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Before you can even think of writing your first screenplay, you’ll need an idea.  And, not just any idea, you’ll need a great idea!  A phenomenal idea.

It costs tens of thousands of dollars - minimum - and man-years worth of time to shoot a movie. So, if you are writing a screenplay, it’s gotta be good enough for people to spend all that time and money on!  Not just the audience, but investors, crew, cast, etc…

AN IDEA.

It all starts with an idea.  Read through this entire website and we’ll show you how to turn any idea into a full-fledged Hollywood quality screenplay - and we’ll do it all for FREE!

NEXT UP…  STUDIO FORMAT!

Before you start writing, you need to know what format to write in. Screenplays are expected to be in a very strict format. I’m talking so-strict that you need a specific font, in a certain size, with a certain pitch!

BACK “The best way to have a good idea - is to have lots of ideas!” - Linus Pauling 01

If you want Hollywood to get excited about your screenplay, the basic idea of the film has to be simple.  As in Snakes On A Plane simple.  

Snakes On A Plane is the perfect Hollywood movie.  Hollywood studios would love it if every movie they released was so simple that it could be succinctly described by only four simple words!  They have wet-dreams at night just thinking about it.  

All you have to do is speak four words, and your friend knows exactly what the movie’s going to be about.  They know it will have action and excitement, thrills, chills, spills.  They know the genre (there’s no way in hell it’s going to be anything but an action-disaster-suspense-thriller). They know it’s going to be cheesy as hell.  Et cetera.  All from four little words. Perfect for word of mouth, the only guaranteed means of success in Hollywood.

Your first turning-point is when your protagonist finds out about the incoming rock.  Your second turning-point is when Earth’s Last Hope has failed to completely destroy the asteroid, and now they’re faced with a whole bunch of smaller (but equally devastating) chunks of rock.

Is your idea about an invincible man?  Well, your first turning-point is when he finds out he’s invincible - and your second turning-point is when he becomes mortal again, but still has to go out and fight a much stronger bad guy.

Is your brilliant script idea about a woman who gets kidnapped by a serial killer?  Well, your first turning-point is when she gets kidnapped, and your second turning point is when she escapes the hole and flees into the woods - with the killer in hot pursuit.

So, you have your brilliant movie or script idea - what now?…

Well, first of all, we’re going to have to put your idea into the proper format:  the three act structure.

What’s your idea about?  Screenplays typically involve a story such as: [the protagonist] has to [do something]!

And, he has to do this thing, solve this puzzle, complete this quest - all while overcoming his internal conflict (but we’ll save that part for a lot later).

Is your idea about an asteroid on a collision-course with Earth?  Well, your story isn’t about the asteroid, it’s actually about the guy (or girl, or robot, or group of people, or aliens) who saves Earth from a killer piece of space dirt, not the asteroid itself.

In fact, the entire script is extremely strong.  Despite all the negativity the film seems to attract like a magnet, it’s exceedingly well-crafted.  For instance, just watch how each of the drillers is introduced and their stories told.  The writer only gets maybe an eighth of a page, maybe a bit more, to introduce each character and give the audience a little taste about their character - and they pull it off beautifully!  Ten seconds of screen-time is all the director needs to show the audience not just a bit about each character, but to give them a well-drawn portrait. And each scene is usually funny to boot!  And, remember, 20 years later now and Armageddon still isn’t respected. Audiences think it’s trash. Film-critics alike.

So…  If Armageddon is trash, what does that mean for you and your screenplay?

It means that your script will have to be better! Better than Armageddon. At least, if you want to win the big awards. The golden statuettes.

Don’t worry - I can help you do it!

Well, I can show you the correct story-structure and give you all the tools to do it anyway. I won’t tell you what stories to write, I’ll only show you how to make the most out of those stories. The story-idea has to come from you. And, it has to be engaging. It has to be brilliant. It has to be funny. And heart-warming. And unforgettable. With highs - and lows. And ups. And downs. And, most importantly, a heart. It’s gotta have a heart.

I can show you what-all needs to be in your screenplay - it’ll be up to you to create the memorable characters, the unforgettable scenes, the heartbreaking conclusion, the quotable dialogue, and all that other fine stuff. You can do it - I believe in you!

Keep reading, and once we’ve covered the basics, we’ll get into the real nitty-gritty.  For instance, I have at least 10 pages planned - for each of the three acts! And, that’s just in the SCREENWRITING section! We’ll be analyzing a lot more movies, old and new, just like we did for Armageddon above. Only a lot more thoroughly. And we’ll be giving you all the best screenwriting tips & tricks. Etc… Everything you need to know to write a winning screenplay.

