Introduction to Screenwriting

So you want to write a screenplay but you have no idea where to begin? Here are a few tips to get you started:

1) Read sample scripts. Script Frenzy has format samples online. Entire scripts can be found at Drew’s Script-O-Rama.

2) Start a swipe file. Carry a notebook to keep track of ideas. Read the news. Eavesdrop on conversations. Write them all down.

3) Write a logline for your favorite idea. A logline is a one-sentence description of a movie; visit for examples. For instance, IMDB’s logline for Titanic is, “A boy and a girl from differing social backgrounds meet during the ill-fated maiden voyage of the RMS Titanic.”

4) Write any story ideas out into paragraph form. This may need to be adjusted later to fit the three-act structure. (More on this in a future blog post.)

5) If you do not have screenwriting software, it can be done using Microsoft Word. Celtx is free scriptwriting software; easy to download, easy to use. 

6) Now that you have your idea, logline, synopsis, and software, you are ready to write.

Still feeling a little lost? Tune in to our next post on December 3 for the next step.

9 comments for “Introduction to Screenwriting

  1. November 19, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    Awesomeness. I feel a screenplay coming on. Maybe I’ll dusty off that old start to “Sugarland,” the WIP started during last April that got run over by Not Bob’s Platform Challenge. Not complaining in the least.

  2. Amy
    November 21, 2012 at 12:18 am

    The more I think of it, the more I think my NaNoWriMo project would be better as a screenplay. Hmmm. Now ya got me thinking, Linda.

    • November 23, 2012 at 12:37 am

      I have some of those projects, too. You could try writing out the first 10 pages or so and see how it goes!

      • Amy
        November 25, 2012 at 4:35 pm

        Since my NaNoWriMo project has been derailed, I think I will turn it into a screenplay.

  3. Becca
    November 21, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    I think I might have to join the fun, too. Script Frenzy seems like a good time to get started… 😉

    • November 23, 2012 at 12:39 am

      I think Script Frenzy is easier since the page limit is shorter. Can’t wait to hear if you decide to join! 🙂

  4. November 22, 2012 at 4:44 am

    Linda, thanks for this post. You got me thinking. While I was NaNo-writing my first novel, I often had the idea that some scenes and conversations would be much better on screen/stage because I could “visualise” the characters’ mimics, looks and smiles while writing. I had ideas of some particular gesticulation they were making, so I felt I had to get it on screen for better comprehension.
    So, now you got me thinking, and I will think of it. Some stories are much better when you watch them, after all.
    Best, M. 🙂

    • November 23, 2012 at 12:41 am

      That’s true. I also think it’s just a helpful exercise to write novels out as short stories or in script format and vice versa.
      Thanks for reading! 🙂

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