1. the1
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    the1 Active Member

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    Some questions on screenwriting

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by the1, Jul 23, 2011.

    I just have a few questions on screenwriting which would help me tremendously if someone were able to answer them.

    I am extremely new to screenwriting but have already acquired the services of Final Draft 8 (I hope this was a good software choice).

    My first question is, how do I start off?

    Do you just launch into writing the screenplay or are you supposed to write a general outline of the story first?

    I think it would be easier for me if I wrote some sort of outline first so that I knew where the story is heading. Or is this not the correct procedure?

    I am sure I will think of some more questions, however that is it for the moment.

    :)
     
  2. whitefairy24601
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    whitefairy24601 Member

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    There are many ways to do it but honestly, my favorite piece of advice is always this: go with your gut. If having an outline will help than go for it! If you are into jumping in try script-frenzy or Nanowrimo.
     
  3. apf42589
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    apf42589 New Member

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    int.david's house - night (interior or exterior, place, sub place, day or night)
    david looks at the picture of him and his wife and then slams it on the floor. (Action)

    David's Wife (Character)
    what the fuck is your problem! (dialog)

    David then walks out the house. blah blah blah (more actions)

    Cut to: (New scene)

    hope that helps.
     
  4. the1
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    the1 Active Member

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    I've read up on how to format a script, that really wasn't really what I was talking about.

    I have an idea in my head and I am just wondering what the next thing I should do is? I mean, do I launch into the script or should I write some form of short story so I have more of a complete idea of where it is headed.

    Is there some correct procedure to take or do most people just launch into it?
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    apf... that's not even close to proper format, sorry to say...


    yes, fd is the best and the one most used by the pros... movie magic's is a fairly close second, i'm told, but can't vouch for that...

    by studing the basics of the craft... you can email me for my 'tools of the trade' list where you'll find the best how-tos...

    beginners should really plot out the script before starting to write... syd field's 'workbook' shows how to do this and is the how-to i highly recommend for all aspiring screenwriters...

    answered above...

    i mentor many would-be screenwriters, so if you want some help along the learning path, just drop me a line any time... i can also send you lots of info/tips from the pros on all aspects of the craft...

    love and hugs, maia
    maia3maia@hotmail.com
     
  6. ericb0redalot
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    ericb0redalot New Member

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    the1 - no "cut to:" From what I understood about screenplays, no camera or editing directions should go into a "spec script". You read the "spec script" like a book that's mostly dialogue and scene direction.

    When your script gets green lit, whoever directs will go back and rewrite a "shooting script". or have someone else do so.

    Also, not too many question marks and never any exclamation points. That's telling the actors how to act, which is also bad.

    I know you were just giving a general example, though. Sorry, sometimes the screenwriting police officer in me comes out.
     
  7. the1
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    the1 Active Member

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    Hi maia I have sent off an email to you, I am eager to hear your reply, just send whatever you think it necessary :)

    Thank you so much!
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    erich is right about not including any camera directions... but not about the question and exclamation marks... if dialog includes questions of course ?s will be ok, so they should be used as needed, though i agree !s shouldn't be overused...
     
  9. heather_ashcraft
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    heather_ashcraft Member

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    im certainly no movie script buff..(at all for that matter),but wouldnt a script be a sort of mechanical action outlay/story hybrid? i think atleast some of the more ambiguous camera directions are meant to be hammered out by directors when the movie is being produced..i think in some ways thats one of the things that gives directors there fame,is being able to correctly interpret a great script,also some movies come with screenwriters who can mould a script into something easy to turn into a movie...so dont pressure yourself too much about it...

    the movie "darkman" was originally started as a series of scribbled and barely legible scene descriptions,but then universal studious brought in a couple of veteran screenwriters and they took the scribbled notes and created an awesome movie...and it was a win win situation for all

    this may not be the proper format,but here is a simplistic,easy to remember,and easy to process mechanical action overlay/story log:

    She switched the safety off on the rifle (q1)
    she loaded the gun`s magazine (non-q)
    she aimed the rifle at her target (q2)
    she pulled the trigger (q3)

    (q1) "now i will have my revenge"
    (q2) "this is for my comrades"
    (q3) "burn in hell"

    where q# represents a 1 to 1 ratio of dialogue line to action,and non-q means the lack of dialogue but the presence of an action


    there ya go,simplistic and fairly easy to do,give it a try! ^^
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    sorry, but this is as far from 'simplistic and fairly easy to do' as anything can get, imo...

    and doesn't relate to writing a script in any way i can imagine, though it's nice of you to try to be helpful...

    first of all, scripts are never written in past tense... only simple, declarative present...

    a screenplay is, in simple terms, a 'blueprint' that the director, actors, cinematographers and various technicians follow to 'build' the movie...

    a 'spec' script must be kept 'lean and clean' for the director to embellish as s/he sees fit when adapting it into the 'shooting' script...
     
  11. the1
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    the1 Active Member

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    Thanks for all of your help and input guys!

    And thankyou maia for sending me that e-mail with all the various tips and hints! Much appreciated!

    I now have another question... What is a 'spec' script exactly? I am just trying to become familiar with all the terminology.
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    that's short for 'speculative' or 'speculation'... meaning it's not something the screenwriter was assigned or paid to write by a studio or producer... you should google for a screenwriting glossary and bone up on all the 'in' lingo...
     

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