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Tips For The Beginning Screenwriter The Story
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I've been writing screenplays for countless (not really, it just seems like that) years now, and I have to say that there were many, many trials and tribulations in the early days. I didn't know how to begin getting my story from my head to the page. All I knew is that I had what I thought was a great idea and I wanted to write a screenplay.
In my early days, I didn't have any guidance and I didn't have a clue. All I had were some books about how to write a screenplay. I spent hours, days, weeks, years trying to figure out what Hollywood wanted. I was looking for that one secret, that precious nugget that only the insiders knew; and I looked everywhere. All my searching boils down to what I am going to tell you here today.
The best piece of advice that I was ever given was this: make sure you have the "4 C's"; character, conflict, crisis, and change - that's everything you need to write a screenplay. Okay, it's not everything, but it will most likely be the most valuable bit of information you'll ever receive if you are an aspiring screenwriter. Let me explain...
If you're writing a story, you need characters, obviously. But you can't just have any characters, you have to have - and it's usually your protagonist - someone your audience can identify with. Without this, there will be no interest. No reason for them to even care about your story. They will stop reading your screenplay, walk out of the theater, turn off the DVD, or change the channel. They simply just won't care.
This is your "driving force". Every good screenplay has conflict. It doesn't matter where the conflict comes from; whether it be your protagonist against antagonist, protagonist against his environment, or even your protagonist against himself, dealing with mental or emotional conflict, your story needs conflict. This is how you "hook" your audience. They want to see how your character deals with his or her adversity and eventually (hopefully) conquers it.
When you have conflict, it usually, and should always, evolves into some kind of crisis. Watch any movie, if you haven't noticed it before, you will now. This is the climax of your screenplay, where all of the dramatic tension is coming to a boil.
This is a must. There has to be some sort of change your character goes through by the resolution for your screenplay. Without it, you don't have a story. This change can be internal, where your character learns some life lesson and has grown from it and will forever be different, or it could be external, where something about the situation your character is in has changed forever. It can also be both, which is recommended. Have your character's situation and outlooks change.
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