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How do you write a script? A step-by-step guide

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The aim of this website is to offer you instructions how to write your first own script with no premonition can. Whether through step-by-step instructions, templates, tips or new approaches.

Our goal is to have fun and learn how to create your own script.

Direct entry into the topic:

  1. This is how a script is created - a relentless look behind the scenes
  2. 4 reasons why your plan to become a screenwriter is not working out
  3. 6 habits that will make you a better screenwriter
  4. 5 tips to get your script ready in the fastest possible time
  5. The Writer's Secret: What Successful Screenwriters Get Right

Helpful articles with specific tips if something goes wrong

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Writing a script: what does that actually mean?

The process of scriptwriting is primarily to be understood creatively. Ideally, the film and script depict reality and reflect the interpersonal coexistence in our society.

The exciting stories - regardless of the genre - are primarily artistically transfigured reflections of reality.

Without specialist knowledge, the best idea is not worth much

Without a doubt, when developing a script, the most important thing is a creative and, above all, exciting idea. Unfortunately, there are enough examples that moderate scripts are turned into films, just because a producer expects a few millions of them.

But that's not what this is about.

First and foremost, it is important that you, as a scriptwriter, come up with a coherent plot with many elements of tension that not only meets the audience's taste. It is also important that you recognize yourself as an author in it and not just sell yourself.

Indispensable In addition to the idea, this is also necessary expertise about the connections between script and producer / director as well as everything related to the basics of script writing.

These include, for example:

  • Create a storyboard
  • Red thread
  • Style and tension elements
  • write individual scenes
  • Target groups of a film project
  • Camera language
  • Implementation of the time in the film

If you have this knowledge and also have an easily implementable idea for a script, then you have half the battle.

At this point we would like to recommend our book From the head cinema to the screenplay. Here you will learn the basics of screenwriting all in one 7-part step-by-step instructions (including specific tips on brainstorming & developing and implementing your story, including the question of what exactly you do when the script is finished).

1. What exactly is a script?

A script is the written version of a film. It includes the exact processes, individual shots and contexts of the film. The script depicts the action in great detail.

To a Writing a script To be able to do so, you first have to know what a script is at all. With the following definition is the easiest way to explain the term:

Depending on the length of the planned film, a scriptvery extensive be. It is roughly said that a written page in about a minute of film materiall corresponds.

The actual implementation but does not always have to be strictly adhere to the script and can therefore deviate from it from time to time.

2. Who will write a script?

Screenwriting is a craft that in principle anyone can learn who has a certain amount of talent and creativity as well as a healthy dose of discipline and willpower, because even if it is really a lot of fun and one of the most beautiful professions in the world: writing is always still work.

Usually the so-called Screenwriters on a freelance basis. you write not only for Movies, but also Commercials and even music videos. As with any freelance work, the writers are on their own here. Before a Script completed, is accepted and ready for production, often takes a long time.

If you are in the “industry”, however, you get to it brought a certain reputation you can go into the fee negotiations in a completely different way. But even if this route is not always the easiest or the shortest, it is definitely worth it.

3. How do you write a script?

Here we would like to answer the question “How do I write a script”. Because you can't just write a script off the cuff without yourself intensive thoughts on the basic cornerstones To do such a dissertation, you should ask yourself a few questions in advance.

The following elements should be filled with life:

  • Where does the plot of the film take place?
  • Who are the main characters?
  • What locations do you choose for the action?
  • Which entry do you choose?
  • What does the film end with?
  • Which dramaturgical cornerstones (plot points) have you selected?
  • What are the characteristics of the main characters of the story?
  • Is it even possible to put the script into practice?
  • How do you create the tension?
  • To what extent should the film be published? (Local / international)

4. Instructions: The process up to the creation of a script

Once you have gained sufficient knowledge of the above questions, you can start working on the details.

Everything usually starts with one Idea for a film from which the theme crystallized out.

4.1. Idea and topic

You can still have so many ideas for a good story if this one idea not only summarize a few clear points leaves, this idea might not be worth the effort.

The danger at complex relationships is that this is the later viewerscan not understand and lose patience. He's bored - what a writer absolute nightmare is.

Summarize your basic idea in a few sentences so that you can develop a comprehensible, exciting plot from it.

This Idee a basic topic such as:

  • love
  • justice
  • freedom
  • revenge

assign to let.

The subject should be in one Context be that for the Interesting viewers is. A little worked on topic with great interest for the public is one of them good foundation.

In the individual categories, of course, you can easily find numerous sub-topics in which you can classify the idea.

But please note:

If you do not succeed in classifying your idea in a meaningful subject area, you should ask yourself whether it can be worthwhile to implement.

4.2. The real story

A good story is characterized by the fact that there is something behind it. A common thread, an intention.

In a good crime thriller, for example, the viewer shouldn't know in advance who the perpetrator is, but rather should be led down the wrong path to the actual murderer.

One too rectilinear action can boring quickly for a spectator and should therefore be avoided if possible.

Create one in your story sparkling mood and change perspective, beat You one another way or consider the situation from another person's point of view. In this way you lead the viewer astray at first. In the end, however, you can get him back on the right path with a skilful bow.

In a good story, the viewer shouldn't know at the beginning what will happen in the end.

