Screenplay storytelling, writing, formatting, and how to put it all together.

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What is the process for turning a story into a “movie” script?

This is probably a slightly vague sounding question, but I'm curious as to how "stories" go to the point of becoming a film production (at least to the point of becoming a script).
9
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5answers
468 views

How can I get started screenwriting/playwriting?

I have some experience writing stories, but would like to beginning screenwriting. Are there any online guides to show how to get started and transition into writing for the stage, where ideas need to ...
9
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2answers
849 views

What are the structural differences between scripts for comics and scripts for films?

Has anyone experienced the transition from writing plots/stories for comics to writing a script viable for films? If so, what are the main differences and challenges?
8
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3answers
857 views

I'm afraid of [accidental] plagiarism

I've recently written a screenplay about an alien invasion. A friend immediately commented that he found similarities (some general ideas, plot devices) with Half-Life 2: Ep 2, which I haven't even ...
8
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5answers
4k views

How difficult is it to break into screenwriting?

Is it difficult to get anyone to buy a screenplay you write? I am thinking about writing a screenplay but am concerned that maybe I shouldn't waste my time; I have no formal training in writing ...
8
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2answers
873 views

How does one go about successfully getting their movie script, or screen play, into the right hands?

How does one go about successfully getting their movie script, or screen play, into the hands of top level Hollywood producers? Does one need a literary agent? If so where does one find one that ...
7
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2answers
2k views

What does “OFF” mean in a script?

Could anybody, please, enlighten me as to what "off" means in the following excerpts taken from the script for the TV show "Breaking Bad"? (I've also come across the same use of "off" in other scripts)...
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5answers
244 views

How do screenwriters incorporate song scenes into a screenplay for a musical?

If the song is already written, sure, easy question. But say you're sitting down to write The Lion King before any composers have even been brought aboard, before pre-production has even been dreamt ...
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5answers
755 views

The Protagonist and the 'Mid Point' of a Screenplay

I'm currently working through the preparation process before I start to write my first feature length screenplay, helped in no small part by Syd Field's books. I've got the three act structure ...
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2answers
326 views

Shots in a spec script?

I'm writing a feature-length movie screenplay - well it's still at the story stage, so I haven't started to write the screenplay itself yet. I have been reading wordplayer and a few scripts to see the ...
6
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1answer
237 views

Good screenwriting-specific collaboration software

My brother and I want to work on a screenplay together and are looking for a true real-time collaboration software that is also secure. Plotbot shows edits by all parties in real-time, but you have ...
6
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1answer
150 views

Sluglines for same location but different periods, real and imagined

I'm writing a short film that has the vast majority scenes set in a pub, with the main male character about to approach a woman, and he imagines/projects some of the possibilities of this - it goes ...
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5answers
1k views

Do episodes of the show House follow a constant structural pattern?

I've seen a few episodes of House M.D., and I wonder, are the episodes written according to a fixed structural pattern? If so, what are the details, and why does such a structure make the show ...
5
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2answers
991 views

How do screenwriters earn money, if none of their scripts get turned into movies?

I just saw a documentary featuring interviews with a few Hollywood screenwriters. Many of them said they had been working as screenwriters for around a decade, yet had never had any of their scripts ...
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8answers
190 views

I'm unable to figure out the logical solution to a problem; how do I keep writing?

I'm outlining the plot for a scifi screenplay. I have the main characters, premise, the first half of the story, and the climax thought out. I don't want to bore you with details, but the story ...
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4answers
8k views

Should you specify camera action in a film script?

Some scripts I read specify the exact camera angle of every shot-- where the camera starts, what we see, how it will move during the scene. And some scripts are a little less specific. Is this only ...
5
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3answers
658 views

What's the meaning of the running numbers in left margin of a movie script online?

Currently, I am going through the script of The Battle of Algiers. On the left margin, there are numbers starting from 1 to 146. It is a 120 minutes long film. What are the significance of these ...
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2answers
48 views

How can I do research about the geographical scenarios of plot?

I am writing a semi-fantasy novel, which is set in medieval India and today's New York. I have never been to New York, and will not be there, for far period. How can I do research to embed the ...
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7answers
22k views

Differences between script and screenplay

There is usually a lot of confusion when it comes to these two terms. Some sources say that there is no (practical) difference between the two while other sources talk of various kinds of differences. ...
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2answers
1k views

How to write for cartoons?

How do the techniques for writing for animated cartoons differ from the techniques for other script-writing? Is there a guide for writing for cartoons? I suddenly find myself writing for a flash ...
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2answers
242 views

Do script readers start at the beginning?

Script readers-- the people who sift and sort the vast piles of scripts submitted to Hollywood -- do they start at the beginning? The reason I ask is that I know 99% of scripts are awful and just get ...
5
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1answer
8k views

Is there an accepted format for comedy sketch writing?

I have been doing Google searches for examples or teleplays to download that may offer insight for sketch comedy writing. Is there a specific format that those in the industry follow or is simply the ...
5
votes
3answers
130 views

How Do I Write a News Broadcast Montage in Different Locations in a Screenplay?

I want to write a sequence in my screenplay where the same news broadcast continues on different screens in different locations. For example, a bunch of people in a bar are watching the broadcast, ...
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2answers
6k views

How to handle screenplay revisions in Final Draft?

I need to revise a screenplay in Final Draft, and I'm finding that the revision features in the program are poor. Are there any ways to introduce revision features in to Final Draft, similar to Track ...
5
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3answers
287 views

Do screenwriters freewrite/outline directly in script mode?

