12 Screenwriting Tips
For Scriptwriters

Read more Screenwriting

12 Screenwriting Tips for Scriptwriters

Another page about what "You should or should not do"? No, just a quick recap on what we learned so far from our community and our experience writing for TwelvePoint. We hope you will enjoy it. Let us know your opinion, we want to hear what you think.

  1. Read many scripts: Many beginners just skip this part and go directly to writing. Take a moment to read other scripts and make it a habit. You will quickly learn how to reduce the length of a scene, avoid redundant dialogues, and much more. Remember that most of the scripts you find online are "Shooting Scripts" not "Speculative Scripts" that is the one you should be writing. So many additional information such as camera directions needs to be discarded and not considered. Consider also reducing the amount of transitions (e.g. CUT OFF). If the scenario goes into production, the editors will insert it.
  2. Study the basics and then forget: Considering ten writers, everyone will give you the perfect technique to build a screenplay. Learn the basics but do not let them constrain you. Create your style. It will eventually make you more visible to the audience.
  3. Step-by-step: Michelangelo used to say: "I saw the angel in the marble and carved it until I released it". Have a general idea of the story and then build it step by step, paragraph after paragraph. Start with a list of bullets, add details, and remove redundancies. Soon you will see that the story you had in your mind resembles your scenario.
  4. Write what you like: Forget those who say: "Write what you know" and write what intrigues you. If you are not an expert on a specific field or topic, learn more. The passion for what you write and the perseverance will be important factors during the writing process.
  5. Stop explaining: This is "unfortunately" an extremely recurring mistake that occurs also on large budget movies. Avoid recapping plots or pieces of information already presented to the audience, particularly avoid them in dialogues. You do not have to explain everything. Leave the audience free of interpreting the flow of the story. Letting the audience infer the story is key to an interesting and possibly successful plot.
  6. Reveal through conflicts: The best way to present a character is to create a conflict and show the reaction and the going to action.
  7. Enrich through conflicts: Increase the complexity of your characters by adding contradictions to them.
  8. Use tags: Assign a tag to each main point of the plot so that when you cut or extend the script, you do not lose focus on the flow of the story.
  9. Reveal gradually: Each scene is an opportunity to move the plot forward and present additional information to the audience. Do not consider a scene only as a direct conflict to be resolved.
  10. More than one version: Tag the main events or paragraphs in your scenario and create different versions. Texts don't have to be perfect on the first draft. As the script grows in length, you will understand which version fits the best.
  11. Directing with words (emphasize, use silence): Speculative scripts do not need to contain camera shots like in shooting scripts (medium shot, close-up shot, etc.), but you might drive the way a shooting script is generated using specific adjustments in your script. After you finished your first draft of the scenario, read again and try using caps lock, and bold text to emphasize, and show the relevance of a word or a sentence. This could be later understood as a "Close-up shot". But don't abuse it, too many capital words could be very distracting when reading a script. Silence is a major component in a scene to create tension and anticipation. One way to create this, in a speculative script, is to add dots (...).
  12. Start at the end: Prepare the summary of what a scene should convey to the audience and then set the start as close to the end of the scene as possible.

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