Do you know how to write a spec script for a film? If you don’t know, then this article is for you. Hope you will love it.
When you are writing a film script, the first thing that comes to your mind would probably be “I need an idea.” Without a good story and character, your screenplay is doomed from the get-go.
What is a Spec Script in Film?
Spec script is basically a sample screenplay that you submit to the production company, studio, or network. It’s like a portfolio where you want to showcase your talent for writing film scripts. Does a spec script contain all of the groundwork writers need to know how to write their own film story? Spec script is easy but doesn’t a hard task.
How to write a spec script?
If you have never written a spec script before, the first step is to choose a genre. Before doing so, however, make sure that you also choose an aspect of the said genre and focus on it. For example, if you are writing for the horror genre, it’s best if you write your spec script about vampire or zombie stories instead of bomb threats or disease.
The Spec Script Template
There are three major elements in every movie: Plot, Character, and Theme. Every scene has at least one (if not multiple) out of these elements present in it. Your job as a screenwriter is to combine them into an interesting narrative that makes sense and creates a strong impact on the audience’s mind.
Every spec script follows this template:
#Step01 – Opening Image
This is often a snapshot of something that shows a significant moment in the film. It is almost always presented as a monologue or voiceover, rarely will it appear on the screen (you can think of Captain America where we see him punching a Nazi to death; over his body, we hear him narrate “I’m just a kid from Brooklyn”).
#Step02 – Scene heading
Once you’ve established an opening image from your script, the next step is putting it into context. A scene heading tells what happens after that first moment – this can include the setting and time of day.
#Step03 – Introduce Complicating Factor
Many screenwriters like to introduce a complication in their screenplay by making a character have a problem. The complication is what creates the drama in your story and keeps it exciting. Introduce an element that will change the course of events for the rest of your movie. It can be something as simple as changing weather conditions, or as complex as introducing a new antagonist into your plotline.
#Step04 – Plan/Opportunity + Debate
You’ll find two opposing forces at play in any great film – someone wants to do something, but then you throw in others who are trying to stop them from succeeding. This conflict can be over anything: love, power hunger, money, etc. Here we see our main characters (and anyone else involved in the story) debating with each other about how they plan to achieve that goal. The more arguments they have, the better. It’s a good start for any spec script.
#Step05 – First Revelation
After all of those debates, you need to let your audience know what happens next in the story by dropping in a revelation – an event that will change everything that came before it in this act of your screenplay.
How many pages should a spec script be?
The standard format for specs is 110 to 120, but it’s not written in stone. You could also choose to go to the opposite end of the spectrum and write something that’s 100 to 105. If you’re writing an action/adventure film then it is best if your spec script is longer than 110 pages because this particular genre has many scenes with a lot going on and as a writer, you need to capture everything perfectly.
How about space script salary?
There’s no hard and fast rule that tells you how much a spec script writer earns each year. The amount you earn will depend on several factors such as the length of your script, your performance when it comes to meeting deadlines, and the caliber of your work.
However, if we take an average scenario then let us look at the salary a screenwriter could expect after they have written their first spec script: $10,000 – $15,000 for a TV Pilot, $30,000 to $50,000 for a Movie of the Week; and (if you’re really lucky) $100,000+ for an Hour-Long TV Drama.
If you want to know how to write a spec script for a film, remember above all else that it should be highly entertaining. Write a story that is original. You can’t sell a script for a film unless your characters are complex and convincing, and the plot has something new to offer. It’s not only about being creative or imaginative but also thinking of ways to keep things fresh in order to stand out. Your screenplay should be unique from others that have been written before it so make sure that this is one of your main concerns while writing it.