-writer behind over 30 commercial Hollywood movie scripts. The course not only explains the writing process and all the formatting, but he gives you actual contact emails and address for submitting your movie.

The big thing is James’ Guarantee – it’s pretty amazing:

Check Out My 100% NO-RISK Customer Guarantee!
You WILL Grab Yourself a MOVIE CONTRACT Within ONE YEAR
– OR I’LL BUY YOUR COURSE BACK!

It’s the best guarantee I’ve ever seen, for any course. Check it out  by clicking the image below:

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So on to to today’s video selection. I like it because it covers the screenwriting format basics, touches on story structure and also gives some hints about setting, characters and that all-important factor that we often forget – costs!  Without a doubt, when a producer or agent reads a screenplay, he’s mentally calculating the costs in his head.

He’s asking questions like ‘Is the setting exotic? Do I have to fly a crew to another country? Are costumes needed? What about props? – (very expensive for fantasy and sci fi productions). This is one reason that most film makers look for ‘block’ movies, which means that the movie plot unravels in an ordinary city, with ordinary people and no extra costs are incurred because of setting or genre.

How To Write A Movie Script PDF

Script Writing Course In A Video – How To Write A Screenplay

https://youtu.be/4hepINkxlkc

Video Transcript:

I’m gonna tell you everything you need to write your first screenplay. We’re gonna go over story structure, formatting software, and more. Stay tuned. The first thing you need to do if you want to write screenplays is actually read some screenplays.

I put links down below for all kinds of websites that will have the scripts for your favorite movies. Now there’s one thing you need to keep in mind. Some of these are production drafts or shooting drafts and some are spec scripts. You need to make sure you’re writing a spec script.

There’s a separate video that I made that is telling you the difference between the two. You need to know the difference. That’s gonna be in a playlist at the end of this video. Next you need some software to help you write your screenplay.

The industry standard is Final Draft. That’s what all the pros use. A runner up to that would be Movie Magic. I happen to like that one because of the way it handles notes, but there are plenty of free software programs that are gonna help you write your screenplay. Like Trobee and Celtx.

Scriptwriting Classes OnlineSome people like Write or Doit. It has a trial so there’s no excuse to have a script that is not properly formatted. Again, there’s links down below for some software that you can use to format your script.

Now that’s gonna help you get the margins correct but you still have to know something about the basic formatting and the first thing to know is that your screenplay needs to be in 12-point courier font.

It needs to look like it was written in a typewriter. So let’s look at the title page. You’re gonna have the title in all caps in the middle of the page. Now here’s where you can kind of veer from the rule. That is, your entire script should be written in 12-point courier font. It’s becoming in vogue now to use a different font for just the title or maybe even a graphic for just the title.

And if you have a Windows computer and you want to learn how to do that I made a video about that as well but the rest of your script is gonna be 12-point courier font. Now one thing to note here – too don’t use new courier cuz a lot of people are reading things on tablets and phones and it’s too light.

So use a darker courier. So you’re gonna have your title in the middle of the page. Then below that you’re gonna have either written ‘by’ and then below that you’re gonna have your name. Then on either the bottom left or the bottom right you’re gonna put your name and your email address and your phone number.

It’s becoming kind of not so much in vogue anymore to put your address, so you don’t need to put your address there. So now let’s look at the first page of your script. There’s not gonna be a number on the first page the rest of the pages of the script will have numbers on them the first one does is so don’t think that’s an error when you’re printing it out.

Then you used to have to write ‘fade in’ as the first thing in your script. We don’t really do that anymore because it’s kind of a given. If we’re gonna see something, we must have faded in. So you’re just gonna start with your slug line or your scene heading.

This basically tells us where the scene takes place and what time it takes place, so it’s gonna start with either ext or int. That is short for either interior or exterior. Is this an inside shot or an outside shot? So if it was at the park it would be ext, exterior park.

Movie script writing onlineIf it was in a living room it would be interior ‘int.living room’. Then at the end you’re gonna put the time. Now really all you have to put here is day or night. Don’t go crazy and start putting mid afternoon, early evening, 4:00 a.m., because that just Flags you as an amateur.

Because you have to understand what someone’s gonna do with this script. Eventually, down the road, if it sells, because your script is gonna sell, if someone has to break down this script and they need to know how to shoot this.

And if you wrote 4 a.m. the whole crew is not gonna sit around for half a day or stay up all night waiting for 4:00 a.m. to shoot your scene. If it needs to be daytime outside they’re gonna shoot it whenever they can.

If it’s night-time they’re gonna shoot it whenever they can, so just put either day or night. That’s it. Then under that you’re gonna have your description or action lines and the first thing you’re gonna write is something to kind of orient us to the setting.

