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Learning How To Write A Screenplay
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Though it may seem like a romantic notion to write a screenplay and see your name in a film credit, there is a lot of hard work ahead of you to prepare your story for market. A quality screenplay must have commercial value, be fresh and innovated, and use the standard format for a successful launch onto the big screen.
The subject matter must be engaging and able to tell a story filled with conflict and resolution, filling every scene with compelling and sharp dialog. Old hackneyed cliches are out, and fresh biting dialog will get your name noticed.
The structure of a good screenplay should be divided into three acts. The first act sets up your characters and the impending conflict that drives the story forward. The second act concerns the characters dealing in conflict and pushing the story towards the final resolution. The third act should concentrate on resolution, ensuring that a positive message is left with the audience.
Time is money at a production studio, so you want to be sure that every scene pushes the story forwards with dialog and imagery. Filler scenes will be cut by the director if your screenplay makes it to the major leagues. For instance, if you have a character that is traveling from point A to point B, the travel scenes are redundant unless they push the story forward. Knowing what to write and how to communicate your story without fluff is part of the art of good screen writing.
To make your characters interesting, they should have some degree of back story, however, that must be cleverly woven into relevant dialog. Each character plays a vital role to pull the audience in, so don't be shy about adding unique and quirky features to your main players. Writer and director David Lynch was a master at this, so you may take a few pointers from his gifted approach to bringing an otherwise ordinary character to life.
Once the screenplay is ready for market, you will need to hire a writer's agent to get your product in front of the right people. The agent receives a 15 percent commission on the sale, so he or she will be motivated to hold out for top dollar. In addition, after your first sale, you may be eligible to join the Screenwriters Guild of America for a yearly fee and access to other professionals in the film industry.
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