This tutorial is composed of a series of articles, all aimed at the beginning or
student screenwriter, each of which will take you through a different critical step of
writing a screenplay. If you read each section and apply the information to your own
ideas, you may, in a very short time, be the proud parent of 100 or so pages of
Rushing through the process isn't going to serve you or your screenwriting skills. The
more time you take in the early stages, particularly when laying out the structure of your
story, the better the overall work will be. From beginning to end, the process should take
anywhere from three months to a year, depending on how much time you can devote to your
script. Expect to do multiple versions of each stage. Screenwriting is rewriting -- so get used to it!
What mindset do you need to be a screenwriter, and to write a screenplay?
- Growing the Idea
How to come up with and flesh out the seed that becomes your story.
- The Basic Outline
Screenplays are made or broken in the outline stage. Once you've got
a screenplay draft, you can fix minor problems, but major problems are
almost always irreparable. This section will help you understand the
components of a strong outline.
The substance and secrets of building realistic, dimensional characters.
- The Character Questionnaire
This fill-in-the-blanks template will help you flesh out a character's
statistics, including appearance, biography, psychology, morality and
- Writing Effective
Who are those people, and why are they saying those things? An
investigation into the art and workings of cinematic conversation.
Practical and painless approaches to constructing a solid first act
foundation for your screenplay.
Simple structural clues to the second act heart of your screenplay.
Third Act Crunch
Conclusion, collision, or confusion - how does it all come together
at the end?
of a Scene
What are scenes really for? How do they work? How do they fit
in to the larger whole of a screenplay?
Style is a rarely examined yet essential facet
of storytelling for film. Yet it can distinguish your work and
help it stand out above other, less-remarkable screenplays.
|Script Study: "The Matrix"
- Part I
This detailed analysis of the screenplay to this hit sci-fi/action
flick will show you how structure and character work together in a neat,
tightly-interwoven package. Also revealed is how the story follows the
classic Hero's Journey structure.
- Part II
How the last half of "The Matrix" builds to its satisfying
- Breaking Free
The complications and forms of genre break weaker screenwriters,
and suck them down into a death-sprial of cliché and thin character
development. Here are numerous ways how to modify and revivify the stale
forms of genre to create new, original material.
- Conflict in Genre: Not Just
the Bad Guy
Writers often neglect to maintain conflict in a genre piece because
the good guys all get along. Avoid the trap.
|Myth, Symbol, and Philosophy
- Theme: The Soul of Story
Understanding and applying theme to your own screenplays is essential
to creating work of impact, relevance, and duration -- and indeed,
the line between competence and greatness.
- Submerged: The Story Beneath
A detailed examination of the role that symbols and symbolic meaning
plays in screenplay storytelling, via a thorough look at the many layers
of theme and idea contained in "Alien."
- Know Thyself,
or How to Avoid Becoming a Hack
Only writing that originates from self-knowledge and experience
can approach greatness.
|The Other Side of the Coin
- An Actor's Perspective
By looking at your screenplay as would an actor,
you can gain deeper insight into your story, and especially your characters.
- Steal This Idea!
Hollywood is a seething den of thinly-disguised
plagiarism. So what's stopping you? Here's how to make
idea-theft work for you.
- Variations in
Script format is not as rigid as you might imagine, and you can give
your own taste and creative quirks free reign.