Just a little snippet and again you don’t want to go crazy here. A good rule of thumb is to write the way you would describe a movie that you saw to a friend. So let’s say we have our two bad guys go to a bar and they start talking about their diamond heist.

If you were describing this movie that you saw to a friend, you wouldn’t say ‘okay, so they go to this bar and the bar has green bar stools and there’s a dartboard and there’s three pool tables in the back and the bathrooms are at the very back and the bar is kind of long and there’s two TVs over the bar’.

Your friend would be like ‘what are you talking about? Why are you telling me about the barstool? What why do I have to know where the bathrooms are? Just tell me the story’. If you were describing this movie to a friend, you would just say ‘so the bad guys go to the seedy bar’ and then they start doing whatever they’re gonna do.

You just want to give a vibe of the location because you’re gonna let the set designer figure out the specifics. You’re not gonna start telling us what’s on the walls and what color things are. A screenplay is not like a novel, so you’re just gonna very quickly give us the vibe of the setting.

Is it say a modern office? Is it a living room decorated? You know, something really quick that just gives us the vibe of where we are. And this is where I’m gonna go on my squirrel rant because I think is so often a good way to show that you’re new and you don’t know what you’re doing is to start asking for very specific things that are unnecessary.

And my favorite one is they’ll say its ‘exterior, park, day’ and they’ll say ‘it’s a beautiful day at the park and a squirrel runs across the ground’. Does the squirrel factor into the story? Is this the movie about squirrels? Does the squirrel come and bite somebody and they get rabies and it starts a zombie apocalypse?

Movie writing online classesNo, the squirrel is just stuck in for decoration. It is pointless. It is meaningless and the person putting a squirrel in there for no darn good reason doesn’t know what they’re asking for, because you’re gonna have to ask the production to hire a Flora, a trained squirrel.

And you’re probably gonna have to have a squirrel Wrangler with the squirrel. You might have to have a baby girl, you might have to pay PETA to come babysit the situation to make sure no squirrels were harmed in this production. Then you have to house the squirrel and the squirrel Wrangler and also transport them from wherever they’re being housed to the scene.

You’re asking for all this money and all this effort and all this time and it doesn’t matter so do not put anything in your screenplay that doesn’t actually matter. No pretty set decoration, no Faberge eggs just sitting on the shelf, just to be pretty. You want to give very general ideas of things they can use. Whatever is available and give us some vibe without unnecessary skills.

Then you’re gonna introduce your characters. Now every time you introduce a new character you’re gonna put their name in all caps. What that does is, the person breaking down the script later, after your script sells and somebody has to break it down to shoot it, it tells them this is the first time we’ve seen this character.

So they can then keep track of them during the script. So the first time they appear their names gonna be in all caps. Then you’re gonna give us either an age range, like 40s or you might give a specific age if they’re younger like 16 – 17.

Then again, a brief description without getting too specific. You’re not gonna tell us everything they’re wearing from head to toe. You’re not gonna tell us that they have blue eyes and brown hair. That’s for the casting agent… you’re gonna give us more of a vibe like they’re goth or their nerdy or their preppy.

Read screenplays and you’ll kind of get more of a gist for it, so that you’ll understand how to introduce characters. So what else is going to go in your action lines and your description lines is exactly that; action or description.

So you know Ted walks across the room, someone goes and picks something up. Anything you see on screen is going to go in the action and description lines and a general rule of thumb is that every time you start a new paragraph you are implying a different camera shot.

Movie script writing coursesSo if you want everything to kind of have same shot, you can put it on the same paragraph. If you’re kind of cutting back and forth between two different shots, then you’re gonna start new paragraphs.

You also don’t usually want to have paragraphs that are any longer than four to five lines because when you get a big block of text the person reading is just gonna curl up in the fetal position and cry because they don’t want to dive into that.

You want to make it easy to read. They say in Hollywood you want a lot of white space. When you look at your page you want to see a lot of white space. If you are still a little unclear about what goes in the action lines I made a video called the Pace of the Read, which is a very different way of looking at it which will help you mucho mucho.

So go watch that, it’ll be in the playlist at the end. Now after action lines comes the dialogue. You’re gonna have your character’s name and all caps in the middle, then below that is going to be what they say.

Now you sometimes have an extension after the character’s name. That would be either vo or os or OC vo is voice over. That’s when you have something that was recorded somewhere else this coming on top of the scene. OS or OC is off screen or off camera.

That would be if the camera is looking somewhere else but the other actor is still in the vicinity so we can hear them. We just can’t see them. Underneath the character’s name you might have Wiley’s or parentheses. That would be an action that is happening while the character says something.

So let’s say Tom asked bill to pass the salt and so Bill passes the salt, as he says ‘sure. here you go’. You would put that in a Wylie under the character name ‘passing the salt he says here you go now’. If he doesn’t say anything and he just passes a salt, then it would just being the action line ‘bill passes the salt’.

