How to Write a Script : Creating, Formatting, Revising
How to write a script is a basically an art but you can call it a skill, too, which can be perfected with time.
Writing a script is a perfect way to stretch the creativity by making a movie, short film, or a TV show. Each script starts with a great plot that afterwards take the built-in characters on a life-changing journey. You can write your own script in just a few months with a lot of hard work, patience and correct formatting.
How to Write a Script : Creating a Story World
Think of a theme that you wish to tell in the story. Carry a small notebook with you wherever you go so you can take down notes when you get ideas. Start taking inspiration from the world around you and ask yourself how it would be affected by a specific event or character.
Pick a genre for the story. Combine genres to make something unique. as it is important storytelling device that lets readers know what sort of story to expect. You may have a western movie that takes place in space or a romance movie with horror elements.
If you like big set pieces and explosions, consider writing an action film.
If you wish to scare other people, try writing a horror script.
If you wish to talk about relationships, try writing a drama or romantic comedy.
If you like special effects and futuristic theme, write a science fiction film.
Choose a setting for your script to take place. Make sure the setting works with the story or theme of your script. Make a list of at least 3-4 different settings for your characters to travel between in your script so it stays interesting.
Make an interesting protagonist. When you’re making a protagonist, give them a goal that they are trying to achieve throughout the script. Give the character a flaw, like being a constant liar or only being selfish, to make them more interesting. Your character should go through an arc and change for good or bad by the end of the script. Brainstorm for the characters at the beginning of the story versus how the events would change them.
Create an antagonist that opposes the protagonist. The antagonist is the driving force that goes against the protagonist. Give your protagonist and antagonist similar qualities, but change the approach. Your protagonist may save the world, but the antagonist may think only to destroy it. If you’re writing a horror story, your antagonist may be a monster or a masked killer. In a romantic comedy, the antagonist is the person your main character is trying to woo.
Write a 1-2 sentence logline to summarize the plot of your script. A logline is a short summary of the main events in your film. Use descriptive language to help your logline sound unique so other people understand what the main ideas of your story are. Make sure the conflict is present in your logline.
How to Write a Script : Outlining Your Script
Brainstorm plot ideas on index cards. Write down each event in your script on their own note cards. This way you can easily reorganize the events to see what works best. Write down all of your ideas, even if you think they’re bad, since you may not know what will work best in your final script.
Arrange the events in the order you want them in your script. Once you write all of your ideas on cards, lay them out on a table or floor and organize them in the chronological order of your story. Look for certain events lead into one another to see if it makes sense. If it doesn’t, set the index cards aside to see if they’d work somewhere better in your outline.
Ask yourself the importance of each scene you want to include. As you go through your outline ask yourself questions, such as, “What is the main point of this scene?” or, “How does this scene move the story forward?” Go through each of the scenes to see if they add to the story or if they’re only there to fill out space. If the scene doesn’t have a point or move the story, you can probably remove it.
Use high and low moments as your act breaks. Act breaks help separate your story into 3 parts: setup, confrontation, and resolution. The setup, or Act I, begins at the start of your story and ends when your character makes a choice that changes their lives forever. Throughout the confrontation, or Act II, your protagonist will work towards their goal and interact with your antagonist leading up to the climactic point of the story. The resolution, or Act III, takes place after the climax shows what happens afterward.
How to Write a Script : Formatting the Script
Create a title page for your script. Include the title of your script in all caps in the center of the page. Put a line break after the title of your script, then type “written by.” Add another line break before typing your name. Leave contact information, such as an email address and phone number in the bottom left margins.
Use size 12 Courier font throughout your whole script. Screenwriting standard is any variation of Courier so it’s easy to read. Make sure to use 12-point font since it’s what other scripts use and is considered industry standard. Use any additional formatting, such as bolding or underlining, sparingly since it can distract your reader.
Put in scene headings whenever you go to a different location. Scene heading should be aligned to the left margin 1 1⁄2 in (3.8 cm) from the edge of the page. Type the scene headings in all caps. Then, name the specific location followed by the time of day it takes place.
Write action blocks to describe settings and character actions. Action blocks should be aligned with the left margin and are written in regular sentence structure. Use action lines to denote what a character does and to give brief descriptions about what’s happening. Keep action lines brief so they don’t overwhelm a reader looking at the page.
Avoid writing what the characters are thinking. A good rule of thumb to think about is if it can’t be seen on a screen, don’t include it in your action block. When you introduce a character for the first time in an action block, use all caps for their name. Every time after you mention the character name, write it as normal.
Center character names and dialogue whenever a character speaks. When a character is about to speak, make sure the margin is set to 3.7 in (9.4 cm) from the left side of the page. Put the characters name in all caps so a reader or actor can easily see when their lines occur. When you write the dialogue, make sure it’s 2 1⁄2 in (6.4 cm) from the left side of the page.
How to Write a Script : Writing Your First Draft
Set a deadline so you have a goal to reach. Choose a date that’s about 8-12 weeks away from when you start since these are the usual industry times that writers have to work on a script. Tell others about the goal and ask them to hold you accountable for finishing work.
Plan to write at least 1-2 pages per day. During the first draft, just write the ideas that come to the head and follow along with the outline. Don’t worry about spelling or grammar entirely since you just need to get your story written down. If you aim to do 1-2 pages each day, you’ll finish first draft within 60-90 days. Choose a set time each day to sit down and write so you don’t get distracted. Turn off phone or internet connection so you can just focus on writing.
Say your dialogue out loud to see if it sounds natural. As you write what your characters are saying, talk through it out loud. Make sure it flows well and doesn’t sound confusing. If you notice any problem areas, highlight or underline the phrases and come back to them next time you edit. Ensure each character sounds different and has a unique voice or a reader will have a hard time distinguishing between who’s speaking.
Keep writing until you’re between 90-120 pages. Think of each page equalling 1 minute of screen time. To write a standard film script, aim to write something about 90-120 pages long so it would run for 1 ½-2 hours long.
How to Write a Script : Revising Your Script
Take a 1-2 week break from your script when you finish it. Since you’ve been working on the script for a long period of time, save the file and focus on something else for a few weeks. That way, when you come back to edit it, you’ll be able to look at it with fresh eyes. Start work on another script while waiting if you want to keep working on other ideas.
Reread your entire script and take notes on what doesn’t make sense. Open your script and read it from start to end. Look for places where the story is the confusing or where characters are doing things without moving the story forward. Write notes down by hand so you can remember them better.
Share your script with someone you trust so they can look over it. Ask a friend or parent to look over the script to see what they think. Tell them what sort of feedback you’re looking for so they know what to focus on. Ask them questions when they’re finished about whether parts make sense or not.
Keep rewriting the script until you’re happy with it. Work on story and character revisions first to fix larger problems in your script. Start each draft in a new document so as to cut and paste parts you wish from the old script into the new one. As you work through each revision, work from larger problems, like dialogue or confusing action sequences, to minor problems, like grammar and spelling.
Hoping to give you a lot of tips on how to write a script, singing off for now.. Have a nice writing experience.