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Write for the Page, Not for the Direction

By Cameron Cubbison · February 26, 2015

Please know the ideation for this Script Tip stemmed from a Tarantino interview. How original, right? But, it's actually damn good advice. 

As worldbuilders, we become enamored with the bells and whistles of the finished product of screenplays: the flow, the music, the acting, but most of all, the direction. Writing with direction in your head can be fatal to your screenplay. The more you write, the more you will find there are some tricks you can incorporate in your screenplay that give it a nice shine. For beginning (and mid-level) spec writers, though, stick to the basics and simply write for the page at hand. Build a written story first, then build a film. 

Your first draft's action lines should be written economically. Remember, it's a script that (to a producer) will be altered in some fashion. Allow the story and the characters to be what shine through and create engagement and curiosity. That, paired with clean formatting, is a great place to start with you spec screenplay.