Screenwriting: Beginning and Scope

Post 93.

When you write a screenplay do you understand what you expect or want from it?

Is it something you give enough thought to?

I always ask my students; what are the top three things you need in order to make a short movie? An array of answers are often thrown back at me, however to make a simple short movie you only need three things that might seem very simple, however are very important:

  1. A Camera

  2. A Story

  3. A Vision

If I were to add a number 4, it would be script and I would always encourage and advise on the importance of a script. So from that point, what do you think about before you start writing your script? Like with novel writing, there is an idea that must be developed. Give time to allow the idea to grow - take notes, etc. Consider the following:

  1. Who will be in the story - Characters?

  2. Where will the story be set – Setting?

Once you start to answer these questions, begin by attaching the CHARACTERS to the IDEA that has been formulating in your head and from there place the idea in a SETTING/LOCATION. From there attach your idea with the characters in a TIME PERIOD. At this point, the characters may not be fully detailed. Create a temporary character and location until you have developed them further.

Now ask yourself about the SCOPE of your screenplay?

Why are you writing the screenplay? Who is it for? Is it your intention to write the screenplay to produce and direct or do you wish to sell it? These questions are important as it will determine the budget that is required. What kind of budget will be required for the scope of your script? You need to keep set design, scene location, stunts, etc realistic if you have limited budget resources. However on saying that, do not let budget restrict. Be creative and artistic if you really wish to include a specific scene that is to have an impact on your story.

If you decide to write to sell, then you must follow the strict formatting and submission rules. The formatting guidelines are an industry standard for all screenwriting scripts.

Begin with outlining the story for your script and from there you should start by creating the EVENT (Ending) and work your way along the three-act structure. Have fun and be creative!

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