I'm trying to make the transition into screenplays, but it feels odd to start developing characters and setting just by letting them talk. Is it normal for screenwriters to start writing directly in ...
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7answers
2k views

Short Story first or skip to Screenplay

I'm planning to shoot and direct my own short, small budget science fiction movie as a long term project to learn more about movie making. However, I'm at the very start where I need to write a draft ...
4
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6answers
304 views

How to tell a story with the least amount of writing?

I love to invent stories and come up with ideas, but I don't have the patience to fill out all the details that is usually a part of a novel. (For those of you familiar with Myers-Briggs or Jungian ...
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4answers
101 views

should I use predictable plot elements?

I see many similarities in films to the point where I can often guess what will happen next,even if the part was intended to be suspenseful. is that bad writing? should "plot twists" always be ...
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3answers
630 views

Can your current work of fiction be influenced by a sequel?

Most works of fiction are influenced by back stories. Can that also be true for envisioned sequels? I was working on a screenplay in which a female suit rises to the top of the company and is ...
4
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5answers
4k views

Why are some words in screenplays set in all caps?

I believe I understand this and I'm looking for confirmation. Examples: It has become a tugging match with the Weird Man shouting, "I'll take you to a taxi... I'll take you." Ahead, a group is ...
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3answers
210 views

What existing platforms use crowdsourcing to develop creative writing and editing?

What existing platforms use crowdsourcing to develop creative writing and editing? What are the barriers in developing an active community? Why would this not work? Has it been tried? Was it ...
4
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2answers
141 views

How applicable are screenwriting ideas to novels?

My current goal is to write a novel (I'm already close to the 35K word mark). However, most of the books I've read about story structure are actually about screenwriting. While stories are stories no ...
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2answers
645 views

How do you estimate the length of your screenplay in screentime?

The title says it all. I'm talking about a feature-length film here, although I'm sure the techniques are universal.
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3answers
243 views

Writing a short documentary about a medical clinic

I'm new to documentary writing and would like to write a script for a short film. The subject is a local free medical clinic for folks who don't have medical insurance. It's run by a local ER doctor, ...
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2answers
143 views

Should “plot” or storyline be the main determinant of what goes into a story?

In writing a screenplay, I created a bunch of scenes, with about twice as much material in total as I needed. So the job was to cut things down to size. In so doing, I found that a number of scenes (...
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2answers
3k views

In script writing, how to denote laughter in unison

I'm writing a TV spec script for fun, and was just wondering how I would denote laughter in unison from a bunch of sailors on a boat. Would it just be something like: SAILORS IN BOAT (in unison) ...
3
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2answers
95 views

A Background Voice Heard Over A Phone

There's a running dialogue between two of my characters. However, I am not using INTERCUT and only one of the two characters will be in frame. The other will be heard through V.O.. Now, here's my ...
3
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3answers
117 views

Which are the Best resource to learn comedy screenwriting?

Can anyone suggest me the best resource to learn comedy screenwriting for movies? I have read sydfield's screenwriting book and learnt a lot from it. But I know that comedy genre follows entirely ...
3
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4answers
112 views

Quantity of Writing Needed to Find Representation For a TV Serial

I have reached a point in writing a TV serial where I'm considering looking for an agent to represent me, but I'm not sure how much I should have to show in order to do so. Obviously in order to find ...
3
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2answers
303 views

Screenwriting: Help with paragraph length.

I have a descriptive paragraph, at the beginning of a scene: INT. VICTIM’S BASEMENT - NIGHT ------, a professional criminal, and serial killer, is hard at work in the basement of an ...
3
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4answers
95 views

How Much Descriptive Information Is Enough For a Locale In A Screenplay?

First out, my question pertains strictly to screenplays. Secondly, it deals with a spec script. Now, there seems to be surprisingly scant information on the internet in regard to how far you should go ...
3
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1answer
97 views

What's the difference between Cut and Cut to?

What's the difference between Cut and Cut to and where to put each one? I know both are put between scenes-sluglines but what is the difference between the usage of the two?
3
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1answer
165 views

1-Part vs 2-Part pilot scripts?

Is there a guideline for when it's a good idea to write a pilot as a two-part episode, as opposed to a single-part? Obviously certain stories call for two-part pilots more naturally (e.g. Lost yes, ...
2
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3answers
529 views

How to cover different perspectives/levels of thinking in one story?

I was reasoning with a friend about why movies/novels often get highly successful while others, despite having an interesting story/topic, don't get much attention. We came to speak about Matrix, Pulp ...
2
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6answers
402 views

Are there any free programs for screen writers

Screenwriting has a very strict format that Microsoft Word cannot fully match. Are there any good screenwriting word processors out there that are free?
2
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3answers
192 views

How to tell if my story is finished, or needs more?

Slightly obtuse title, let me elaborate. I'm writing my first screenplay, and I'm trying to keep it simple while making it simultaneously wonderful. It's just a rom-com. But as I write and modify ...
2
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3answers
361 views

Can you specify camera angles in your screenplay?

So I guess camera action is up to the director. Would I ever be allowed to pan if it is important? Would I not be able to pick certain angles? If I can, what would be the best way to specify --for ...
2
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7answers
113 views

A good idea but I do not know how to develop it [closed]

When you have a good idea for a book or screenplay, but you do not know how to develop this idea on paper, what do you do?
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3answers
627 views

In a screenplay, how do you show people talking over each other?

When writing a script where you have two (or more) people talking at the same time, how is that formatted? Side-by-side columns? Some other vertical grouping? Notes? Does it vary? Examples would be ...