Learning how to write screenplays is simple. Learning how to write screenplays that are good? That's another story. You never can tell what Hollywood is looking for at a certain time. For this reason, choose content matter based on passion, not on what you think is selling. The industry changes way too quickly to follow trends.
For how to write screenplays, you will need:
- Screenwriting software
- Sample scripts for help with formatting
- Learn formatting. Remember that it's not your job as screenwriter to direct. Tell the story simply and completely in as interesting of a manner as possible. Center dialogue in the middle of the page with the character name above it. Shift descriptions to the left side of the page. Use "INT." for interior shots. Use "EXT." for exterior shots. Purchase screenwriting software to automate this process. "Final Draft" and "Movie Magic Screenwriter" are the two most popular products.
- Create fleshed-out characters. Know the private, personal, and professional lives of all your major characters. This determines who they are, and where your story will go.
- Know the ending. You have to know where you're going if you plan to get there in the best manner possible. Therefore, it is essential that you have at least a general idea of how your screenplay will end before you ever start writing it.
- Isolate plot points. Next for how to write screenplays, you will need some idea of the major plot points. What major events will your characters need to experience to get to the end of the story?
- Grab attention in the first ten minutes. You don't have long to grab a reader's or producer's attention. That's why it's vital for how to write screenplays that you make your first ten minutes as interesting as possible. Deliver surprising and fun characterizations. Throw your audience right into the action, and make them want to learn what happens next.
- Deliver action through the characters. What you should remember about how to write screenplays is that you should never explain something that would be more interesting dramatized. Use your characters to reveal the essentials. Your audience is smart enough to follow where the characters take them (most of the time).
- Draw the script to a satisfying conclusion. The final thing you must remember about how to write screenplays is that the audience wants to see all conflicts resolved. Your script need not have a happy ending, but it must have one that satisfies the audience's sense of completion.
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