What is a Screenplay?
Let’s first start by defining what a screenplay is NOT. It is not a play, and it certainly is not a novel. Unlike the novelist, who has complete freedom to explore any point of view, shift between conscious and subconscious mind, explore a character or a story from multiple perspectives, etc., the screenwriter MUST write in present tense and only what the audience can SEE and HEAR.
A screenplay is VISUAL. The playwriter, on the other hand, doesn’t have to worry about the visual medium. Often the play is simply a handful of characters - or even only one - standing there on a barren stage. Dialogue, Music, Lighting are all part of the stage. High speed car chases, however, belong in the movies.
So if you’ve written a “Filmed Play”, look for ways to make it visual. Turn it into a movie.
There are many parts to building a screenplay. It's a mistake to think you just sit down and write one. A screenplay, like an automobile, has many components, and they must be arranged and fastened in the right places. There are thousands of parts to a car, as is the case with the construction of a screenplay. However, all of those thousands come from these ten major building blocks. Take care of these ten screenplay essentials, and you will - without a doubt - end up with a better script.
On one hand, the term action is used to describe the main story of a script - meaning a sequence of events leading to a definite outcome. On the other, it means an exertion of energy, an effort to achieve some objective, involving the character’s thought, emotion, and will. In other words, action implies a purposeful pursuit of an objective.
You don’t want to explain to the audience, because that makes them observers. You want to reveal to them little by little and that makes them participants because then they experience the story in the same way the characters experience it. - Bill Wittliff
In a movie, the camera dramatizes the process of viewing the action and bring it on screen, allowing our eyes to see only what and how the “camera narrator” shows it to us.
The modern decathlon is a set of ten athletic disciplines, testing an individual's strength, speed, stamina, technique, and endurance. Now when it comes to screenwriting, we certainly aren't sprinting, jumping, or throwing our way to the podium, but it does take the same five skill sets to secure success.
Strength has everything to do with mind over matter. And for the screenwriter, it is no different. Mental muscle is key – because screenwriting is a thinking profession that just happens to use a very specific form of writing to illustrate those great thoughts.
Screenwriting is a skilled trade, and a good screenplay must be molded and managed with craftsman hands. But so does a screenwriting career. It takes dedication, fortitude, and time – ten years to have overnight success - but if you’re willing to do the hard work to turn your ideas into completed screenplays as well as build a screenwriting career, follow this 20 step roadmap to screenwriting success: Click Here to Start
Screenwriting is a skilled trade, and a good screenplay must be molded and managed with craftsman hands. But the hard truth is that good screenwriting is a “nose to the grindstone” occupation. And if you want to be a serious screenwriter, you must make the commitment. Be disciplined, get organized, prioritize, and above all else, write. So if you’re willing to do the work to turn your idea into a competed screenplay, follow these ten key steps:
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