In screenwriting the screenplay is a unique yet very precise form, which uses a simple framework, but to erect it well is quite difficult. The screenwriter doesn’t have the luxury to write without limits. Readers are always looking for any excuse not to read your script, so never give the reader a reason to toss your script in the recycling pile because you haven’t written it in proper form. The screenwriter’s job is to tell an engaging story that keeps the reader turning pages.
Not only do you attack each scene as late as is
possible, you attack the entire story the same way.
- William Goldman, Adventures in the Screen Trade
Goldman is absolutely right. Start late. Get out early. Every scene. Every sequence. Waste no time. Use the least amount of words possible while still applying the Three C’s: Clear, Concise, and Creative. Make sure every word you write is necessary. Look to maximize white space and avoid common pitfalls such as ‘I’ pages, block pages, and writing camera instructions – this is screenwriting!
Of course, the writer needs an original voice to tell a memorable story with interesting characters in a believable plot, but if it’s not in the right form, it might as well be written in Sanskrit. Simply put, if you’re going to do it, do it right.