How to write a movie script: basic rules

Anastasia Sergeeva
08.09.2015

How to write a movie script: basic rules

Asking how to write a script, it is important to understand that this is not just your talent and raw creativity. Scripting is determined by some rules and techniques, and following them, you can eventually learn to write works that deserve the attention of the masses. What are these rules? Read on.

main idea

The idea is the first thing your script begins with. At the same time, a good idea does not mean that your script will succeed, but a bad idea will definitely lead to a bad scenario.

main idea

Be picky about what you’re going to base your future movie on. Most novice screenwriters make just such a mistake - they believe that they came up with a great idea, when in fact it is not at all as fresh and interesting as they imagine.


Jot down your idea, no more than two sentences. A good idea should sound original, but simple and interesting. Read it. Is it so?
Conduct an experiment: collect opinions of your friends about your idea, but do not disclose your authorship to them. If the majority remains uninterested, you are definitely better off writing about something else.

How to find an idea

Look for inspiration in the world around you. Carry a notebook with you and write down all the interesting thoughts, associations and moments of life. Perhaps you will recall some story that was told by someone from relatives or friends, or you overhear someone's conversation on the street - an interesting idea can be waiting anywhere and in anything.

How to find an idea

Read classic literature and poetry. Pay attention to the musical works. Watch movies of the last century and even cartoons. You should not steal other people's ideas, but borrow a general concept, separate plots or characters' characters and realize all this in its original form - why not.
Read the news on the Internet, articles in newspapers and individual headlines, and do not forget about biographies - they can start a new scenario.

Which genre to choose

Any genre has its own specifics, so try to choose the one in which you are better oriented.As a result, the most important thing is that the chosen genre best reveals your idea, and you can confidently write within it.

Script Name

The title is a very important part of creating a script. The main purpose of the title is to “sell” your script. It can both draw attention to the work and bury it.
Your name should be as capacious and simple as possible, but at the same time interesting. A person should want to read what is hidden behind this name. At the same time, it should be not just catchy, but correspond to the content, that is, answer the question “What is this film about?”.

Script Name

Most likely, at the start you will not think of the perfect name. It can come to you even at the very end - this is normal. In the process of working on the script, you can use the working title.
Good examples of intriguing and laconic names can be such as “Burn After Burning”, “Catch Me If You Can”, “Cards, Money, Two Barrels”, “Taming the Shrew”

Script structure

Like many literary works, the script must be structured. The three-act structure of scenarios is generally accepted.
The first part, or set-up, usually takes one quarter of the work.By the end of this part a crisis point arises, a plot line that takes the reader to the second part of the narration.
The second part is the largest, occupying half the volume of the script. In the middle of the second part, as a rule, there must be some tense, turning point, after which the action begins to increase and leads us to the second plot line.
The third part is characterized by the climax, or the last jerk, and the consequences, that is, the denouement. It should be written no larger than a quarter written.

Script structure

On the example of the movie “Star Wars. Episode VII: Return of the Jedi "we see that the first act brings us up to date: Rebels are fighting the Empire, which builds the Death Star - a powerful combat space station, and a significant event is the salvation of Han Solo from captivity of bounty hunters.
The second act is represented by the main part of the film, when the characters try to penetrate the Death Star, end up on the moon of Endor and begin to cooperate with the Ewok tribe. The turning point is when Luke Skywalker learns from the dying Master Yoda that Princess Leia is his sister and daughter Darth Vader.
The third act is the last confrontation between Luke and the Emperor; Darth Vader saves his son and dies; the Death Star is destroyed; the Rebel Army celebrates victory over the Empire.

Characters

It is the characters and their actions that make the script come to life in your head when you read. Poorly written, flat characters spoil even the most fascinating plot.
The reader and the viewer need heroes whom he will believe, whom he will empathize and whose images he will be able to try on. Your task is to create such characters, to make them as realistic as possible, simple people with their vices, flaws, benefactors and virtues, with a logical history.

Characters

A character cannot be positive from the beginning to the end, just as it should not be one hundred percent negative - it doesn't look like life, right? Even in the genre of fairy tales and comics begin to deviate from such exaggerations.
Try to give your characters some unusual qualities, atypical behavior or special appearance, make them different from each other.

Script dialogue

Do not abuse the dialogues in the script.There are successful films that are tied up on long conversations, for example, “12 angry men”, “Rosencrantz and Gildenshtern are dead”, “Breakfast Club”, but there are not too many such examples. A film oversaturated with dialogues would rather tire the viewer.

How to write dialogs

Write realistic dialogs. Too detailed remarks sound insincere and pompous, in life they don’t say that at all.
Not everything needs to be described in words. Somewhere it will be enough for an actor to do something, play on gestures or facial expressions, and it will look natural, instead of once again uttering an extra replica.

Action descriptions

Everything that is not considered a dialogue refers to the description of actions.

