Screenwriting 101 - This Is How The Best Writers Write

By Jamuura Staff. Posted on October 06, 2014

Alfred Hitchcock said a film is made three times: when you write it, when you shoot it and when you edit it. While getting a concept or coming up with a story idea is easy, putting it down on paper in the form of screenplay is a challenging task. The script is a document that outlines every aural, visual and behavioral element required to tell a story and is a very tedious process. One must learn to write a screenplay VISUALLY because the audience will in turn SEE and HEAR the various scenes.

The script seems to be an extremely mundane piece of writing until its technicalities are observed. The standard model for writing a script internationally is to divide it into 3 essential part or ‘Acts’,

Act I- Setup

Act II- Conflict

Act III- Resolution

However not everyone follows this three act structure. Indian films, due to the peculiar nature of exhibition that includes an interval, typically subvert this structure. The interval results in both halves of the film having three acts each.

The basic idea of a script is to grab the attention of the audience and present a story that speaks for itself. This video gives a good idea of the basic elements that should be kept in mind while writing a script.

Writing for the big screen is always difficult. You've got to be persistent. You don’t have to agree with everything the directors and producers say about your work. But it is important to keep their criticism and advice at the back of your mind.

Given the importance of screenwriting in the whole process of filmmaking, we've collated some of the best advice by legendary directors and screenwriters below for you. So watch these and then grab your pen and paper (or your laptop) and start writing the screenplay you've long promised yourselves. No excuses this time!

Quentin Tarantino

Darren Aronofsky

Brian Helgeland (L.A. Confidential, Mystic River)

Paul Haggis (Million Dollar Baby, Crash)

Aaron Sorkin (Social Network)

Another great way of learning to write scripts is to read scripts of classics and award winning films. Follow this great blog by Scott Myers for some of the best screenplays ever. Another great site to follow for screenwriting advice is by John August who's written films like Charlie's Angels, Big Fish and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. 

Stay tuned as we post more insight on the technical aspects of scriptwriting and about various script writers.


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