You can have a great idea, or you worked as essayswriter but you don’t know how to write a movie script, you won’t see it projected on the big screen. The screenwriter’s work is essential for a film project to be successful. If you want to know more, read on.
First Of All, What Is A Film Script?
The film script is, perhaps, one of the most important documents of any film project. It reflects the idea that it will be told in the form of a film, and it reflects such essential data as the performances of the different characters or the scenes that the film consists of.
The key to knowing how to write a movie script is to document yourself and be curious. The more scripts you have read, the easier it will be for you to capture your idea in this format. Nowadays, there are numerous free access archives where you can consult screenplays of successful films, such as the award-winning Joker, by Todd Philipps and Scott Silver.
The First Step To Knowing How To Write A Movie Screenplay
The first thing is to have a good idea that is feasible to capture on the big screen, but it is important that, as a screenwriter, you are aware that films have a time limit. That is to say, and your idea must be told in two or three hours. Nevermore. To do this, you must do a synthesizing exercise.
What Is The Average Length Of A Film Script?
Although no written rule has been established regarding the ideal length for a film script, experts say that each page of the script is equivalent to one minute of film. Thus, a two-hour film should not exceed 120 pages.
The Script, To Be Read And Not Seen
Although the final result of a film script is a movie that numerous spectators will see in theaters, you must understand that this document is a preliminary step to that end. That is to say, the script has to serve as a guide for the creation of the film, and for this purpose, it has to be adapted to the language and requirements of the whole team involved in creating a feature film.
Main Elements Of A Script
Now that we have a series of premises under consideration, it is time to put down on paper the elements that will turn your idea into a film:
- Idea and synopsis. They may seem the same, but they are slightly different things. As we mentioned previously, the idea has to be a brief explanation of the basis of the film. We can summarize it in one or two main characters and their objectives. The synopsis will be a summary of the plot, designed to make a quick presentation of what is going to be told in the feature film.
- The script must include all the characters that will appear in the scene. The scriptwriter has the task of describing them physically and psychologically so that his notes will be useful both for the director (who will direct the filming) and for the performers (who will know what is expected of them).
- The narration of the different events that take place in your film will be adjusted to a cinematographic genre. Thus, telling a love or horror story will not be the same. Your work must be framed within a genre.
- Location and atmosphere. As a screenwriter, you will also be tasked with defining where the scenes you write will take place. In this way, you will have to locate your characters in a physical place, describing how they would be and at what time of the day they are. All these notes will then be transformed into reality by the different equipment, such as costumes, settings, or special effects.
Structure Of A Film Script
Keeping in mind that movie scripts are not novels, they do share certain aspects. One of them is the formal structure in which they will develop the narrated events: beginning, crux, and denouement.
- Beginning: in the first part of the movie script, the main characters and the conflict that will lead to the development of the film are presented.
- Knot: the characters will take action and begin to face their main objectives. It is here where plot twists should be introduced, giving dynamism and mystery to your plot.
- Denouement: in the last part of the film script, you must resolve the conflicts you have been presenting. You can choose between a closed ending, with all the ends neatly tied up, or an open ending, which will lead to a continuation of the story in a second film.
The Playbill: Organizing The Scenes Of A Film
Film scripts are composed of a set of scenes, which will be grouped into larger sequences. When learning how to write a movie script, it is important to internalize the scene concept since it will be the narrative index of the script.
Thus, a scene must contain an action that takes place in a certain space and time in which a character advances in the plot of the story. We will change the scene when there is an important change of scenery or action.
All this has to be reflected in our script. How? The playbill will be how the events of our script will be narrated.
How To Write The Outline Of The Film Script
In the Playbill, the story will be reflected in a dialogical way. That is to say, and each scene will have the location where it is set and the dialogues between the characters that play the leading role.
Before writing the dialogue, a heading should be included that groups the following elements:
- Indicate whether it takes place in an interior or exterior space.
- Specification of the place. The second part of the heading will tell the exact place where the scene takes place. Example: the deck of the ocean liner.
- Time of day. This will indicate whether it is day or night.
This is a universal language used by film scriptwriters, so you should familiarize yourself with its use.