Screen/Film Writing: Handy Hints

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Sat Sep 09, 2006 1:08 pm

As always, these are not intended to be prescriptive, but simply food for thought:

* Make sure your script is typed out neatly and uses the standard film format layout. See: ... film.shtml
This will help to ensure that your work looks professional when it lands on the script editor's desk.

* There is no need to give elaborate scene details. For example, INT. DAY. HOTEL KITCHEN will normally suffice. If your film is made, the camera will do the work for you. Similarly, it is not necessary to provide detailed camera angles; these would be determinded later by the cinematographer and the director.

* Be aware of the cost of filming your script. It is much easier to get a low budget film made than a high budget film. Do you need all those exotic locations? Does that helicopter have to be seen to explode?

* It is often better to work out the story that your film will tell before you start to work on the dialogue. In Hollywood it is quite common for the story and the script to be written by completely different people.

* If a scene does not move the story forward then take it out.

* Familiarise yourself with the various film genres e.g. comedy, action, horror, sci-fi, romantic comedy, bio-pic, thriller etc. You can learn a lot by studying the conventions involved. However, always try to bring something new/fresh to your work.

* Don't get your characters to say what the camera can show better. For example, a lady removing her wedding ring and throwing it in a river is likely to be a more powerful way of showing that her marriage is over than if she tells her friend about it. Think visual!

* Many films involve conflict and confusion. If you haven't got any in your script then it's likely to be rather dull.

* Tackle the modern world outside your window - not some vague, dated world from old films. (Unless of course your film is deliberately set in the past.)

* Don't get too excited! Getting a film made is extremely difficult. They represent a huge investment in time and money and therefore producers will be looking for something pretty special script-wise.

Good luck and enjoy the journey.

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Sat Oct 30, 2010 10:10 pm

Your Writer's Room link needs updating as it returns an ERROR 404 Page not found.
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Sun Oct 31, 2010 8:14 am

Thanks. Have changed it to another link.
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