Archive for April 18th, 2011

April 18, 2011

Ten Tips to Get You Writing

This list of ten tips for screenwriters from FilmScriptWriting.com is a useful resource for avoiding writer’s block and inspiring creativity. The list is hardly perfect — I wouldn’t take these tips as gospel — but it’s a good starting point for getting those typing-fingers working:

1. Read more scripts.

That’s what the sample script section of the site is for. We’ve also got a link to a site that is chock full of scripts in the use resources section.

There are many advantages to reading scripts. First is it allows you to become very knowledgeable when it comes to formatting. When you read an original draft of a screenplay that you’ve already seen then you get to see what was changed from the initial script. You will also get a better idea how to layout and transition between scenes.

Read a couple of scripts over the weekend and write down everything you’ve learned. Keep it blue tacked to the wall behind your monitor to remind you until it is ingrained in your brain.

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April 18, 2011

Quote of the Day: Henry Brooks Adams

No one means all he says, and yet very few say all they mean, for words are slippery and thought is viscous. 

April 18, 2011

Keeping Your Script Focused with a Dramatic Question

This article from Candace Kearns Read gives some insight into structuring your story around a dramatic question and a central idea in order to help your story stay focused and meaningful:

When writing for the screen, it’s often difficult to decide which situations and scenes to put into the story and which to leave out. This is when the work of dramatizing must be done, through raising a dramatic question and clarifying a central idea.

Never actually stated in the actual script, this is a question which the writer raises in the audience’s minds. Sometimes this question is what makes the audience wonder, “Will she get her man?” or “Will he destroy the bad guy?” These types of situations are usually found in genre films such as action and comedies. Character-driven stories and those based on true stories are often less obvious.

The Dramatic Question Can be Subtle

In autobiographical stories, the dramatic question is usually more subtle. Often it is something more like, “How will he overcome those obstacles to happiness?” (My Left Foot) or “How will everything turn out?” (Hope and Glory.) Once there is a a sense of what the dramatic question is, the writer can then keep everything relevant. This means that the writer asks how connected to the dramatic question each scene is. Anything that does not directly speak to it gets tossed into the scraps folder.

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