Writing great scripts takes a lot of skill and practice. However, with a little planning, you can improve your chances of writing quality scripts that will resonate with a large audience. Learn how to write well-crafted scripts that are appealing and easy to follow.
According to statistics, 75 feature films were produced in Canada between April 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Regardless, the industry appears to be on the mend, which means that the demand for good scripts will skyrocket in the future.
If you are a scriptwriter, you must work hard to be one of the lucky ones to shine on the screen. Let’s take a closer look at how you can write a great script that is at least as good as the ones produced for The Meaning of Empathy, No Ordinary Man, and Still Processing.
How Do You Start Writing a Script?
Scriptwriting is similar to playing the lottery in that you never know when you will win, but with the right approach and tips, you can increase your chances of producing good material. Here are the six fundamental steps you must take:
1. The First Step Is to Have an Idea for a Script
The first step is to have an idea for a script. If you do not have a good idea, it will be much harder to move forward and develop the material into something that can be seen as great by producers and screenwriters.
2. Come Up with Characters
Next, you need to come up with characters and a storyline. If the characters are weak or not believable, your audience will soon lose interest.
3. Map Out Your Plot
After you have picked the characters for your story, you must map out your plot so that everything makes sense and flows smoothly. It will help you ensure that you keep your readers on track and prevent them from getting lost in the story.
4. Write Your Screenplay
Create a story that is engaging and exciting:
- Establish clear conflict and stakes throughout the story;
- Bring your characters to life with effective dialogue and scene descriptions;
- Finish your screenplay with a powerful finale that leaves audiences thirsty for more.
5. Format Your Screenplay
Formatting your screenplay is essential for two reasons:
- It makes your writing easier for editors and producers to read and understand;
- It will help you get a good deal on submissions.
There are different formats that you can use, but the most common ones are the traditional screenwriting format and the teleplay format:
- The traditional screenwriting format is used for feature films and long-form television shows. It consists of a prologue, five acts, an epilogue, and a credits sequence;
- The teleplay format is used for short-form television shows and webisodes. It contains only one act and no credit sequence.
You can also choose to write in a hybrid screenplay format. It combines features of both the traditional screenwriting format and the teleplay format. Here are six basic steps that you can follow to format your screenplay:
- Title page;
- Copyright page;
- Plot summary (or outline);
- Characters list (with names and characteristics);
- Scene list (with numbers and sequences);
- Ending notes.
6. Edit Your Screenplay and Check It for Typos and Grammar Mistakes
Here are the key steps you should take to ensure your script is accurate and error-free:
- Check your grammar and spelling while you are editing your document. Even the smallest mistake can lead to major headaches down the line when it comes to correcting typos or ensuring that your dialogue sounds natural onscreen. If you have difficulties with it, visit writing services review websites such as Rated by Students to find a specialist who will help you overcome the issue;
- Make sure your scenes flow logically together. There should be no jarring jumps in time or location. Scenes that feel choppy or out of place will distract from the overall narrative arc of your story;
- Use descriptions sparingly. They should be used when necessary to help readers visualize what happens on screen. Giving too much detail can serve as a distraction from the story itself instead of aiding comprehension;
- Be aware of your audience. If your screenplay is geared towards a specific type of viewer, be sure to give enough information so that viewers can easily follow the plot without too much confusion;
- Proofread and edit your work repeatedly until it is perfect.
If you are a screenwriter, you know that writing a screenplay is one of the most important steps in the filmmaking process. Your film will almost certainly be rejected by both producers and moviegoers if it lacks a well-written script. So, if you want your project to succeed, follow the basic steps outlined above and bring your best skills and knowledge to the table.
Lillie Jenkins is a creative copywriter and content writer. She has worked as a copywriter since graduating school, so her writing skills are well-honed. She works as a copywriter at the popular writing center TopWritingReviews. She writes publications in such fields as marketing, business, education, and personal life. More than writing Lillie loves to travel and read professional literature.