How To Write a Script For Movie and TV Show

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how to write a scriptHow To Write a Script: For writing a strong script you need to start with good story, plot, dialogue and character with original creativity and right formatting, you can write your own interesting script. To write a strong script you need to put emotion and true facts and creativity, make sure you don’t copy other’s script but you can be inspire by other’s story. While writing script you need to follow some steps which can lead a strong story. In this article we have explained how to write a script in depth.

How To Write a Script

Writing a script can be tricky because it contain many elements here we are explaining simple way to write script and how to think creative to achieve a good story.

Pick a Genre for Story: Firstly you must think which kind of story you want to write such as action, adventure, comedy, crime, historical, fiction, horror, mystery, drama or you can also blend genre such as action-comedy, mystery-comedy, horror-comedy, drama-action and so on, some story genre examples are given below:

  • Action movies or TV shows are all about high energy, big budget, physical stunts, chases, rescues, battles, fights and escapes. For example – Hulk, Spider Man, Batman, Superman, Iron Man, Captain America, James Bond, Mission Impossible, Die Hard, Karate Kid, Fast & Furious, Gladiator and Fight Club these all are come under action genre.
  • Comedy movies or TV shows are all about comedy plots which designed to amuse and provoke laughter with help of language, action, dialogue, relationships and characters. For example – The Hangover, Dumb and Dumber, Midnight in Paris, Burn after Reading, Sideways. Sometime comedy movies are spoofs and parodies of original movies such as Scary movie, Disaster Movie, Fifty Shades of Black.
  • Horror movies or TV shows are designed to frighten the audience with terrifying and shocking visual effects, they are often combined with supernatural powers. For example – Annabelle, A Quiet Place, The conjuring and some TV shows like Supernatural, American Horror Story, The haunting of Hill House, A Haunting.
  • Drama / romantic movies or TV shows tell story about life situations, stories involving intense character development and interaction. Usually in this kind of movies there are no special-effects, comedy or action. Biopic is also come under drama genre for example – The Imitation Game, Titanic, Dances with Wolves, Blood Diamond.
  • Fiction movies or TV shows are full of visionary and imagination, science fiction often express the potential of technology to destroy the humankind such as earth is threatened by aliens (men in black movie), some example of fiction movies are Star Wars, Avatar, Men in Black.
  • Historical movies or TV shows stories are based on historical events and famous people. For example – Lincoln, The Great Escape, War Horse.

Research for Story: Once you figured out which sort of story you want to write then start doing research on it. Research plays significance role in writing by doing research you can make the story more realistic. Research is very crucial if you want to write on Historical topics or stories which are inspire by true events or someone’s biopic. Suppose if you want to write a script about world war so you need to do research to validate all the facts about the world war and even you writing a science fiction you need to write basic science facts & theories and then develop your own fiction. For research properly here are 5 rules you must follow:

  • Set a time frame for research: Set a limited time frame for research and stick to schedule 2 to 3 months are maximum for research work and make notes in your file or notebook.
  • Make list: Make list of all question and also make a list of facts which you need to research about it.
  • Read books and research online: you can read books and go thru the internet or talk to experts of that topic and make note or record while talking to the expert so that you can use those facts in your script. Read at-least 5 to 6 books on that particular topic and highlight stories which you think you can use in the script. Watch something which is related to your story and keep absorbing information and use later in your script.
  • Talk to people: If you are writing about truth based story then it would be good if you talk to people who are actual stakeholders, suppose you are writing about 9/11 so talk to the people who had gone thru 9/11 attack.
  • Don’t copy all facts: To build story don’t just write all facts, you must use your creativity and add emotions such as how people felt and how they had to gone thru in that particular event. Use your creativity but it doesn’t mean that you can present facts incorrect, make sure all facts are 100% accurate. Story always comes first but to make story realistic facts must be right.

Build the Story: Once you done with the research work start building the story, figure out the story concept for your script. Observe your surroundings and take inspiration from it, place yourself in the story and ask yourself how you will feel if a specific event happened to you. Keep asking questions to yourself and be self critic that will help you to go deeper and deeper into the character and story and to write heart touching story you need to live that story. Write down all possible angles and opinions related to the story. If you are not getting any idea have a brake for few days and do some other stuff it will help you to get new ideas. While building the story line make sure it goes with your theme or genre.