How to write the script correctly

It is worth writing in detail only about those places and actions that play some role in the story. When the place is mentioned in the script for the first time, then give it a little more attention to the description, but in the future, do not dwell on it in detail.
The more important the hero, the more detailed describe his appearance, do not forget about clothes and shoes.
If the description takes up too much space, break it into small logical paragraphs.

Script format

There is a certain order of execution scripts.Be sure to learn how to write the script correctly. Incorrectly executed work may not even begin to read, having lost interest in it after the first page.
On the title page you need to write the title of your work in capital letters, departing 1/3 from the top edge of the page. After that the name of the author is indicated. In the lower right corner, enter your contact details.
Stick Courier New font size 12 pt. Alignment is performed on the left edge. Italicized, bold and underline are never used.
Set the following page margins: top margin - 2.5 cm, bottom - 1.5 cm, right - 2.5 cm, left - 3.75 cm.
The scenario consists of various combinations of blocks “Time and place of action”; "Description of the action"; “Hero's Name”, left indent - 6.75 cm; “Hero's Replica” - left and right indent - 3.75 cm; “Remarque”, indent on the left - 5.5 cm, on the right - 4.5 cm.

Sample Script

Do not forget: the description of the action in the script is performed exclusively in the present tense and only from a third person: goes, knows, smiles, etc.
The length of the script is usually no more than 120 pages, assuming that one printed page approximately equals one minute of the film.

Script editing

Put the written script aside and forget about it for at least a week. After a while, you will need to take a fresh look at it and start editing.
In addition to proofreading on the subject of spelling, grammatical and punctuation errors, you will still have to throw a lot out of your work.

Script editing

To understand how to write a movie script, you must understand the main rule - something must constantly happen in a movie. The viewer should not be bored! If he starts watching such a movie in the evening at home, he will turn it off immediately as soon as the plot starts to sag.
Cut out all the scenes that do not carry any semantic load, do not push the plot to development and do not contain conclusions for the character. Remove empty cues, unnecessary descriptions of the whole and individual words.

Common mistakes

The most common mistakes made by novice writers and not only include the following.

Not enough information

Often beginning young writers cannot come up with a good idea due to the lack of life experience and begin to write on topics in which they are completely incompetent and cannot provide a strong background for their history.

Stereotype characters

Even experienced screenwriters sin by creating boring stereotypical characters built on solid templates and cliches.

Stereotype characters

Compare, for example, such popular youth sagas of recent years as “Twilight”, “Hunger Games”, “Divergent”, “Instruments of Death” - the main character is positioned as not the most beautiful and successful girl, but always turns out to be intended for some important mission and bargain falls into a love triangle.

Inconsistency in the script

Sometimes the writers are confused in their own plots and radically change the course of the work somewhere in the middle, forgetting about the sequence of narration and the construction of logical connections.

Long conversations

They love scriptwriters and assign long lines to the characters, which is why a lively dialogue turns into a boring lecture. Carefully re-read your dialogues and make sure that the speech sounds natural.

How to write a script

Writing a script is a long process that in the professional field most often takes years of meticulous work. You have to write at least five full scripts before you can declare yourself as a screenwriter.Have patience, hone your skills and one day really decent work will come out from under your pen.


Take it to yourself, tell your friends!
Read also on our website:
What to see in the evening at home?
What to see in the evening at home - in this article recommendations for family viewing. What movies to choose - good old fairy tales, movies about animals, fantasy, comedies? We will also recommend you programs that will be of interest to all family members.
How to sell the captured movie at the box office
Marketing strategy at the rental stage must necessarily take into account the time of the film in the secondary markets and sales volumes. Situational analysis is based on the definition of the following groups: target audience, channels of implementation, time of exit on different channels, advertising.

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  • How to write a movie script: basic rules

    How to write a movie script: basic rules

    How to write a movie script: basic rules

    How to write a movie script: basic rules

    How to write a movie script: basic rules

    How to write a movie script: basic rules

    How to write a movie script: basic rules

    How to write a movie script: basic rules

    How to write a movie script: basic rules

    How to write a movie script: basic rules

    How to write a movie script: basic rules

    How to write a movie script: basic rules

    How to write a movie script: basic rules

    How to write a movie script: basic rules

    How to write a movie script: basic rules

    How to write a movie script: basic rules

    How to write a movie script: basic rules

    How to write a movie script: basic rules

    How to write a movie script: basic rules

    How to write a movie script: basic rules

    How to write a movie script: basic rules

    How to write a movie script: basic rules

    How to write a movie script: basic rules

    How to write a movie script: basic rules

    How to write a movie script: basic rules

    How to write a movie script: basic rules

    How to write a movie script: basic rules

    How to write a movie script: basic rules

    How to write a movie script: basic rules

    How to write a movie script: basic rules