What can also go in the the parentheses is some kind of a modifier of how they say something. So if you want to put ‘smiling’ or ‘sarcastic’ or something like that, but you really, really want to limit the use of these.

Actors find them annoying, cuz you’re telling them what to do like you know better and it just kind of clutters up the read and usually they’re redundant. Someone will write ‘sarcastic’ and it’s a line that’s very obviously sarcastic, or someone will say ‘screaming’ and then it’ll be all caps with exclamation points, where it was kind of obvious.

To help you with dialogue I made this video. Again, this will be in the big old playlist of videos at the end that you’re gonna watch after this video. That will help you avoid some really common dialogue mistakes.

Screenwriting course onlineNow a general rule of thumb is that each of your scenes should be around two pages long, so some will be shorter. You might have some scenes that are half a page, one page. Some will be three pages, four pages.

Maybe sometimes you have a really long scene but if all your scenes are like three pages, four pages, five pages, seven pages, they’re too long. You got to start cutting that and start speeding up the pace. Now how long should your screenplay be?

The old numbers about 10 years ago where that your screenplay should be like 95 to 120 pages. That’s come way down now. The longest your screenplay should probably be aim for like 105 pages, so you can be like 90 to 105.

Now after you’re finished your screenplay how are you going to get it to Hollywood? Most of the times submissions are made through email with a PDF, so in your screenplay software you’re gonna generate a PDF and you’re gonna send that and the very first page of the PDF will be the title page.

Now let’s say you actually need to bind your screenplay because a friend of yours is having a pool party and Steven Spielberg’s coming and he said he would read a script on the way home in the plane. Are you gonna go to Kinko’s and get the most expensive awesome binding they have so you’ll impress Steven Spielberg?

No, because the industry binds the screenplays in a very particular way. You’re gonna get two blank pieces of card stock. White is great. Another neutral color is fine. One on the front, one in the back. The whole thing is three-hole punched but you’re only gonna put one and a quarter of brass fasteners in the top and the bottom and then so that those stay in nice and cozy.

You’re gonna use some brass washers, there’s links for those down below. Now we’re gonna talk about story structure. You’ll hear a lot about three-act structure. As you start kind of with the ordinary world set up, then around page 12-15 you have what’s called the ‘inciting incident’ that kind of sets the story in motion.

Then you’ve got like a climax, plot point kind of at the end of Act one. You’ve got something exciting and amazing happening in the midpoint. Something else unbelievably exciting and amazing is happening at the end of Act two and then you’ve got your climax at the end and then a resolution after the climax.

Now if that’s too mathematical for you and that makes really no sense, I hear you, and a more simple way to think about it comes from Emma Coates, who wrote a list called the ‘Twenty two rules of storytelling’.

Now some books that you can read that pretty much all screenwriters have read, whether they actually use them or not they’re still aware of them. Syd field, Screenplay Story by Robert McKee, Save the Cat by Blake Schneider.

Now there are a lot of different ways to go about structuring your story and I have my own particular way that I made a video about it and this could have been a book because it’s a revolutionary way to plot your story.

Starting from the middle, then going from the middle to the end, then going backwards and it solves one of the biggest problems that I see in the scripts that I read and that is repetitive boring screenplays.

Because usually, when you read structure books or you look at structure templates, you have a character has a goal and they’re fighting towards their goal and they have setbacks and the keep fighting towards their goal and have setbacks. And you end up with this really repetitive story and you don’t have much of a character arc as well.

I’ll talk about character arts in a second here. So after you watch this video and you watch the playlist of all the videos I’m mentioning, you’re gonna watch this video which is Your screenplay needs Candy. It’s about candy steppin’. It’s about a series of progressive related goals and it works for both character driven or plot driven scripts.

You can look at Silver Linings playbook or you can look at Die Hard or Silence of the Lambs and it’s still gonna match this template and if you use my technique it’s gonna give you a much more exciting script and it’s gonna really help you understand what should be there.

It’s gonna make you avoid the horrible horrible repetitive screenplays that are so rampant. Now let’s talk about character arc. Usually somebody has to have one. They’ll talk usually about it being your main character having one, but it doesn’t always have to be your main character.

It has to be some character and I talked about this in this video Advanced Screenwriting. You can watch that as well. So your arc is gonna be you forcing a character to change and grow though and do what they need to do.

So all these external things that you’re forcing your character to do and suffer are to push them to change and grow. So you also want to very much keep in mind your characters arc or the character arc that is in there, if it’s not your main character, when you are plotting your screenplay.

I have a video on that as well. It is called Structure with Character Arc. Now after you are finished with your screenplay, if you wanna, you can copyright it. If you’re a little paranoid that somebody’s gonna steal it you can register with the Library of Congress or the WGA to help protect your copyright.

