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How to write a film script

There are moments in which we want to take our stories to a screen. That's how film scripts were born. But writing a horror story is not the same as writing a script for a horror movie. Film scripts need to be written with a different methodology and thinking about how to support directors, technicians and actors, rather than becoming a literary beauty.

Each scriptwriter can have his own method to create a script, but here we will give you basic general tips that will guide you if it is your first time on it:

1) The central idea and the logline.

The first thing that you need to write a script is to identify what the central idea is. This can be a topic that you find interesting and/or you want to deepen. It can arise from a character, place, fictitious world, personal experience, etc.

We will take the example of the great saga The Lord of the Rings. The central idea could be linked to: "how to save the Middle Earth from being destroyed". However, the logline is what will define it.

The logline is a short text that describes the central idea. This is the basis of the script and the one that will be maintained until the end. A logline should always present the protagonist and the ​​conflict, and it must be written in one or two sentences at most. The script genre must also be specified in this part.

Example: A hobbit with a group of elves, hobbits, dwarves and humans, called the Fellowship of the Ring, try to cross Middle Earth to destroy the One Ring, forged by Sauron.

2) The synopsis and the characters

The synopsis is the next step to create a script, this is when the story is summarized and the important facts are specified, as well as the protagonist, the other characters, and the setting in which the events take place. The synopsis should be written in chronological order, but not in a literary form. It must be informative and functional. Therefore, it is written in the third person point of view and in present tense.

Although a synopsis should include the introduction, the knot and the outcome in a summarized way, no descriptions or dialogues are detailed. In this section, it is not necessary to focus on the narrative.

The main characters must be briefly described according to what we want to happen in the story (according to this we will give them certain skills or shortcomings).

You can detail how your character looks physically, but in a concise and concrete way, the most important thing and what you should not miss is the characteristics that will later be very relevant to the story. As for example if your character is blind, is invalid, has schizophrenia, among other details.

3) The Step Outline:

Once the synopsis has been created, it is now the turn to order the story in sequence and segment it by scenes. This is the Step Outline, the skeleton of the story and the most practical way to visualize what will happen next on the screen. In this section you should tell all the facts but not explain why they happen. This is written in present tense and should be read clearly and practically so that the technicians can understand it and carry it out because it will be their guide.

The Step Outline does not necessarily have a chronological order. That will depend on the story, because there are stories that start with the end and then continue with the beginning. Or there are also others that play with the times: they show scenes from the past, then they pass to the future and continue with the present. In the Step Outline these scenes must appear in the order in which you want them to happen in the film.

4) The literary script

This is the time to become literary, and to develop the full scale, but without any technical indication. In a literary script the story is told with all the details, but in an audiovisual way, that means that everything we write can be visualized. Here the dialogues are introduced, and everything is written in the present tense.

The format for literary scripts has been standardized as follows:

- A header, which informs where and when the scene takes place.

- The text that tells what happens in the scene - here you can also describe the scenario.

- The dialogues, which will always have the name of the character first and then the text with what each one speaks.

For example:


Danielle enters the cold room and observes with wide eyes the 3 patients inside. One is standing looking at the hospital garden from the one and only window of that room, while the others are tied in their own bed with their eyes wide open. All eyes are on Danielle, including the two nurses who are also there. She starts to tremble.


Good morning Danielle, welcome.


I think ... I think ... I think I enter the wrong room.


No, you haven't made any mistake, you are in the room that corresponds to you.

The two nurses approach Danielle, take her by both arms and carry her to her bed. Danielle wants to run away, but she doesn't dare, she only dares to walk in silence and obey.

And that's how you would finish creating your script. However, these are only general points, which have emerged, above all, from compilations of different writers and / or teachers specialized in the subject. While creating a film script requires a lot of work, research and details, practice is the key to achieving a good job.

11 de Março de 2019 às 16:09 0 Denunciar Insira 3

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