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Learn how to write a screenplay that actually gets made
Learn How to Write a Screenplay that actually gets made!
Almost everyone thinks they know how to write a screenplay. Weve all heard someone watching TV saying I could write better script than that!
Most professional artists are very particular about their tools. The screenplay writer is no different. The key to writing is being organized. Before even writing a single word, you must have an inner road map that your characters are going to follow.
If you are writing a novel, you CAN take the time to ramble and develop your descriptive talents. A screenwriter cannot!
Just like any muscle, the writing muscle has to be exercised on a regular basis. The simple process of sitting in front of a computer for set periods of time is critical in training the subconscious that THIS time is when you are going to call on your creativity. In order to learn how to write a screenplay you have to understand STRUCTURE. You also have to have the correct screenplay writing software. Unlike a novelist, you do not have the luxury of allowing your script to develop into 300 plus pages. It will not get read if it does not conform to an industry standard of around 110 pages.
The structure of most contemporary screenplays: 1) Establish the character and general situation, 2) force them up a tree and throw rocks at him and 3) get the hero down again.
Firstly, establish character and situation.
Secondly, the conflicting situation must be established to test our main character to the limit.
Thirdly, the main character rises above the situation and receives recognition for his efforts.
If it really is that simple, then why isnt everyone a screenwriter? The answer is they really do not know how to write a screenplay.
So take the time to develop your storyline. Flesh out your main characters with real hopes and dreams. Now introduce conflict! The more conflict you have, the clearer your characters will be defined.
So how do you go about becoming a screenwriter? Like the road to Carnegie Hall - you practice! Each day you become sharper in your telling of the story. Each day you improve your writing skills. Each day you look back and see how far you have come. A unique resources for screenwriters is summer acting camps. These are untapped reservoirs of latent talent that a writer can test his material on and get immediate feedback to see if the writing works.
So how does your screenplay rise above the sea of scripts waiting to be read? Follow up! It isn't because your script isn't good that it hasn't been read and responded to. That is the very last consideration. Any producer that is worth his salt has a groaning desk of submissions. Yours is simply ONE of those. So follow up - but politely. It may well be the most important thing in your life but to any producer it simply just ANOTHER screenplay. There are a million legitimate reasons why Hollywood should not immediately fall at your feet but YOU are going to overcome this. If you do not believe this, then do not even attempt to learn how to write a screenplay! If you DO believe in yourself, then hey why shouldnt you be the one that gets lucky?!
So yes, learning how to write a screenplay isnt so difficult. The difficult part comes AFTER you have written the screenplay. This is when you start to understand the importance of pitching your screenplay.
Even if you KNOW you have the most riveting screenplay in history, the most important hurdle you will have to face is in the process, is The Pitch. Without this the ball does NOT roll!
About the Author: Richard Patton has worked in the movie industry for almost two decades. He has recently created a tool to allow writers to pitch DIRECTLY to Hollywood - bypassing the gate-keepers and PA's.
Pitching Screenplays to Hollywood