Now you have copyright whether you officially registered or not but if it makes y’all cozy to not have to worry that somebody’s gonna steal your movie, I put links down below for the websites you need to go to if you want to register your script for copyright.

Now after you finish your script you’re gonna need some feedback. You need to refine it and make it better. Now your mom is great but she’s probably not gonna give very constructive criticism because she’s gonna be too nice and give you cookies.

You want people that are a little more inside the industry. A nice first step would be Zoetrope , which is the website that Francis Ford Coppola made and it’s basically peer review. It’s other screenwriters, newer screenwriters like you and you’re doing review swaps.

You read their script and they’ll read yours. Now the best way to learn screenwriting is to evaluate and read other people’s screenplays, because you will see the mistakes they make and they will annoy you so much you will never make those mistakes again.

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Zoetrope is a great site to go to for feedback but then eventually you’re going to want feedback from people who are in the industry who are reading the scripts that are currently out there. There are a lot of different places you can go to.

One of the ones I happen to use is Screenplay Readers. I also use the Screenplay Mechanic and Amanda’s Script Gal, so there’s links for those down below. I am very, very, very rarely available for notes and I’ll have a link for me down below but the waiting list and I have no idea when I’ll be available.

Then after you’ve gotten all kinds of feedback and everyone cries tears of joy when they read your script, and it’s everything you want it to be, and it’s ready to go, then you’re gonna want to watch my video How to sell a Screenplay.

It’s gonna talk about contests and pitchfest and all kinds of avenues into Hollywood. There’s all kinds of ways to break in. And that is everything you need to know to write your amazing screenplay and I encourage you to do it, even if you’ve never written anything.

Even if you don’t consider yourself a writer. You will just become a more interesting, fascinating, happy person if you embark on this journey and especially if you have a story that is burning inside of you that wants to come out, so write that screenplay!

The playlist for all the videos I mentioned is going to be at the end and also a link for my sketch comedy channel, where I work out my sillies called Bad Squish. You can check that out as well. I hope you appreciated this video. If you did, don’t forget to give it a thumbs up and don’t forget to subscribe and I will talk to you later.

Script Writing Course Tips How To Write A Screenplay PDF

 

 

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How To Write A Movie Script Fast – Script Writing Course

how to write a movie fast

When beginning to write, most people want to write stories, either in the form of a short story or a novel. Many of us naturally visualise the stories we write – basically we run a movie in our minds. It makes complete sense to write a great story as a screenplay. Again, most enthusiastic new writers are in a hurry and want to know how to write a movie fast!

Without a doubt, speed isn’t the only criterion. Writing screenplays that sell are really what it’s all about. How to combine the two, that’s the question. The two videos below give the points of view of two professionals, a busy independent film maker and a script writer. Both know how to write a good screenplay and firmly believe, with organisation and commitment, anyone can write a screenplay in a month or so.

How To Write A Screenplay In One Month – Is It Possible?

Normally, you should be suspicious of headlines such as the one above, and so was I, until I came across a course offered by a seasoned professional script writer with the right credentials and a killer guarantee. I’m going to write it bold, because it’s hands-down the best guarantee I have ever seen on the internet:

I absolutely GUARANTEE that you’ll secure your first movie contract within the year. If you don’t, simply return the course within 12 months – and we’ll refund every cent you paid!

Checkout James Lamberg’s course here:     MovieInAMonthCourse-How to write a movie script

On with the show! Both of the professional talking below give screen-writing tips I can readily relate to and address issues that all writers face. We tend to be introverted and perfectionist, and really want even our first draft to be just right. This approach can be stifle that great idea that made us put pen to paper in the first place.

Writing a great script fast can release a writer from the the shackles that bind, allowing him or her to write rubbish, as long as the ideas are flowing. the script can be tidied up later, there’s no need to beat ourselves up before we’ve even  pushed out a first draft.

The first draft is the time for creativity, not grammatical or syntactical perfection. The second draft of the script will be more considered and this is the time for a more objective and critical approach.

Advice On How To Write A Screenplay Fast

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hw7WGL4f1H8

Video Transcript:

Yo, what’s up, guys. I am back in the car with some cool film-making wisdom, some tips to give you guys. So today I want to talk about how to write a screenplay fast. Why would you want to write a screenplay fast? Well check this out. As an independent filmmaker, I talked about a long time that you have a million things that you’re juggling.

You have so much on your plate, so many things to do and I tell people all the time that’s one of the most difficult jobs you could ever take on as being independent filmmaker. So what you want to do, if you’re writing a screenplay, do it really fast. That frees up time to start worrying about the other things.

