Friday, October 23, 2009

Script Writing... And The Women Who Love Them.

Lets go over the simplest way to write a script. This will be a quick lesson; in case if anybody is confused on formatting.

We're dealing with short films. So I'm not going to go deep into plot points and act breaks.

After you've made some sort of outline and came up with your concept it's time for the script to be written.

I suggest getting some sort of script writing software... I prefer Final Draft, but if you don't want to spend any money you can download Celtx. Celtx is free and easy to use.

Scripts are written in a size 12 Courier font... I'd say keep it that way. There's no reason to go against this norm.

One page in your script is about one minute of screen time... This will help you estimate your duration time.

I'll use this as an example... This was from my film shot last spring.

Lets start from the top.


The slug line:
"EXT. RESTAURANT PATIO - NIGHT"

The slug line shows location and time of day change from scene to scene. Keep this at the top of each scene.

It'll always be in all capital letters.

EXT and INT are for if the scene is exterior or interior.

Then you list the location followed by the time of day.



The actions:

The action paragraphs follow after the slug line to describe the location and what the characters are doing in the scene.

When you're introducing new characters into a script keep their name in capital letters followed by their age... After that you don't need to keep them capitalized.

Keep all action in the present as if it's happening at that moment. Never use past tense when writing actions.

You also want to stay away from writing how the character is feeling in the actions. How can we see their emotions? Describe, briefly, what they're doing to show their emotions. On top of that, their dialogue will help configure their feelings.

Show me, don't tell me.


The dialogue:

So now you want your character to speak.

Dialogue is always in the center of the page.

Keep the character name in capital letters.

Underneath the name is where the character's lines are.

I try to keep dialogue less wordy... I tend to keep in mind that actors are going to be performing this. I don't want them fumbling over words. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I try not to put a lot of unnecessary actions between my character's dialogue... It's distracting to the actors.


So this is the basics of what you need to know about scriptwriting. There are other little technical things that I may go over in posts later to come but if you're not looking to be a screenplay writer and you just need to write something real quick to start shooting, then this is all you really need to know for now.

Until next time...

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