So, it all comes down to this… Before you can even think about writing your script, you’ll need an idea - a great idea. And, if you want it to sell to Hollywood executives, you’ve gotta be able to condense it into a few words! Snakes on a Plane. Something people can describe to their friends in one sentence or less:

Let’s just analyze an idea for a second.  The Fugitive (starring Harrison Ford) was on tv last night, so why don’t we start there.  How would you describe The Fugitive?

It’s about a doctor, falsely-accused of his wife’s murder, who escapes custody and goes on the run to try and bring the real killer to justice.

Sounds like a simple idea, right?…  Well, let’s just look a little closer.  An absolute ton of story information is in that very short synopsis:  It’s about a doctor (introducing the main character), falsely-accused (inciting incident), who escapes custody (1st turning point) and goes on the run (2nd Act) to try and bring the real killer (the antagonist) to justice (the quest which culminates in the final battle and the climax).

Every beat of the story is contained in that synopsis (except the 2nd turning point). You know everything that’s going to happen, just from one little sentence. You don’t know how it’s going to happen, but you know that it is going to happen. And, that is what Hollywood wants. They want you to be able to go to your friend, say 10 words, and convey absolutely everything about a film to them.

Snakes on a motherf*%ing plane.


tl;dr

  1. You need an idea.
  2. An idea about a protagonist.
  3. Who goes on a quest of some sort.
  4. The protagonist should have a character flaw.
  5. That character flaw should prevent the protagonist from succeeding in his quest.
  6. It’s only when the protagonist fixes that character flaw that he can finally beat the antagonist once and for all and succeed in his quest.
  7. Your first turning point is when your protagonist finds out what his quest is (the stakes get a lot higher and the setting changes).
  8. Your second turning point is when your protagonist finds out that the quest is a lot harder than he thought it was (the stakes get immeasurably higher and the setting changes yet again).

So, let’s put that all together… Off the top of your head, come up with an idea. Let’s say it’s about a guy who has to save the Earth from a giant rubber duck. That means that our protagonist is the guy. Our antagonist is the rubber duck (or the insane soldier who hates our guy and tries to stop him - a la Armageddon). The first scene in the movie is the rubber duck destroying part of some city somewhere (inciting incident). The 1st turning point is when our main-character, the guy, finds out about the duck and realizes that he’s the only one who can help. The 2nd turning point is when he figures out how to kill the duck - only to have a thousand more giant rubber ducks appear (false-victory), causing a thousand times more chaos. And, it’s not until the main-character overcomes his crippling fear of rubber ducks (due to a childhood near-drowning experience in a bathtub filled with rubber ducks - his character arc) that he’s finally able to confront the King of the Rubber Ducks (antagonist) and defeat him in the final battle, leading to Earth’s victory (climax). The people of the world stand up and cheer our guy as he walks back to the love interest and kisses her. The End.

Once you learn this, you can turn even the simplest idea into a fully-fledged Hollywood movie - in seconds. Like I just did above. But, you’ll have to read every page on this site first!

FORWARD Turning an idea into a screenplay!

Some of you movie-buffs just said: ‘Wait!  Armageddon tells you about the asteroid right away, in the first scene!’

You are right, Armageddon is slightly different. As I mentioned, the story isn’t about the asteroid, it’s about the characters. And, in Armageddon, that’s Ben Affleck’s character. Or, if you like, the entire drilling crew.

When the main characters find out about the incoming disasteroid - that’s the first turning point. Usually, that’s when the audience finds out, but not here, the audience finds out early (in the inciting incident). You’ll notice the first turning point, because first turning-points almost always come with a change of scenery and a massive increase in stakes (for the protagonist).  

In Armageddon, the first turning point is when the drillers find out about the danger and head off to NASA. They go from being drillers on a drill-rig - to being Earth’s only hope at NASA. It’s a really-strong turning-point. The second turning-point is when they crash-land on the asteroid, one shuttle is apparently lost, and the drill-rig breaks down, ending Earth’s last hope. All is lost - but, don’t worry, Ben Affleck will appear out of nowhere to save the day in no time flat!  Notice that a setting-change also happens at around this time (first act on Earth, second act at NASA and in space, third act on the asteroid).

PROTAGONIST ANTAGONIST THE 1st ACT A QUEST LOVE-INTEREST THE CLIMAX The First Turning-Point - The last scene of your first act, when your protagonist chooses his quest The Second Turning-Point - the last scene of the second act The Climax - the conclusion of your story-line, the ending Related Articles: How to Write a Screenplay: Welcome to SCREENPLAY.today - We'll teach you how to write your very own Hollywood-style script or screenplay - for free! SCREENPLAY.today Online Screenwriting Course - Learn How To Write a Top-Quality Script for a Film or Movie - FREE!