With that being said, trust me when I tell you this writing a screenplay fast is good for not just saving you time. Some of you might be wondering about quality. This actually will help the quality of your film and I’ll tell you why.

how to write a screenplay in a monthThe last script I wrote I believe is one of the best I’ve ever written in my entire life and it was also the fastest I ever wrote. The reason for that is because I wrote it so quick. Then we had to go through all the processes of, you know, pre-production, casting, you know, finding locations, getting the budget, all that stuff.

We had to go through all those things, so while we were doing that I was adjusting, making small adjustments here and there. To make the the rough draft I spit it out in two weeks. We were honing that in and really making it as good as it could be.

I would bounce it back over to my partner Jennifer and, yeah, and I feel like it was written better since I took the approach of trying to get it done as fast as I could. Always heard then it would be a good idea to sit down for 10 minutes a day and just commit.

You gotta make a big commitment there to say ‘I am gonna commit for the next two weeks of my life to write at least 10 minutes a day’. Everybody has ten minutes of their day that they can devote to something.

The reason that was one of the best things I can do is because I’ve found myself – what happens? You sit down for 10 minutes and once you get into it and you start putting pen to paper, the time goes by and suddenly you’ve been writing for an hour so., even though you dedicated only 10 minutes.

As you put that 10 minutes down, you find yourself in this writing zone and you just keep going. Now oviously if that doesn’t happen it’s okay and you just dedicated your 10 minutes. You wrote and you can close the tablet and, you know, go back to whatever you were doing.

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But I really feel like that was one of the biggest, most helpful things for me when I was writing. The second thing I’ll tell you is something I get from Quentin Tarantino. Tarantino, I was listening to this cool interview with Eli Roth and Quentin Tarantino told Eli Roth he always should write his screenplays and paper by hand, you know old-school style.

And he and Roth was, like, we talked about ‘now I just type it up and quit’. Tarantino’s like ‘you can’t write poetry with a robotic, you know, tapping away on a with an electronic screen. You can’t create art by poking it some.

So you know, of it’s too robotic … it sounded cool to me…. It’s just different. You feel different. It’s got this different vibe to it, when you’re writing ing by hand and I really believe that because I started writing by hand. When I heard that and I tried it and now I do it with everything.

When I write from day to day I’ll write them out by hand. There’s something about it, you’re connected to it more. It’s physical in nature. It’s in the real world with you, so I think that that’s better. And Plus, you can scribble. You can just keep going.

What you want to do is, you want to get (I guess this would be the third tip) we’re gonna get a cheap little 99 cent notebook ,paper tablet notebook, paper tablet and carry it with you at all times, so that if you haven’t gotten your 10 minutes that day you just flip that bad boy over and scribble down for 10 minutes.

Get them, get the ideas out of your head and that that’s gonna be huge because you don’t want to 5 or 10 minutes and not have something . Right on, but be careful – don’t lose it , happened to me.

how to write movie script fastTip number four – on this, what you want to do, what I found to be so helpful was I started by saying I had my intro scene, the very first scene of the movie and then I typed out what I knew. Because I knew what I wanted to happen in the opening of the movie and I knew how the movie should end, and then I had one or two big moments in the movie that I knew.

So I like it I brought out a timeline on a piece of paper. It’s like ‘ intro – this happens, then this happens’. As you’re writing, you know, you’re going from point A to point B. You know where you’re going next and so you’re like ‘how can I get this character? what should this character be doing in order to get them to this point here?’

They visit this point of the story point at the timeline, so I’m telling you right now that was a big help for me. So there are some other things you could do. I think it’s important to listen to motivational things that stay motivated.

Right you know, I would have some of my heroes, like I changed the screen saver and the background on my computer and the background on my phone. I changed those to pictures of my heroes. You know, people that I really respect. Some of my favorite directors and favorite writers and favorite achievers and you know my heroes.

I changed the pictures of those and, you know, it seems silly but you when you see that on a daily basis it’s just a little reminder ‘hey, get to work! hey,you got dreams! hey, you got things to do!’ and it would remind me of what I need to finish and then I had a mission.

So if you got a screenplay you’re working on, get to work. You can do it. You can do it fast and you can tweak it, and it can be amazing and then you can go out and make a cool film. I hope you guys found these tips useful. Please subscribe to my channel. Hit that little annoying Bell. I know it’s stupid but if you hit that Bell it will notify you when I have a video coming up next, so get those things for me and I will talk to you guys soon. Peace out.

Write A Screenplay In less Than A Month

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsz_jNBZevg

Video Transcript:

Film Courage:  When do you start writing everyday?

