Creating a Great Screenplay

January 3, 2010 | By | 1 Comment

Writing screenplays isn’t as daunting as most people would think. Though the number of screenplays being turned into movies are not at the highest rate, the chances are still great if you have the basic tools need to draft up a dazzling Screenplay, with great dialog, smooth pacing, and a great plot.

Get Ready

To start off with, make sure that you are really ready to start the endeavor of writing a movie screenplay. There are lots of tips, and bits of information to remember, though they are all fairly easy to accomplish and master.

1. What’s the Story?

Ask yourself, “What story am I about to write?” Remember that there is no difference between the story and the plot. Both give the reader an insight as to what they are going to be reading. There are many plots, and some of them have turned into blockbusters. For example, there was a plot about killer sharks swimming at the local beach. Another plot consisted of a an alien coming to Earth, and befriending a young boy, only to be discovered from hiding. Yet another is of a man who has blackouts as a kid, and realizes later on in life that he can go back in time… then change things. Whatever story or plot that you come up with, make sure it’s a damn good one, as well.

2. You Must Have a Hero and a Villain

A story would not be a complete story without a hero and a villain. The beautiful thing about stories, and imagination, is that a hero could be a town, or a group of people, all fighting for something. Just as well, the villain could be anything, an organization, animal, or someone not even human. It could be a ghost! The reason why both of these people are key ingredients for a great story is because the hero is someone that the moviegoer relates to. They need to have a reason to sit through almost two hours of a movie, and the hero must provide that, along with the plot. Also, the villain must be there to damper the progress of your hero. Remember both your hero and villian must each have something that they want to achieve, and the villain must be there to stop the hero in any way, shape, form, or fashion. This builds suspense and drama, two wonderful ingredients for an entertaining story.

3. You Must Have Conflict

Conflict, drama, or obstacles must constantly be in your hero’s way. For this, you must turn to your villain, and give them a reason to stop your hero from getting what he/she most desires. At the same time, you don’t want to outwit your hero so much that the audience feels absolutely no hope. People want to see ordinary people succeed, because they consider themselves ordinary, as well. Look at J.R.R. Tolkien’s book, The Lord of the Rings. Frodo, the hero, and small hobbit was a mere three feet tall, and managed to take the precious ring to Mount Doom, even after being stabbed by a sword, a giant spider, and having his finger bitten off. Lots of obstacles were present, but with a fair amount of successes to boot.

4. Focus on Pacing

The pacing of your screenplay must be smooth, not too slow, and not too fast.

Risk of being too slow-

Needless to say, if your screenplay’s pacing is slow, people will get bored to death. The one thing you don’t want your audience, of a slush pile reader for that matter, is walking out on your story. You want to constantly keep your audience entertained by giving new plot information with each scene, and a wonderful climax at the end.

Risk of being too fast-

Going too fast can, sometimes, confuse the audience, or the reader. Try to make sure the pacing is even, with a slow scene to follow behind a fast action packed one. The balance should be so smooth and graceful in order that the reader or audience will crave for more, or feel blissfully satisfied after the climax and resolution scenes.

5. No More Than 120 Pages, Please!

Your screenplay should be no more than 120 pages. Now, if you believe your movie could only be told in page length over 120 pages, then go right ahead. However, it’s not a good idea to push the page count over 150; at that point, your “masterpiece” mayl be directly rejected. Slush pile readers have many, sometimes, hundreds of other screenplays to read, and they want the shortest ones with the most potential.

Follow your instincts when it creating the story you wish to tell, but follow these tips, and make sure you put them into memory, because they are screenwriting law, especially if you wish to get work as a screenwriter. You can also view this mind map for graphics, notes, and more info on molding a sellable, and wonderful screenplay.

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Comments (1)

  1. Damn, I wish I could think of somenthig smart like that!

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