Whether it's classics like Ben Hur, Gone With The Wind, or Singin' In the Rain, or the latest 'shoot-'em-up' blockbuster, all movies are based on movie scripts, also referred to as screenplays.
Apart from an interesting idea, there is a lot more involved in writing a great movie script. A screenplay writer must use the idea to thread together a story that should get the audience involved in the story, whether the aim is making the audience think, cry, or laugh.
Screenplay writing is not an esoteric knack.
With the movie industry continuing to grow, there is a corresponding increase in the demand for good movie scripts. This in turn gives rise to a demand for people who are capable of writing good screenplays. Many talented people find writing scripts for movies a creatively fulfilling job.
Despite the general impression, screenplay writing is not some sort of an esoteric knack reserved for some sort of cabbalistic group of people, but is a basic writing skill which can be learned by just about anyone who has a flair for writing.
What is involved in screenplay writing?
One of the best ways of understanding what exactly is involved in writing is perusing movie scripts. This kind of study will reveal how an idea can be transformed into powerful movie scripts. These days, one can get access to all sorts of movie scripts, both new and old.
For example, most libraries have a stock of new and old movie scripts, which are for the most part free of charge. Or, you could also become a member of cinema clubs, which most cities have, and make use of the movie script collection of the club.
Movie scripts comprise scenes, which are strung together into a series of events, which in turn make up a whole movie. Hence, while writing a script for a movie, the story must be broken down into scenes, with each scene telling a little bit of the ongoing narrative.
A screenplay writer controls the structure of the scenes.
The screenplay writer needs to establish what will take place in each scene. One of the best ways to do this is to develop a treatment outline, which will help in breaking down the script one scene after the other in a sequential manner.
As a screenplay writer you need to determine what the length of each scene should be. For example, a scene comprising ten pages will last about ten minutes on the screen. Hence, if the scene is not that important to warrant such a long time on the screen, it should be shortened or even cut out completely.
Where each scene takes place should be decided by the movie scriptwriter. Each scene of a film script should begin with a slug line or a heading, which determines whether the scene takes place outside, which is spelled out as EXT., or inside, or INT. Also, which location the action takes place in such as 'Living Room' or 'On The Street', should be mentioned.
A good movie script should grab the audience's attention.
One of the fundamental things you need to do as a screenplay writer is to grab the audience's attention early. You can do this by writing a script that plays around with the imagination of the audience.
Once you have succeeded in grabbing their attention, continuing with the unfolding of the script will become much easier. You should write the script in such a way as to keep your audience wondering about what will happen next.
The best scripts always involve the audience as the narrative unfolds. For instance, audiences always empathize with great heroes, and get to detest villains for their dastardly actions.
Create believable characters.
Pay heed to how the characters are developed by you. Refrain from creating ideal characters because such people don't exist in reality. Everybody has flaws, such as faulty decision-making abilities and various other weaknesses such as ignorance, greed, the opposite sex, food, and so on. The flaws, in fact, are what make characters interesting.
As a movie scriptwriter, you need to know everything about your characters such as their likes and dislikes, what they like to eat, how they react to various situations and so on. Once these aspects are established, remember to see that they are consistent about how they behave and what they say, according to their personalities.
Also, keep the dialog brief between characters, as long-winded dialogs are generally not liked. Each genre of script writing requires different techniques of treatment. Happy endings are usually received the best with audiences.
Irrespective of whether you write a movie script for a thriller, comedy, action, or drama, the key is to capture the imagination of your audience. Screenplay writers should also remember that writing a good script is just one half of the job, the other half is to market your work.