How to Write a Film Script

Writing a script for a film is much different than writing a short story or a novel, though many writers who know how to write a good story in any form can write a good script once they learn the basics. An interesting bit of information regarding this is that Ann Rice actually wrote the script for the film adaptation of her novel, “Interview with the Vampire.”

There are many books on how to write a script for a play and how to write a film script; some of them are good, but the best way to learn is from an experienced scriptwriter and by doing it yourself. If you are set on learning from a book, ‘How to Write a Selling Screenplay by Christopher Keane is a good book to start with. What makes this different from other books on the subject is that it looks at all of the step-by-step basics of a screenplay and closely examines a selling screenplay written by the author. This book also looks at many of the various job titles and salaries in the film industry, and examines the movie and television trends.

Another book that one may find helpful is How Not to Write a Screenplay. This book is simply what its title describes; it goes through all of the mistakes that first time scriptwriters make. The author talks about everything that script readers do not want to read. A quote from Denny Martin Flinn, the author, is that after reading this book you will “you may not write a particularly good screenplay, but you won’t write a bad one.”

One of the first things to do before actually writing a script is to come up with an outline; this is recommended, but depending on your style may not be what you wish to do. Many new writers make the mistake of thinking that they do not need an outline because their work flows better when it is new and they simply want to let the story carry them. This is a good idea in theory, but many writers are not actually good at doing this. A writer who does not use an outline but should will often have writing that sounds rushed, sloppy, or just odd. Taking the time to create an outline can help a writer think about what they really want to say, and sometimes have confidence that their story is worth reading.

Often the most important things to do, and the hardest, is to make your characters into real people. They should not do what everyone thinks they should, and they should not change easily. Real people are not predictable, and they take some of the greatest pleasure in conversation. No matter how much dialogue is in your script make sure to spend time on it and make it sound real.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: