SCREENPLAY.today How to Write a Screenplay
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You’ve probably noticed that I haven’t had you write anything yet!

That’s because there is a metric shit-ton of stuff you need to know before you even think about writing anything.

And, we aren’t even close to done yet! Not by a long-shot. We’ve only just covered the basics. Just. You need to know your story-structure backwards and forwards before you even pick up the pen.

Other sites will tell you that you need to write constantly. That you need to just get out there and do it. But, of course, they aren’t actually teaching you anything, are they?

No, you should only start writing a screenplay after you know how to write a screenplay. Not before. They are that formulaic. If you start writing without knowing what needs to go where - you’re just going to have to throw it all out and start from scratch.

In fact, even when you know all this stuff, you still shouldn’t start writing. Probably 50 to 60% of the time spent writing a screenplay - should be spent just planning out the story-structure, creating the characters, sub-plots, etc…! The actual writing doesn’t come until all that other work is complete (or nearly complete). You don’t actually start writing a script until you’ve spent an ungodly amount of time on it.

And, I’m not talking about time spent researching your story (like learning Old English for a screenplay set in London in 1312 - or learning forensics for a police-procedural). I’m talking about time spent crafting the framework for your story.

If anyone else is telling you to just start writing - don’t listen to them, your script will be terrible.

Of course, that’s why you’re here. Because I’m the only one willing to tell you all the stuff you need to know. And, as an added bonus, I’m not forcing you to sign-up for anything or buy stuff. So, my advice is going to be a lot different than you’re used to hearing.

NEXT UP…  SCREENWRITING APPS…

What screen-writing software is the best? Are the free online screenwriting apps and programs actually worthwhile? Do I even need screenwriting software? What software should I use to write my script? Find out now!

BACK FORWARD Put Down Those Pens and Pencils!… “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you!” - Maya Angelou

YOU SHOULDN’T BE WRITING YET!

There’s still far more that I have to teach you first! I’m sure you think you have a great idea, but it needs to be put into the correct format or structure. If you don’t know what that structure is...

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The stuff you’re used to hearing - never gets anyone anywhere. It’s just empty platitudes designed to get you to buy a book or something.

Well, I’m not selling a book - I’m here to help you create better screenplays! Better films. Better stories.

So, put down those pens. It’s going to be a while before you know enough to actually start writing your screenplay.

That’s probably not what you wanted to hear, but top-quality screenplays take time. Lots of time. And effort. Think about it for a second. In what other industry can you literally turn an idea in your head - into millions (or billions) of dollars - without any investment on your part!? All you need is a computer and free software and it’s possible for you to walk away with ten lifetimes worth of cash.

So, obviously, there’s a lot of competition. There are writers out there who spend years researching their story-topics. Writers who spend years (or decades) honing their scripts. Writers who eat, sleep and breathe their scripts.

You’d have to be delusional to think that you could beat all of them by just sitting down and writing the first thing that comes into your head.

Nope, if you want to beat them, you’re going to have to put in the work and create a highly-crafted piece of art. Commercial art. Popular art.

That means knowing your characters backwards and forwards. Your world backwards and forwards. The way people talk in that world. The history of that world.

If your main-character is an airplane-mechanic, you’re going to need to know at least a little bit about mechanics, airport security, hangars, airline procedures, etc... If you, the writer, don’t know at least a passing-amount about a subject so close to the heart of your story, your story won’t ring true. It will feel fake.

So, before you write the first scene, you need to know all that stuff. You need to know what life’s like for an airplane-mechanic. You need to have done your research. Thorough research. In many different areas.

Whatever your story’s about - you need to know that subject, to almost an expert-level. Before you start writing anything at all.

But, don’t worry, we’ll get you set-up for success. Once you’ve read one more page here about what screenwriting software you should download and use, you’ll be ready to move on to our more in-depth section about structuring your screenplay.

Once you’ve read all those pages, and got your screen-writing software raring to go, you can jump over to our Screenwriting & Story-Structure Cheat Sheet which gives you step-by-step instructions for actually writing your screenplay, where to place all your plot-points, how long your acts should be, etc

But don’t jump ahead yet! There’s still a lot to learn first!...

Screenwriting 101:

PROPER SCREENPLAY FORMAT

SCREENWRITING SOFTWARE

SCREENPLAY TEMPLATE

SAMPLE SCREENPLAY PAGES

BEGINNER SCREENWRITERS

FILM SCHOOLS

SCREENWRITING DEGREES

SCREENPLAY STORY STRUCTURE

HOW LONG SHOULD EACH ACT BE?

THREE ACT STRUCTURE

START WRITING NOW

STORY-STRUCTURE TEMPLATE

THE FIRST TURNING POINT

THE SECOND TURNING POINT

PROTAGONIST’S CHARACTER-ARC

GET COVERAGE


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