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Screen Writing - It's All In The Story

By Author: Steve Jenkins
Total Articles: 38

There's a million reasons to want to write for the big screen (or the small one for that matter), there's the chance for a bit of personal fame, the hope of a big pay check when your movie becomes a blockbuster, maybe even the chance to hang out with a few celebrities. However when it comes to writing that all important script many people find themselves stuck, others decide to bury themselves in techniques and tools.
There's nothing more overwhelming than drowning in layout guidelines, script developing packages, and thousands of "how to" articles and books. It's also completely unnecessary. A great movie is driven by one thing, and one thing only, the story. Here's a simple way to get the story down first and then you can start working on bigger things.
Now when I talk about the story, it's not the whole script you're aiming for - it's the essential plot and nothing more, the big picture that you will eventually pin the details on to. Work out what your hook will be, answer the "what if?" Choose your main protagonists. Decide on the conflict. Look to discover the objectives of the film.
Then get writing, you don't have to write a massive document either; you need to write a 3 or 4 page outline at the most. It doesn't need any special formatting; you can just bash it out on paper or hammer it into your word processor.
It's not a long process, for most of us 3 or 4 complete pages is no more than an hour or two's work and at most for anyone this should be a half day.
Once you've finished, put it away for a few days - don't read it yet. Concentrate on other projects, and then come back and take it out of the draw, read through and edit. Then tuck it out of sight for a little longer and repeat the editing process. Finally, read it through and make sure it zings. If it does congratulations now you have the basis for your script. If it doesn't - be objective, you're not looking at the writing; you're looking at the story if that genuinely isn't up to scratch then start again but if you're only looking at the writing then stop. This isn't your script; it's your guideline so the writing doesn't matter.
The good news for any budding writer who wants to break into film or TV is that scripts are among the shortest documents to create (Hollywood lengths are usually less than 114 pages). That can be made even less daunting by getting your outline down before you move onto the more complicated stuff.

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