Wednesday, March 25, 2009  

Writers inside tips on how to write a screenplay

Almost everyone thinks they know how to write a screenplay. Weve all heard someone watching TV saying I could write better script than that!
The truth is that just about everyone does have a story worth telling. Unfortunately most do NOT know how to write a screenplay. Most professional artists are very particular about their tools. The screenplay writer is no different. The key to writing is being organized. Before even writing a single word, you must have an inner road map that your characters are going to follow.

If you are writing a novel, you CAN take the time to ramble and develop your descriptive talents. A screenwriter cannot!

Just like any muscle, the writing muscle has to be exercised on a regular basis. The simple process of sitting in front of a computer for set periods of time is critical in training the subconscious that THIS time is when you are going to call on your creativity. In order to learn how to write a screenplay you have to understand STRUCTURE. Unlike a novelist, you do not have the luxury of allowing your script to develop into 300 plus pages. It will not get read if it does not conform to an industry standard of around 110 pages.

The structure of most contemporary screenplays: 1) Establish the character and general situation, 2) force them up a tree and throw rocks at him and 3) get the hero down again.

Firstly, you get the audience to know something about the character and his situation. Secondly, a situation must be created that goes against your characters comfort zone. He must have a nemesis trying to destroy everything he stands for. This bad guy takes pleasure putting your hero up that tree and making it as uncomfortable as possible. Thirdly, our hero needs to overcome all odds and payoff' the bad guy. If it really is that simple, then why isnt everyone a screenwriter? The answer is they really do not know how to write a screenplay.

So let us say that you have a clear idea of what your three acts are going to be. Well now you begin to develop the characters. They have to play off each other and either support or destroy our main character. Any time the characters are neutral, the screenplay is dead. Just remember: conflict equals drama. No conflict, no drama.

So how do you go about becoming a screenwriter? Like the road to Carnegie Hall - you practice! Each day you become sharper in your telling of the story. Each day you improve your writing skills. Each day you look back and see how far you have come.

So how does your screenplay rise above the sea of scripts waiting to be read? Follow up! It isn't because your script isn't good that it hasn't been read and responded to. That is the very last consideration. Any producer that is worth his salt has a groaning desk of submissions. Yours is simply ONE of those. So follow up - but politely. It may well be the most important thing in your life but to any producer it simply just ANOTHER screenplay. There are a million legitimate reasons why Hollywood should not immediately fall at your feet but YOU are going to overcome this. If you do not believe this, then do not even attempt to learn how to write a screenplay! If you DO believe in yourself, then hey why shouldnt you be the one that gets lucky?!

So yes, learning how to write a screenplay isnt so difficult. The difficult part comes AFTER you have written the screenplay.

Richard Patton - author and screenwriter shows how to write a screenplay and get paid for it. Find the writers Gold in Summer Acting Camps and what the best screenplay writing software is.



At 7:45 PM,Blogger ScreenplayJ said...

i actually love these screenwriting tips. thank once again!!

At 2:03 AM,Anonymous Screenplay Help said...

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At 2:00 PM,Anonymous Screenwriting Books said...

Great advise for beginners. Keep it up!