How to write a screenplay

Screenwriting is a skilled trade, and a good script must be molded and managed with craftsman hands. It takes time and patience, but if you’re willing to do the work to see your idea become a script, follow these ten key steps:

(1) Watch Movies – lots of them. All genres. You must begin your quest to become a film nerd, because we all know, “Nerds Rule the World.”

(2) Read screenplays – as many as possible. This helps to understand form but also to see how the page translates to screen.

(3) Read some good “How To” books. Syd Field’s “Screenplay”, “Story” by Robert McKee, or Linda Seger’s “Making a Good Script Great” all make the grade.

(4) Explore online screenwriting resources such as The Script Lab (TSL) to help with all things screenwriting.

(5) Buy professional screenplay formatting software such as Final Draft or Movie Magic, or download a free alternative like Celtx.

(6) Develop an idea, either high concept or character driven. A story you can pitch in a sentence.

(7) Create characters: backstory, psychology, relationships.

(8) Outline your story with Three Act Structure.

(9) Write the screenplay – and do quick!

(10) Because… All Writing is Rewriting.

Are you ready to begin? Click here for a more detailed step by step.


×

Wait! We've got a secret.

 

Sign up for our newsletter and we'll send you TWO of our e-books, completely free:

220 Plot Point Breakdowns (new!)

AND

TSL's Encyclopedia of Screenwriting

 

×

Exclusive Special: Sign up for our newsletter to receive a coupon for 30% off the new Final Draft 10!  You won't find a deal better than this anywhere on the internet.