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How To Write A Screenplay - Using The Proper Format!
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How to write a screenplay is not as hard as you might think. A well written screenplay allows the reader/reviewer to fully engage in the story and better visualize the scenes. This will give you a better chance of your work making it to the next level.
In order to properly write a screenplay which can be read without the distraction of jumping all over the place, you must start with an outline. There are script writing software programs available to help you get started. However the basics you need to know right now start with the organization of your outline. It should include the following elements: the Outline of the Story, Development of the Characters, Organization of the Scenes, and the Structure of the Acts.
When you progress to the final step of actually writing the script, keep these keys elements in mind.
1. Scene Headings: Each time you have a character or characters move to a new setting you must use a new Screen Heading. All words should be in CAPITAL LETTERS using abbreviations when possible to keep the heading shortened. For example:
EXT. DAY - EARLY MORNING - ON BRIDGE OUTSIDE OF TOWN
This would be used to describe these four elements of the scene heading.
A) Exterior shot (as opposed to interior),
B) During the day (as opposed to night),
C) In the early morning (the specifics of the light conditions)
D) On bridge outside of town (the setting).
2. Scene Descriptions: Follow the scene heading making certain to use ALL CAPS when introducing a character for the first time. For example: "JENNIFER drove up to the bridge slowly her neck craning to see out the windshield."
3. Sounds: As part of the scene description, you should also capitalize sounds which will be heard by the audience. For example: "SCREECHING OF BRAKES when Jennifer slid into the guard rail."
4. Character/Dialogue: Dialogue is written centered underneath the character name. It should always be centered in the page with the character's name who is speaking in CAPITAL LETTERS above the dialogue. For example:
Why did my car have to break down on this old bridge?
(Note: Character name and Dialogue should always be centered in the middle of the page).
These basic steps will help you to write clearly defined scenes. This is the foundation on which you will want to work your way through your entire script when learning how to write a screenplay. Additionally you will clearly mark each Scene with a Scene Heading, and break down the different Acts within the larger frame of the script by labeling them as well.
If you follow the steps of Outlining the Story, Developing your Characters, Organizing the Scenes, and Structuring the Scenes before you begin to actually write the screens with the above format, you will produce a script which can be read and understood without distraction.
Enjoy YOUR journey in creating Hollywood's next great movie. And remember, it all starts with these basic elements and your willingness to learn the proper way of how to write a screenplay.
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