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.

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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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.”

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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

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.

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.

Script Writing Course – Screenwriting Classes

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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!

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

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 ‘ 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.

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

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

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.


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

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