How To Write a Screenplay in 10 Days
Learning how to write a screenplay is something you don’t learn overnight. It requires a lot of effort and expertise in various fields such as creative writing, marketing and the ability to visually project something in your head. Nevertheless it can be learned. If you’re starting from scratch, there’s no reason you can’t be done with your first 80 page draft in 10 days.
For beginners it’s important to have a structure to stick to. My advice is to focus on just 4 basic bullet points to get your first draft on paper. Here are the four main things you should focus on: The first thing is how to set up the dramatic structure of the film. The usual 5-act-structure stems from ancient Greek and Roman tragedy and found it’s way into modern storytelling long before Hollywood existed.
Screenwriters still rely on introduction, rising tension and resolution, which basically is a condensed 3-act version of the 5-act structure developed by ancient playwrights. If you look at successful films, you’ll easily recognize similarities in their dramatic structure. However, if you’re able to push yourself to more creativity you might want to try something else, something which is slightly more challenging: Simply don’t introduce characters in the beginning, just let them fall right into the story. Let the way they act and react during the course of their journey fill in the frame in the audience’s head, and let the characters evolve during the whole film. This will give your film a uniqueness that can’t be achieved by classic
Another important aspect to learn how to write a screenplay is the different steps to the finished screenplay. You can find plenty of information for the classic treatment-to-first draft-structure out there, so let’s discuss something else. Another way to go is elaborating key scenes in the film, and writing a short monologue from the character’s point of view, and later add things like environment, movements etc… By doing that you already create a nice voiceover that sums up central aspects of the film, and you have strong cornerstones for your story to develop in between. Various great films such as Taxi Driver feature a similar storytelling style and were created in such a way.
The Question of how to give your characters a realistic touch is also a huge one. It is required in order table empathy within the audience. One thing you should always do is adding weaknesses as well as strengths to the protagonist’s persona, while maintaining a reasonable balance between both. Otherwise you’ll run into the danger of creating a “flat” character, someone who would fit in a comic book or cartoon.
Last but not least you’ll need to know how to properly format your screenplay. Not only will it be easier for you to correct and improve your writing, but you’ll have a much easier time selling the whole thing if you can write “industry standard” style. People will trust you more and you’ll come across as professional.
If you like things the “rogue” way, just look for independent screenplays online (which is actually legal) and try to see how those scripts are formatted. You’ll see that it’s a lot simpler and not as professional. The reason is that most of independent films have author/directors, directors that write the films themselves. They are on set and can give instructions, so their screenplay doesn’t have to be as precise as it needs to be in a big, 100-people
Source by Max Richert