Develop Character: When you write about the main character make sure you give him/her a goal that he/she is trying to achieve throughout the script. Give your character small details, give character bit background so that audience can connect with character also develop antagonist character which give your script a balance. While creating antagonist character give him/her similar qualities and power. You also need to develop supporting characters which help to grow your protagonist character; here are 4 rules to follow while developing characters:

  • Make your protagonist character like-able: As a writer it is your job to write a protagonist character which loved by the audience. Give your character a goal and right justification why he/she doing that. For example – if your protagonist character does some kind of illegal or unethical work so justify his/her work or act. It’s not necessary that your protagonist character only do hero kind of things or save the world. He/she could be in negative role but still act as hero.
  • Construct realistic & detailed character: Construct a realistic and detailed character like what kind of personality he/she has such as introvert kind of person or fun loving person etc. Make sure you construct realistic character so that audience can relate and build sympathy with character.
  • Give your character influential and powerful dialogues: Dialogues give your character a life it tells what is the character’s thought process, what kind of person he/she is. To build strong and powerful characters you need to write interesting and original dialogues for all of them.
  • Give your character a point of view: Give your character a point of view it is necessary as strong point of view will drive the story forward otherwise it feel out of the context.

Plotting: Writing strong plot is essential for a film or TV show script, plot can make or ruin a whole movie; plot is refer to main event of a script. To write a script you will need 3 things such as story, plot and character. Story comes out when characters move thru a plot each one is inter-linked and yet different from each other.

Outline for Script: Outline is a brief summary of your entire script; summary your script into 3 or 4 pages, write down all crucial events and organize them in the chronological order. When you organized the events in order then read each event and ask questions to yourself such as What is the main purpose of this scene? Or does the story fulfill the purpose and justify every character? If it does not make point or move the story ahead then remove that particular event. Break your script into 4 parts – introduction, obstacles, climax and resolution. Introduction: beginning of story where you introduce your characters. Obstacles: after some scene characters meet with some kind of crisis. Climax: this part brings thrill and turning point of the story, the most intense, exciting phase of story. Resolution: after climax story slows down and got wrapped.

First Draft: In this step we get the actual writing part, you did all your research and now time to shape up the script. Set a deadline so that you can stick to the schedule. Write reasonable pages in each day and your first draft should be finish within 60 or 90 days. Write scene into proper format, make sure scene or dialogue doesn’t sound confusing.

Re-read and Editing: After the completion of first draft you need to take a break for 5 to 6 days it is very important step because when you take a break and come back to re-read the script you will be able to look at the script with fresh eyes which will help you in script editing. After re-read the script if you feel something wrong with any scene, you can edit the same. Editing is crucial for final script as it shapes up your script and helps to remove all those scenes which are not working for the story, after the editing your final script is ready to execute.

What is Screenplay

Screenplay / screenplay writing is an art of showing your story (script) on the actual screen, screenplay defines how any situation, event, character or location of the story going to be shoot or how it is going to look on the actual screen. For writing screenplay you need to divide your entire story (script) into small parts and then you need to visualize each part and write down the same.

How To Write Screenplay / Screenplay Format

Here we have explained how to write screenplay, just follow below steps to write screenplay in systematic manner.

  • Header or Slug Lines: Header lines must be at the top & in capital letters and header is important because it tells the reader whether scene is interior (INT) or exterior (EXT). After header write location of scene then write the time of scene:
  • For example: INT – David’s ROOM – DAY
  • And suppose if the scene move from an interior to exterior without cut. For example: INT / EXT – David’s HOUSE – DAY
  • Action Line: Write action line under the header that describes the scene in more details like what is actually happening in the scene:
  • For example: David walks into the room and removes his cap and scratches his head.
  • Character ID: A Character designation goes below in action line and it let you know who is talking in the scene and character name must be in capital, for example: DAVID.
  • Character Parenthetical: Parentheses write next to the character’s name, it tells the reader that the character doing something besides the talking to another person on screen. Special instructions for character which is unseen to the speaker, for example – off screen dialogue (O.S): character’s voice which you can hear from OFF SCREEN for example – from another room or from outside the house. Voice over (V.O): when you can hear his voice but you can’t see him in the scene:
  • For example: David in the scene (on phone), Rachel is off screen (V.O) “David where are you”.
  • Dialogue: Character’s dialogue need to write below the Character’s name.
  • Transition: This part comes in end of the scene write down a little right hand side of the page. It tells the reader how to change from one scene to the next by writing “CUT TO”.

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