In spite of being talented, many new filmmakers do not know how to write a film script.
It is a common problem which is noticeable among new directors and script writers. They may have lots of good stories in their head but they don’t know how to execute those in a proper written format. As a result, those good ideas is not crafted on celluloid
At first you have to understand exactly what the screenplay/script defines. A script is a shape or plan of your story that has a complete description of all visual story telling tools. A script provides a clear idea about audio, camera angle, frames, location, dialogue and all other essentials. There should be clear instructions so that even if you are not there someone else can see your writing and make its visual like your vision.
Step by Step Guidelines: How to Write a Film Script?
If you have good story ideas and you are enough keen to learn a standard format to write down those as screenplay/ script then this article is for you. In this article, I am going to explain how to write film script in a proper format through step by step guidelines. Not only the format but also some tips are included here. Have a look.
Outline the Story
First and foremost you have to outline your story. Write down a draft synopsis as soon as a nice story idea comes to your mind. Note down the main sequences by giving them title so that you don’t forget about any key events of your story while writing the final script.
Use 3 Act Format
The pillars of a screenplay are the ‘Three Acts’. You can start writing your main script in keeping mind these three acts. In first act write about a suitable exposition that establish the world of the story. In this part, you may introduce the main characters and their development. You may also include here some interesting, engaging events. In the second act write down about conflict of the story. In this midpoint you can also arise turning point of the story. In the third and last act write down the resolution of the conflict and finish your story with an excellent climax.
Write Sequence Properly
Write down sequences following some conventional rules. Sequence is the series of scenes which is self-contained portion of the entire story. Sequences have a beginning, middle, and end. A standard usual sequence will be about 10 to 15 pages in length. A sequence tends to focus on a specific character. Not necessarily always the central protagonist, other important characters can be there.
Well Described Scene
While writing individual scene from a sequence, try to maintain some cores rules. Scenes are the events of a story. They take place in specific locations like indoor or outdoor and always help the story to move forward. If a scene does not do this, then it should be cancelled from the script. Scenes that serve no purpose will stick out in the audience’s mind as flaws, and will drag the story down. There are six elements of a scene. They are: Scene heading, action, character name, parenthetical, dialogue and transition. For example,
Location: Park (outdoor)
Characters – 2 (James and Lara)
This is how you can start writing a scene and then go for the main body keeping in mind the elements mentioned above.
Suitable Dialogue is Important
Dialogue is the most important elements of a scene. This is also the hardest part of a screenplay. The dialogue reveals the traits of each character. It may not always be realistic because our real life conversations are very simple and straightforward. So there is no reason to think that in order to make the film realistic, one has to put a very simple dialogue. Dialogue can be cinematic or poetic. Cathy or memorable dialogue can make a film immortal. For this reason, it is a powerful story telling tool.
Some Additional Tips
i) You have to get in the habit of reading the as much professional scripts as possible. You can collect those from online or from books or it can be hard/soft copy from any good director. To understand how a professional screenplay looks like or its format, this step can be a practical experience.
ii) You have to write the script keeping in mind the possible length of the script. Usually a 2 hour script is 120 pages long. Location should be set keeping in mind the budget also.
iii) When you finish writing full script then discuss about the script with your close friends or colleagues. Different types of people have different types of opinion. Discuss with those people who have different views. In this case, praise and harsh criticism should be accepted equally because harsh criticism will enrich the work. So you should not be satisfied only with false praise.
iv) Revise your writing frequently. This task is a bit difficult because you will be able to catch more of your own mistakes during the first revision. Every time something new may come to mind. Only add those new ideas which enrich your script more. Avoid unnecessary elaboration.
v) Make sure that each visual story telling tool is well described in your script. If there is absence of any important narrative element, then your script will remain incomplete.
Some Useful Software
The scripts can be handwritten or you can write your film script in MS word. But modern and smart script writers use some suitable script writing software like Final Draft, Movie Magic Screenwriter, Celtx, Writer Duet, Fade In etc. Most of the professional script writers use this software because these provide the correct format of the script. Some of them are very simple to use and free of cost. Some premium software you have to purchase from the app store/ Google.
Many of us have enthusiasm to write about film or TV program scripts or screenplays. Due to lack of proper guideline, new script writer’s intense interest cannot be turned into reality. If your script doesn’t look like professional then you can’t make a pitch with filmmakers or producers. As a result, a good unique story can be unread. So, it is really important to learn how to give a proper shape of your excellent story ideas. Good Luck!