It takes a lot of people to create a film. Actors are needed to play the roles. Directors are needed to get the shots done. Cameramen are needed to work the cameras. Producers are needed to fund the film. Many people are forgotten throughout the process, one of them the screenplay writer.
The screenplay is the written material on which a film is based. It serves as a guide for all the people involved in the film. It contains not only the script but also the story progression, scene treatment, directions, and more. Here are some tips to help you get started on your next Hollywood hit.
Know what you’re getting yourself into
Writing a screenplay is no joke. When writing a screenplay, you need the skills of both a creative writer and a technical writer. Screenplays are done in a very specific format. If you want to become a screenplay writer, you have to be a good businessperson. You have to be able to know your story well enough to have a very good idea how to sell it to other people so that they’ll want to find out the story as well. Read screenplays, watch movies, read guides, take classes. Do whatever you can to improve both your writing skills and your film knowledge.
Focus on one thing
Filmmaking is a business, and oftentimes, you have to establish yourself somewhere first. Instead of trying to take on multiple projects in multiple genres, focus on a single genre. Build your expertise as a screenplay writer in one genre, and keep on submitting works. If at one point your screenplay gets picked, it’s highly likely that screenplays you’ve made previously will get picked as well. To choose your genre, take a moment and think about the genres of your favorite films and books. If you have prior writing experience, consider the genres you used to write for. You can start with writing for the particular genre you already know. Once you feel like you’ve exhausted your ideas and managed to sell a few screenplays in a certain genre, it’s time you consider focusing on another genre.
Watch your favorite films over and over. Read your favorite books over and over. It’s okay for your first piece to look like a mishmash of a lot of things. It will often seem like that. Eventually, you will be able to develop a particular writing style that will show itself in your screenplays.
Seek out people who work in the industry and ask for feedback from them. These are people who have experience in the business and can tell you whether you are going in the right direction. Conversely, these are the same people who can tell you what you’re doing wrong. As early as now, get used to hearing criticisms. Once your film ideas come to life, you will hear even worse from your audience.
The first step to anything is trying. If you feel that you have a brilliant idea for a Cannes-worthy film, write it down. However, don’t force yourself into following a format just yet. You can begin with just a great story; then work out the kinks from there. Prepare a great pitch from your story. Don’t expect to get picked on your first try, and write until someone does pick your work. If worse comes to worst, collaborate. Look for people whom you can share your story with and who have the same vision as you.
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