How to Write a Screenplay For The Novice

Writing a screenplay can be quite daunting for beginners. You probably have a lot of concerns on your mind: “What’s the best way to express my ideas?,” “Is there a specific format I should follow?” And more importantly, “How do I begin?”

Having a clever concept is essential, but getting something done is equally important. A lot of novices quit too soon, abandoning their script for trivial reasons – such as, not being able to communicate what they’ve imagined, getting stuck on visual cues, or not knowing the proper format. So many potentially great screenplays never see the light of day simply because their writers accept defeat right away.

If you’re a novice screenplay writer yourself, here’s an easy guide to help you get started.

A Beginner’s Guide to Writing a Screenplay

1. Use The Proper Script Format

It’s very important to write your screenplay in the standard presentation. While you can get creative in scene ideas, free-styling on the script format is a big no-no. This is because you’ll have to present your script to an agent, and no agent will take the time to decipher a confusing layout. Anything in an unusual format will end up getting rejected.

Keep this basic rule in mind: the text in a script has to be centered. All character names, place names and the time of day have to be in block letters. Action text needs to be parenthesized and placed before the dialogue. That’s the way it has always been, and it’s wise not to deviate from it.

2. Create Compelling Characters

One of the most common reasons a script is declined is because the characters aren’t engaging enough. A main character has to make a significant impression, because he or she will serve as your story’s focal point.

Always come up with remarkable characters that will keep your audience fascinated. Think of unique traits that will can evoke reactions from viewers. Flesh out their personalities with important details consistent with their nature – how they talk or dress, how they would react to…

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