Danny Strong, Screenwriter/Actor: So I have basically the same pattern when I’m writing. Sometimes if I’m in production it will change.  But if I’m just in a writing phase (which is my favorite to be honest with you because I love my schedule as a writer) I wake up, I go somewhere, have breakfast and usually I can go somewhere and write and then I’ll open my computer…so now it’s around 10:30ish and then I return emails for about an hour or an hour and a half, and then I start writing.

And then I write for about three to four hours straight and then I’m done. And that is basically my process. And sometimes it takes me about two hours to get started and then when I get to that two hour mark and haven’t started that’s when self-loathing comes in, so then I do get started. But usually I can get going in about an hour. But usually I can get going to about an hour to an hour and a half.

Film Courage: Is this on a computer that is hooked up to the Internet?

Danny Strong: Yeah, I definitely stay on the Internet because I’m looking things up all the time as I’m writing. Sometimes it’s just random things…like I’m looking for a synonym or something. And I’ll just got to synonym and type in a word and some synonyms will pop up. So it can be as simple as that.

Film Courage: So it’s not a distraction?

Danny Strong: No, not on the whole. I mean it can be a little bit but it works for me. And so that’s my schedule.

Film Courage: What’s the longest writing day you’ve ever had?

how to write a play script step by stepDanny Strong: I don’t like to write once I get tired because then I just lose my focus and the writing is not as good. But the first two seasons on Empire I wrote a lot of the show.

So those would turn into sometimes long days where you’re writing and rewriting an episode and you’re doing a lot of work so sometimes you’re doing a lot of work so sometimes 10 hours. And I don’t like it at all and I think the work suffers for it.

Film Courage: So you think you’re better at the 3-4 hour mark?

Danny Strong: Yeah! That’s why I do it. It’s literally as soon as I start to lose my focus, then I just stop. And I don’t have writer’s block. It’s not a very dramatic thing. There’s no inspiration, I don’t wait for inspiration. I say inspiration is for amateurs.

Amateurs get inspired, professionals just go do it. And it’s not even very dramatic anymore. I mean I just go and I know I’m going to do it. I mean I know I’m going to get stuff done. And it’s very productive to be honest with you.

I find that I get a lot of writing done because I don’t make a big deal about it. It’s not this big dramatic thing for me. I just show up and I just get going. Like I said, it takes sometimes an hour and hour and a half to actually get started. Occasionally two hours!

And then we just start going and I try to be non-judgemental of it. And I don’t sit there and question it or think that I’m not talented or…I just try and do it. And then there’s a phase when you have to edit it and go through it and that is a more critical part of your brain.

writing screenplays that sellBut I do my best not to beat myself up about it. And if I don’t like something I just change it and I just keep working on it and working on it and not turn it into some big melodramatic, artist’s struggle.

I don’t view it that way at all. I will say one thing that I think could be very interesting to people that are writers is what I do is I outline a script very meticulously and my outlines are about 25 pages to 30 pages long.

And then when I go to write the actual first draft, I will not reread one word of what I’ve written until I’ve written the whole script. So for my first pass on a screenplay, I start from the beginning and then I just go…and I go all the way through until I’m done without having read one word of it and it takes about three weeks.

So in three weeks, I’ve written a whole draft and it’s a whole draft and it’s a lot of fun because there is no judgement whatsoever. I’m just writing straight through. And then I go through and very meticulously work through the scenes and that takes two to three weeks and then in six weeks I have a draft but it’s really two drafts because I’ve done one straight through and then one (this sort of meticulous work-through).

And I will say that the second phase of it (the meticulous work-through phase) is the least enjoyable part of the process because it’s the most critical where for a couple weeks I just I have to work through these scenes but I just do it.

And then after that I have a draft to work off of and then there are many drafts after that. But I have this nice foundation.

Film Courage: Going back to what you said about not making a big deal about waiting for inspiration, was it always this way for you?

Danny Strong: No this was over many years of figuring this out. And for the first several years I was writing, I was deep in my acting career and writing was more therapeutic to get my mind off of the very painful trials and tribulations of an acting career because it’s very difficult and you get rejected a lot.

And all of the cliches are absolutely true but I was serious about it but I think it just took awhile of realizing that beating yourself up and I have no talent and this is terrible, I’ll work with a writer and they’ll say “Oh that was sh*t!”

And I’ll say “Don’t worry about it. Don’t worry about if it’s good or bad, just take a look at it and see what could be improved. There’s no reason to be so caustic and hostile about the material. It’s just words on a screen. You can change them. Just change them.” So that’s very much something that guides me in my work.

 

how to write screenplay fast

 

How to write a movie script fast PDF

 

How To Write A Good Screenplay

How to write a good screenplay tips

Writing a movie script is one thing, but knowing how to write a good screenplay is a horse of a different colour. It isn’t enough to know all about the mechanics of formatting correctly, or even throwing in some sharp dialogue (or so you think!) Let’s agree that a good screenplay is one that sells and leads to a commercially successful movie.

