Behind every movie that you have seen and every theater play that you have attended, there is a pad of paper that refers to the detailed outline of the story being portrayed. This group of sheets is what we call “script.” Though watching your favorite comedy show entertains you, most of them have scriptwriting that is no joke. In this article, we are going to discuss the basic principles and nature of writing a script. Read through and be the scriptwriter of the next phenomenal movie.
A script (also known as a screenplay) creates a free outline of the whole story to be acted out by actors for a film, a stage play, a television program example, etc. Aside from the dialogue, also narrates the actions, expressions, and movements of the characters (i.e. actors). If you haven’t seen a script before, this is now your chance. Here are some examples to let you have a glimpse of what they look like.
Scriptwriting, also referred to as screenplay writing or screenwriting, is the process of writing or constructing a script for mass media (e.g. films, theater plays, TV productions, etc). Scriptwriters or screenwriters are the ones responsible for crafting the story which can be written with their own original idea, based on a true story, or as an adaptation of other existing written pieces. Scriptwriters are also responsible for incorporating feelings and emotions to the characters of the story and the story itself.
A script is a key tool used to ensure the success of the portrayal of a specific story. It also serves as a plan of the scenes to be portrayed by the actors, and script writing creates such a plan. Scriptwriting also showcases the talent of different scriptwriters in the field of mass media. Following a script minimizes the time intended to direct the actors on how to portray a certain character. Having the scenes planned beforehand lets the actors and directors focus more on the portrayal of the story, saving time and resources in the process.
Thus, script writing is considered as a fundamental process for the completion of a particular film or play.
Let’s assume that you already have some marvelous scenes in your mind and you want to write them on papers. For sure, you would like to make a script that is as superb as the scenes itself, right? In writing your own screenplay, the beginning should be as competitive as your ending since it gives the judgment whether the audience stays or not. To give you a great start with your script composition, read this section before writing one.
Just like any composition, the first thing you need to consider is to make sure that you really know what you are writing. In other words, it is indeed necessary to have an in-depth understanding of what scripts are and the technicalities behind it. You must also be aware that screenplays are not the work of a single man. In fact, there will be several people who would keep hold of your composition and edit or revise it accordingly. With this, writing will be not just easier but also clearer.
If you already have ideas and scenarios in your mind, drawing a sketch of all the details of your idea is the next thing you need to do. In any clean sheet of paper or board, make a comprehensible map pertaining to the necessary elements of your story such as the plot details, the personality traits of your characters and their relationship towards each other. Consider what techniques would you use in your screenplay, too. Moreover, take notes of the critical points of your story.
After crafting a sketch of your story, it is now time to turn it into an outline. In doing this, start with the basic run of your narrative and keep an eye on your story’s conflicts. Remember, conflicts are the lifeblood of stories. Also, start with details that are small but plays a big role in the story. Furthermore, in making the outline, consider the estimated length of your work. If you can make your story much concise, do it since long screenplays have less probability of being successful. In a standard script format, a page indicates a minute of screen time. Usually, dramas are 2-hours long while comedies are briefer which are about one and a half hours.
In a script, acts are defined as a set of scenes that creates an essential piece of the story. It is depicted by elements such as rising action, resolution, and climax. Usually, a story is comprised of five acts; however, several modern stories utilized the pillars of a screenplay, the Three Acts namely, the introduction, middle, and conclusion. Though each act can stand independently, it should also be considered that it should create the complete arc of the story when joined together.
After doing these five initial steps, you may now proceed to more technical procedures such as adding of sequence, dialogues, more specific scenes, etc.
A good script describes the story in full detail, engages both the actors and directors and captivates the audience. Though it may be challenging at first, practicing to read more samples and educational articles pertaining to screenplay writing is extremely helpful. Allow yourself to compose the script of the next blockbuster movie by following these steps:
First of all, a scriptwriter can’t make a screenplay with creativity alone. Since the script is the manual of the film and is what the whole production follows, the writer should at least know the basic standards, terms, and technicalities in composing a script. In scriptwriting, knowledge is the gateway for the experience.
Scriptwriting has no standard contents but even just a reader, you can already identify which scripts could make it to the big screen. By scanning through the different scripts from various movies, you will be aware of what makes a script good or not. Furthermore, this will also give you a general idea on how the dialogue is developed, how the characters are portrayed, and how the story transitions from one scene to another.
Create a draft on the sequence of events and how the story progresses from the beginning. Write all the necessary plot details and create an outline of your story. In this step, it is alright for you to commit some erasures and alterations since it is still a draft. However, do your best to construct the initial picture of your entire movie concept already.
Divide the outline of your story into three acts. Act one is where you introduce the characters and their backstory. Act two is where the characters develop. Act three is where the characters experience the plot twists and conflicts, and where such conflicts are resolved.
There are two of the most important elements of the script. Scenes are the events of your story. Dialogues give your characters their voice. In this part, you can make an initial writing process of scenes by including all the interesting and relevant ideas you have. Nevertheless, in making your final script, see to it that all scenes are making important sense in the whole movie. If not then remove them.
Though you can review or proofread your own work, it would still be a better choice to consult a friend that is knowledgeable in these matters. A friend may give you a few ideas on how to improve your story, peer review would be a more preferable option because basically, most of us cannot distinguish our own mistake. Moreover, be open to constructive criticisms, nobody is perfect, remember?
After a great discussion with your friend, you might spot any errors including the minimal ones. This is where you correct them. Also, you omit the unnecessary scenes that only confuse your audience and add a few details to your story as necessary. Revise your story as needed before producing the final screenplay.
In writing your screenplay, always remind yourself of the running time of your script. On average, a bankable movie runs from one hour and thirty minutes while short films take less than forty minutes in their screen time, including the credits.
Considering the rapid advancement of modern technology, the internet has been the extensive library of the scripts from different movies, plays, short films, etc. Nonetheless, the internet is a big place to search in; thus, it could still be a challenge for you to look for great references. Aside from this website, here is a list of sites from New York Film Academy for downloading and reading scripts from various media.