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

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2k views

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
votes
5answers
437 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
651 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
votes
3answers
573 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
3k 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
votes
2answers
612 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
1k 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 ...
6
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5answers
639 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 ...
6
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2answers
212 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
103 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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votes
5answers
882 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
759 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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3answers
217 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
835 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
232 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
votes
1answer
6k 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
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1answer
160 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 ...
5
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1answer
4k 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
230 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
1k 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
votes
6answers
278 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
519 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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7answers
9k 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. ...
4
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1answer
111 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 ...
4
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2answers
171 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 ...
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votes
3answers
3k views

Hand gestures of “Come on” and other short words

While writing stories how I describe the action of hand gestures that many use instead of saying "Come on". Is there any reference? I found list of hand gestures in wikipedia but it doesn't say how ...
3
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2answers
361 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.
3
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3answers
160 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, ...
3
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2answers
102 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
1k 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) ...
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3answers
43 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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2answers
204 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
votes
3answers
4k 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 ...
3
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3answers
69 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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1answer
50 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
100 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
496 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 ...
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6answers
342 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
170 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
169 views

Is it a bad idea to linger too long on a first draft?

I'm currently working on the first draft of a screenplay, and it's not very good right now. It's little things; some parts go too quickly or slowly, other dialogue exchanges need improvement, and ...
2
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3answers
3k 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 ...
2
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2answers
181 views

Video game gameplay script

How can one describe a moment of gameplay inside a script for a video game? Writing down Cut-scenes is like writing down scenes of a movie or a tv show. How can one write the moments in a script in ...
2
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1answer
100 views

Can one feasibly sell an adult-content screenplay?

So I may have a few fairly high-quality very-adult screenplays lying around and I was just wondering if there was any hope of my profitting off them in some way? Does anyone have any experience with ...
2
votes
1answer
89 views

How do you mention the same character with two very different descriptions?

In a screenplay, if you have a single character whose appearance and significance changes at some point - how do you note/explain that it's the same character? For example, I might have a MASKED ...
2
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1answer
59 views

Rapid Cross-Scene Cuts in Screenplay/Script

In a screenplay I'm writing, I want to use a rapid cut-together sequence of reaction shots from characters in several different locations already established earlier in the script. Is it still ...
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3answers
80 views

Is there a canonical sample screen play for reference as a speculative script?

If one looks around there are many screenplay samples online. Almost all of them seem to me to break at least one or two of the "rules" that it is suggested be followed when writing a script to be ...
2
votes
1answer
249 views

Criteria for a good screenplay [closed]

I read a few screenplays and i am a bit confused how the quality of a screenplay is judged by the Osacar panel. It is not as obvious to judge the quality of a screenplay as opposed to the quality of ...
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2answers
40 views

What are some common pitfalls when adapting a novel (thematic autobiographic in this case) to a screenplay?

I am working on an adaptation of a book into movie format, and I would like to know what experience and guidelines exist for this, so I can improve my way of doing this where possible.
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3answers
90 views

Screenwriting courses online - Worth the money or not?

I'm looking into taking a screenwriting course online, either from UCLA or NYU or NYFA... If anyone has taken any of these, please answer the following: Are these online course certificates ...
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3answers
54 views

Are some literary devices better suited to screenwriting than others?

I'm an aspiring screenwriter, but have never been much of a printwriter nor do I aim to be. I appreciate the value of literary devices in screenwriting but am not trained to identify them while ...