Saturday, January 15, 2011

I've got a GREAT movie idea - but don't know HOW TO START!


Every writers journey starts with the FIRST STEP and then concludes through persistence. No movie hero or heroine wins their goal by STOPPING. You won't either.... so START writing - but START SMART.

We see all around us, every day, the end result of screenwriters work - on TV, at the movie theater and when we rent a DVD. But very few people have actually READ a screenplay. And frankly that is where every aspiring screenwriter should begin; by reading.

The best way to go about this is to visit a website like my page or and download the scripts for a couple of mainstream movies. Then read them from cover to cover.

Now go to your local video store and rent the DVD of the scripts you just finished reading. With script in hand, put the disc in to play and STUDY the first 10-15 minutes of the film. Actively compare it to the script. Pay particular attention to the OPENING IMAGE that sets the story in motion or signals ground zero for the storyline.

Next, pay close attention to the way the script moves the action from scene to scene. NOTICE the slug lines on the page(INT: APARTMENT - DAY) and the ‘brief’ descriptive text that follows it. In the movie,that's called an Establishing Shot - and simply shows you the house, business or place the hero will enter; so that we the viewer/reader have a strong sense of place.

Give your full attention to the DIALOGUE as it’s delivered by the actors - AND as it’s written on the page. What surprised you about the nuance the actor brought to the lines? What was delivered exactly as you heard it 'in your head' when your read the lines?

How much direction is in the text of the screenplay and how much seems to be the result of collaboration between actors and the director? And finally, pay attention to PACING - how quickly the film and script move the action along as they ‘set up’ the story and the main character’s QUEST.

The more screenplays you read - the more comfortable you will find yourself with the strict formatting structure involved, once you're ready to sit down and put you own great idea on paper.

Good luck with it; be persistent - and let me know when you’ve completed your script. I’d love to read your work!