Whether you’re a beginner or seasoned veteran, any screenwriting project is a daunting task. Before starting, there are key elements of a good screenplay that you should learn or get reacquainted with. Writing compelling dialogue and likeable characters does not come naturally. The devil is in the details of this massive endeavor. With some planning, a few tips and the right tools, you can create the next Oscar winner.
Make a plan
Gather all your research and outline your entire screenplay to help you stay on track. But keep in mind that you aren’t locked into any plans you make. There will always be room for changes to be made. The purpose of a screenplay outline is to establish plot points and character story arcs. You need to know where your story is going at all times in order to maintain your narrative vision.
During the planning process, develop a clear line of actions for your protagonist to take throughout the story. These events will decide when to trigger your second and third acts. Also, determine your character personalities and significant details that would affect the story and their interactions.
Focus on characterization
When developing a character, establish their world view and what they would do in the situations presented to them. Emphasize their character quirks to show what makes them good, bad, or indifferent. Give your characters secrets and flaws to create a more believable persona. Present the conflicts between characters and place them in situations that force them to take action.
Visualize your characters
As you watch relevant movies for inspiration, picture a specific actor playing each role in your screenplay. Have them play to the audience to get the reactions you’re looking for. Show, don’t tell by replacing exposition with actions. Characters talk to each other, not the audience. Therefore, the relationships between characters should determine how they speak to each other.
Keep the action moving forward
Use foreshadowing and call backs to build a breadcrumb trail for the viewer to follow. Use outsider characters like news reports or crowd chatter for exposition when necessary. You shouldn’t frame all your scenes solely around your protagonist or antagonist to prevent the story from getting repetitive and stale. Less is more, so keep it short by editing and removing redundant expository scenes. Your main focus should be on creating a killer intro and a great ending.
Screenwriting Outline Software
When screenwriting, staring at a blank page is inevitable. After many false starts, you’re ready to produce magic, but don’t let those first attempts go to waste. Our WriteWay Integrated Idea Board allows you to save those not-quite-ready ideas you have for later use. Simply drag and drop ideas when they feel right. Then the Editable Dynamic Outline system will make sure your story doesn’t go off the rails.
Making WriteWay Work for You
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