4.3. Build in the right dramaturgy

Basically, developing the dramaturgy of the work is about working on the subtleties of the story. Since the scriptwriter has the best overview of his work, these subtleties are often done by him.

However, there are also specialists in this field who so-called dramaturgesthat deals exactly with this Subtleties employ. They supported the author with the Development of the story and do proposalshow certain Processes presented in an even more interesting way can be.

It will Ambiguities and sources of error in the Story / storyprocessed and also through enriched with new details.

This also includes, for example, which type of person is the main character. What peculiarities does it have? What “corpses” may he have in the basement? How is his environment doing?

All that has to fit into the main tenor of the story and should be optimally coordinated.

4.4. The synopsis

Before you can actually write it down (in a certain form), you should prepare a so-called synopsis.

This is a Summary of the real story. These then pass it on to various people you trust. You should totally neutral the Assess the execution and tell you the result of your reading. In this way receive she an undisguised feedback by completely inexperienced people.

On the Basis of this feedback you can still make critical changesbefore writing the actual script and then forwarding it to a producer. Failure to do so can result in complete identification with your story, losing sight of reality and possible mistakes.

5. The writing of the script

Now that you have created all the prerequisites for the actual script, you can start writing it down for a possible production.

However, there are still some basic rules to be observed:

  • use short and concise sentences, not unnecessary details
  • the treatise takes place in the tense presence (present)
  • if possible, avoid giving instructions to the director
  • limit monologues to the bare minimum

A script page usually has the following structure:

5.1. The scene heading

Here it is indicated briefly and concisely how the scene is presented.

SCREENPLAY EXAMPLE

OUTSIDE - PARKING - NIGHT

The title of the scene is always capitalized.

In the present example, the action does not take place in a building, but outside in a parking lot at night.

In the first place, “INSIDE” or “OUTSIDE” always defines the environment in which the scenery takes place. The exact location and time of day are then given.

5.2. The actual instruction

This instruction briefly reproduces the actual action in the scene. It should be noted that the first time a figure appears, it is always capitalized.

EXAMPLE

MIKE drives his car into the poorly lit parking lot. He turns off the engine and looks around.

5.3. The dialogs

The basic elements of a script are usually the dialogues. You fill the whole thing with life.

When writing in the script, the following features must be taken into account:

  • Dialog always starts with the name of the speaker - notation always in capital letters
  • in the next line (if necessary) the language direction of the dialogue or the way of speaking is shown (Example: “Hans is indignant at Susanna) - should only be used if this is not clear from the actual dialogue
  • underneath now follows the actual dialogue of the acting person

5.4. The names of the characters

As already mentioned, the names are always capitalized the first time they appear. In the following, an already mentioned character is continued in the normal spelling - instead of “HANS”, then “Hans”.

In a story, not only the main characters come to the fore, but also supporting actors. These are then either described in more detail - “DICKER WAITER”, “PUNISHED TAXI DRIVER” or provided with a number - “RECHTSANWALT 1”, “BARKEEPER 1”.

5.5. Camera instructions and scene transitions

A script is usually responsible for the content of a film. Because of this, have Camera instructions such as:

  • N - Nah
  • CU - Close Up
  • POV - Point of View

or Scene transitions how:

  • FADE TO (DISSOLVE TO)
  • FADE IN / FADE OUT

usually nothing to look for in a script. In spite of all this, it may be necessary to integrate such instructions in a script in exceptional cases.

As mentioned, these belong to the technical instructions, the drawn separately become.

6. An example or template for a script page

The following example gives you an idea of ​​what a single page of the script could look like.

EXAMPLE & PATTERN

OUTSIDE - PARKING - NIGHT

MIKE drives his car into the poorly lit parking lot. He turns off the engine and looks around and gets out.

PAUL

(insidious)

Already there? Did you manage to set it up after all?

Mike grabs the envelope in the back seat and walks over to Paul.

MIKE Don't make a sketch, dude, there was a lot of traffic! Do you have the money

PAUL

(Points to the trunk)

You won't get it until I have the documents?

Mike doesn't show anything and signals willingness to cooperate.

MIKE

Hollow the coal, otherwise we won't do anything! I will not let you lure me into a trap.

Paul goes to the trunk, pulls out a travel bag and comes back!

PAUL

(cries)

Here - and now with the pictures.

Mike throws the envelope on the floor a few feet in front of him. Paul wants to get him - at the same moment the bullet from Mike's pistol hits him in the chest.

PAUL

(cries)

You wretched pig, I'll kill you if I see you again - aaaaah….

The page of a script could look like this or something like that. The producer has to be able to quickly see what it's all about and what the scene is all about.

7. Conclusion

Writing a script takes a lot of creativity and discipline. Sources from which one can draw creativity can, however, be learned to tap into and with regard to discipline it is no different in scriptwriting than in any other creative process. The craft rules can be learned in any case. However, in order to become a good screenwriter, the writer has to pay attention to many important details so that his scripts are also sold or bought:

  1. a good idea
  2. an exciting storyline
  3. a suitable topic
  4. a good story and dramaturgy
  5. a good practical implementation in writing for the future producer

However, success gives the scriptwriter far more than all the money in the world - it gives him confirmation that it was worth pursuing his idea down to the last detail and thus inspiring the viewer.

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