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Writing for Film: What You Should Know

Updated: Feb 21, 2022

All great film ideas need to be converted into a script for a predetermined look at what will be said and what scenes will be shot to match the overall message you’re trying to portray.

The whole secret to a great screenplay is to have a successful story. Most filmmakers and film producers have practically no training in what makes a good story.

When script writing, your script should detail character dialogue, scene settings, and actions that take place throughout a film, TV show, or another visual story. Your screenplay should properly tell your film’s entire story from start to finish because it’s a blueprint of the plot and character development before the film comes to life on screen.

Writing a script helps express your creativity and make a story come to life. It often takes time and dedication to craft well-rounded characters and a compelling plot. These steps can help you create a captivating script:

Understanding character: The common flaw of unsuccessful scripts is that the main character does not have a clearly defined goal – a goal that can be measured. There must be a point in time when we, the audience, can see if the main character has achieved or failed to achieve their goal. Well drawn characters also need to have morals – and these need not be the morals accepted by western civilization.

Understanding genre: Most, if not all, films are combinations of two or more of the basic genres. Romantic/comedy and action/adventure are two of the most popular genre blends. Writers have it easy – they need to specialize in two or three genres.

Understanding universal appeal: A comedy with local humor might never travel. But a comedy based on institutions or cultural systems can become huge international hits.

Understanding story structure: Story structure is the most unhelpful phrase created in the lingo of screenwriters and film producers. It implies some sort of measure or slide rule that will make your story work. A producer and writer working together on this can be an awesome and inspiring team to see. Remember that a producer doesn’t write. Writing is the writer’s job. But seeing the bigger picture, and understanding how genre ‘rules’ can be broken is the producer’s job.

If you master these points you will be an unstoppable screenplay writer in the film industry.

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