What makes a script good? What are the magic ingredients? How do these great screenwriters get their inspiration? There is no magic, except the kind generated by dedication and hard work. If you wait around, looking out of the window, expecting that flash of inspiration, you’ll be waiting a long time. It happens, but it’s rare.

For the vast majority of writers, the seed of an idea pops up in the mind and grows over a period of weeks or months. Whatever he or she is doing, the the idea is being nurtured in the back of their mind. Before getting down to some serious script writing, each scene is planned carefully to create the naturally flowing story crafted to capture the hearts of the audience.

How To Write A Good Movie Script – Two Perspectives From Professionals

https://youtu.be/ulg1gQFfmmM

Video Transcript:

My writing process has evolved over the years but I’m always very much concerned with outlining and giving a shape to it before I dive in. Whenever I’ve tried to just take a run at it I find myself writing myself into impossible corners and having to back up and rethink things.

I tend to think very much about structure and organization and I do a lot of preliminary sketches and notes and put post-its on the wall to figure out where certain scenes are before I actually dive in.

I don’t do outlines. I don’t plan where I’m going because I like to be surprised by what I’m writing. The greatest twist in the history of cinema I would suggest humbly is Darth Vader saying ‘I’m your father’. I love writing things when one character says something and you’re like ‘well that’s a joke’ and then you, you know, you go that way and I think outlines you know prevent that happening.

Obviously most people do them and that’s great and if that works for you then brilliant but it’s me personally. I like to be surprised and in order to do that, that can only come from listening to the characters. They’ve become very real people to us.

I mean they are obviously versions of ourselves at some level and we know where they want to go in life. We each have an instinct about our own characters and I think we have an instinct about each other’s characters.

How to write a good script for movie guideOur daily routine for working is, when we’re writing, is to write five days a week, sort of 10 till 5 and it pretty much like a day job. A lot of that time is spent mining the interiors of the characters. It’s not necessarily physically writing but we might spend two hours discussing the motivation of something people say.

Write you know and I do think that that usually, with some exceptions, people are strongest writing about a millionaire. So for instance, I think Woody Allen is uniquely brilliant at writing about the world he came from and no one knows the nuances of that better than him but not by his own standards.

I think he’s quite clumsy when he tries to film about London. When you’re adapting a novel you have to take into account, especially with a well known work, what the audience remembers most from that book. You don’t have to remain true to the actual structure of the book or to specific lines.

You have to remain true to what people remember about the book. So they’re going to be moments that stand out in their minds, that they’re waiting to see, the scenes that they expect. Well Marigold is a very free adaptation and it got freer and freer. I mean the book actually got reissued with a new title and people reading it slightly baffled as to them in the end.

All we took from it is old people go to India, which is not say that’s not a great book, it just it was a process of development and the more people that read it they had that haven’t read the book, or like ‘why don’t we change that and change that’.

So gradually the book … because the longer the process of development, that likelihood is the further and further you’ll get away from the book itself. I learnt a lot at during working on the thick of it about this process. Very nearly everybody who are the core actors were also writers.

How to write a good screenplay advice

And I think that there’s something about having that bit of your head that can stand back and look at the whole and understands it as a structure and as a beast. That is very useful particularly if you’re going to use improvising. So really it’s about story. I mean, I think story is the key to writing.

You do spend a lot of time by yourself when you’re writing the first draft particularly and I’ve gotten out of the habit of showing anyone anything before the first draft is done. Because I’m too paranoid about what they’ll think of it.

I won’t even show my wife uh when it is done. I try to send it off and I’ve gotten better at not getting emotionally upset when the response is not ‘this is the best thing I’ve ever read in my life’. I think once something has worked you can analyze it post the event, like you analyze a rally at a tennis rally.

And explain why the two, you know, combatants, chose those shots at that time and why that worked but I think you you slowly learn what works and what doesn’t. I think with most things again the analogy was with sport the best way of learning is to watch someone who’s really good at it.

So watch stuff that you really like and respect and you will imbibe some of that and then you will make it your own. It’s an interesting challenge with screenwriting because I can’t spend page after page designing exactly the way a scene will look.

That’s the job of the director. That’s the job of the production designers. I have to captured the actions and the tone and the rhythm of the scene. It’s kind of always on set for everything I write … people still say like ‘that’s weird’ that the writers saying ‘where else am I going to be?’

How to write a good script for beginnersLike I’m so I’m lonely on my desk. It’s, you know, this is the good stuff. This is why I do it – to be here – this is the good stuff. But conversely, when it’s not good … when they, you know, you walk into the bedroom of the character and you go ‘yeah that’s not what I thought’.

