Writing a screenplay

How To Write Screenplay For Movie: 3 Step Procedure

Introduction

Cinema is enormously popular in India and it is one of the greatest passions of an average Indian. The nation produces nearly 1800 films annually in various languages. However, our movies have one of the lowest survival rates in the world. In the year 2019, one of the popular filmmakers revealed that Bollywood’s success rate is 0.1 per cent. So, what makes a movie successful? Of course, the story is the first and foremost thing for making any great film. Before we get start with learning how to write screenplay for movie, lets discuss the screenplay from audience’s perspective.

A regular moviegoer can notice that multiple films are being made every year with the same storyline, however, one becomes a hit and the other flop. The curiosity that the cinema offers while watching and the experience that it leaves after completing the movie is what matters to the audience. The bottom line is, it’s the screenplay which makes all the difference.

The making of a good cinema starts with good writing. There are thousands of articles and blogs which teach you how to write screenplay for movie. But, do you think just by knowing how to write the screenplay will guarantee success? So what needs to be done for a successful script. Lets begin with an example, if a story is given to two different filmmakers and ask them to make a movie. The two outputs won’t be the same because it’s the maker’s approach to the story and the treatment which brings the difference.

Most of the beginners struggle with developing their story idea into a good scene or script. They do have the basic idea of how to start writing a script. By the end of this article, you will be learning how to develop your idea, create characters, visualise scenes and eventually make an engaging screenplay.

What is the difference between script and screenplay?

Well, script is a written format of a story which can be used for drama, movie, or even a play. Whereas, a screenplay is meant for only movie and television purposes. You can even say that the screenplay is for something which is played on screen.

How To Write Screenplay For Movie : Step By Step Process

how to start writing a script

Scope Of Your Story

The scope of the story tells what exactly your film is about. It defines the movie genre. Writing down the scope of your story or idea will help you build the boundaries for your thoughts and direct your thinking in the right direction. Without mentioning the character name, try writing your story in one or two sentences.

Example: Fed up seeing his irresponsible graduate son, father wants him to get married hoping that will make him responsible. In the process, the son meets an ambitious girl who will change his life for the better.

Also, have an understanding of when and where the story occurs which helps knowing your limitations and explore your ideas as both are necessary. It also gives a basic idea for budget estimation.

Talk To Your Characters

Before you start visualising the story or even a scene, develop your main characters and throw them in various situations of your story. Visualise how the character reacts as per the personality you have given to them. You need to write down your main character description. That includes physical appearance, hobbies, body language etc. For better understanding of your character, you can imagine talking to them and making them respond in multiple ways and choose the one which you think is best suitable for that particular character in your story. All the best script writing courses available in the market will teach the same. Let the characters speak for themselves! 

Writing is Rewriting

what is screenplay in a movie

Write down all the scenes you have in your mind in a board or paper, arrange them in a way that looks interesting and keeps the viewer curious till the end. One has to keep in mind this popular saying ‘Writing Is Rewriting’. Once you have all the main characters developed, and known scenes written down, you can proceed with the regular format of writing a screenplay.

We need to consider the script’s logic while writing. Check if the point makes sense on screen and make changes accordingly. Atmosphere also plays a major role in the story. When imagining a scene, visualise the atmosphere too. After completion, read the whole script as if you don’t know the story. Highlight the scenes which you feel doesn’t make the viewer excited. Try thinking of an alternate scene that fits in the situation. You can use a particular colour to highlight the points and re-write until you remove all the highlighted points. You can even make some trusted ones read the script for suggestions. However, it’s the writer’s final decision whether to consider the suggestions or not.

The above tips for writing screenplay will help you think, visualise and write a movie in any genre. By this time, you will be knowing how to write a movie screenplay. Apart from knowing what is the screenplay in a movie you will also have to know how to make it a worthy one, which comes with great imagination.

Every screenplay will have the same rules and format, but only an engaging screenplay will make the viewer invest themselves in the story. Basically, any story can be divided into three parts, setup, confrontation and the resolution.

Writing A Screenplay Format

screenplay font

The current Industry standards for screenplay font is 12 Pt courier font, 1 inch right margin, 1.5 inch left margin, 1 inch top and bottom margin.

What is the difference between script and screenplay?

Script is a written format of story and can be used for various mediums like play, drama, movie or broadcast. While, screenplay is specifically meants for movie or television purpose.

What is the format for writing a screenplay?

Current Industry standards for writing a screenplay is 12 Pt courier font, 1 inch right margin, 1.5 inch left margin, 1 inch top and bottom margin.

What is 3 point structure of the screenplay?

1. The Setup- Introduction of characters, creating inciting incident, first plot point.
2. Confrontation- Main character tries to face the antagonist or the problem, faces obstacles at every step.
3. Resolution- Pre climax and climax, the outcome of the end result of the sequence of events.

Basic Structure Of Screenplay

The first part is called ‘The Setup’ which includes the introduction of the characters, shows the world of your story and it completes with the occurrence of an incident that can be called as the first turning point where the protagonist learns his goal. In the second part, the protagonist will have to confront the problem or the antagonist. This incident will help develop the main character and require new skills to deal with them. Later, major events will occur that change the story all together which can be referred to as ‘Plot point’. This will lead the main character into Ambiguity as he/she would be in an unclear situation and not knowing his way out.

In the third part, the protagonist will be thrown into a crisis situation where he will be forced to act, followed by the pre-climax and the end where he resolves the problem. Once you know how To Write Screenplay For Movie, you can play with different screenplay structures based on how you want to tell the story to your audience. Also, different types of screenplay structures can be chosen considering the genre.

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