When they cast someone you go ‘really?’ That’s, you know, that’s tough but I mean that comes with it. Those are the breaks, you know. Listening, I think, for me has been really critical. I’ve worked with some brilliant script editors and some brilliant producers early on and they have basically taught me the rules.

Then of course those rules are there to be broken but I think without understanding them it’s really hard to keep going. I when I first started out I had a a piece of post-it note stuck to my screen that said ‘nothing worthwhile is easy’, so that when I got a rejection I would say to myself ‘well it’s not supposed to be easy’.

It’s going to be difficult. The real job in getting into this business is sticking around long enough and continuing to get better and better at what you do, because the truth is if you write a great script they’ll find you.

They’re aching for good writers, so it’s the ability to be ready when the door opens. It’s not about how which door you knock on first. It’s about, yes, getting the job as an assistant, keeping yourself in there, continuing to work at it and waiting you will get your chance – then the question is ‘are you ready?’

How To Write A Good Movie Script – Attention To Detail

https://youtu.be/5rR_kFsjeR4

Video Transcript:

When screenwriters finally get around to writing the story they’ve had in their head for so long they often want to hurry and get that first draft on the page without planning it out. Getting those 90 to 100 pages for that first draft often really is the hardest part but if you sit down and just start writing when you finish it’s really not a first draft.

Instead, it’s a rough first draft. Now I have no objection to doing this but the problem is some of the scenes that just get thrown onto the page to get that rough first draft completed stay in the screenplay when they really don’t fit, once you start developing it and really crafting your script.

I’ve read and analysed literally thousands of screenplays in depth from top Hollywood directors down to writers who didn’t know how to format a screenplay, and across the board the most common problem I see is writers leaving irrelevant or boring scenes in the script.

How to write a good movie script 2018Actually, most professionals know to take those out but aspiring writers too often write scenes to fill the pages to get to that magical number of 85 or 90 page minimum and the minimum keeps changing, so they keep writing to get to that magic number.

But when a scene is plopped into just add to the page count, it can really mess things up. When it comes to the plot every scene in your script needs to be crafted so it arises organically and the next scene just comes naturally.

Of course, it takes a lot of work to make it seem so organic and natural but that’s the work you need to do to write a great script. Every scene in your script needs to be purposeful and meet at least two of the three key objectives.

If it doesn’t, then it either needs to be cut or rewritten so that it does meet at least two of the following three objectives. Now here are the three objectives:

amplify the theme
move the plot forward
develop the character arc

Now let’s take a look at each of these. Number one amplify the theme. Your theme is basically the whole point of the story. What’s your story really about on a universal level? Your story needs to offer some kind of insight into the human experience.

We become riveted, or I should say, audiences become riveted when we see characters confronting real-life situation. A movie script should show an amplified version of what we normally deal with. The lesson your character learns is the theme of your story.

Your scenes and sequences need to always have an eye toward your theme. Your images, your dialogue – they need to reference a theme throughout your screenplay and each scene should amplify the theme in some manner.

Number two objective is move the plot forward … In the film The Wolf of Wall Street for example, Leonardo DiCaprio plays Jordan Belfort, the real-life wolf and DiCaprio does this amazing thematic speech about money. It’s inspiring to the employees while he gives the speech and then at the end he gives them a call to action which sets up the next point.

Having that speech turned into action for the plot is critical. He’s not just merely pontificating when he gives this speech to the employees. He actually has a very specific intention and in that scene all three objectives are met.

The theme is amplified, it moves the story forward and then that brings us to the third objective which – is number three, develop the character arc. The scene from the film that I just mentioned shows us Jordan Belfort’s character and it intensifies what we’ve already seen.

It builds tension around the question of ‘how long he can push things?’ Watching it, you can feel DiCaprio’s strong personal intention behind what he’s saying. It looks like he’s just motivating his employees but you can sense that he’s on a mission.

So that’s why it’s developing his character arc or revealing his character, also because this scene accomplishes all three things. It makes that scene one of the most memorable scenes in recent movie history in my view. Even if you hate the principal he speaks of, which is all about the money.

So those are your three objectives and you should try to fulfill at least two of them in each and every scene, if not all three. Now for a quick summary – to dramatically improve your script go scene by scene and see which of the three objectives or purposes above that it meets.

If it doesn’t mean at least two of them, then rewrite it or take it out. Feel free to also add whatever one is missing if it only meets two, but most importantly make sure it meets at least two of the three objectives.

I hope you have found this helpful. If you’d like to have a professional assessment on your screenplay check out the types of script analysis that I offer. Again, this is Melody Jackson. Let me know if you want any of my help and either way, whether you have me review your script or you do it on your own, keep these three key objectives in mind. Learn them inside and out and you will be well on your way to excellence in your screenwriting.

How to write a good screenplay – 3 Key Objectives For Every Scene