Questions tagged [screenwriting]

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

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44
votes
8answers
8k views

Why write a book when there's a movie in my head?

Around a decade ago, I had a dream. An actual middle of the night dream. An entire movie played in my head, all I had to do was write it down. I did a fair bit of research on the topic then I spent ...
28
votes
11answers
15k views

Is it wrong if I kill off a black character?

He is one of two supporting characters that die in my screenplay. My wife says I shouldn’t make him black if he’s going to die. Would it be politically incorrect?
16
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9answers
82k views

What are the differences between a script and a 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. ...
15
votes
3answers
4k views

Is Social Media Science Fiction?

I am writing a science fiction story (actually a screenplay for a film, but I imagine that for the purposes of this question the same rules apply) and I have been told that it isn't really science ...
13
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4answers
1k views

Any suggestions for a new writer?

I am in no way a writer. It's something I've always wanted to do, but could never build up the courage to actually start. Every time I think about writing, I think about the end result and how I am ...
12
votes
6answers
6k views

How do you write 2 or more characters saying almost the same thing in unison

When 2 or more characters speak in unison you can generally do something like this "awwwww, she's so cute!" the girls said in unison in near perfect harmony but what about when the line is only ...
11
votes
4answers
3k views

How to stop viewing your story as a film

When thinking about scenes and story ideas, I can't help but picture something playing out as a movie. It's so much easier to picture someone moving and doing things than to actually describe what ...
11
votes
1answer
958 views

How to name indistinguishable henchmen in a screenplay?

A large group of indistinguishable henchman feature throughout my screenplay. What is an acceptable naming method for them? Let's say I wanna call them 'Red shirts'. Can I ... A) Call them all RED ...
11
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
10
votes
5answers
5k 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).
10
votes
2answers
2k 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?
10
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5answers
589 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
votes
4answers
2k views

How do you make a scene “tasteful”?

Let's say you have a scene that contains nudity. There are many ways to do it wrong and have it just be a pervy scene, but there are also ways to make it "tasteful" in a way where it's slightly less ...
9
votes
3answers
791 views

Should I use a series of shots for this scene?

Should I use a series of shots for this? (context- Joe previously raged in his room - knocking things over) INT. JOE’S ROOM Joe stands up the nightstand. Plugs in the lamp. Takes the alarm clock, ...
9
votes
5answers
10k 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

Character names/nicknames in screenplay format

I've written a screenplay and as I sharpen it/enter it into Final Draft I've come across some confusion related to character names. My main character is named Bathsheba and throughout the story, ...
8
votes
13answers
6k views

How do I represent two computers having a conversation between themselves that other characters are unaware of?

I have two computers who are talking to each other in a movie script. They do not want the humans to be aware of this but my ideas to address it don't seem to work. HELP! Here's what I have tried so ...
8
votes
5answers
742 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
121 views

Transitioning from novel writing to screenwriting?

I've been studying writing for several years, and I feel fairly confident in my ability to write a novel. Before I take the plunge and go for it though, I was curious about a slightly different path: ...
8
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
7
votes
5answers
2k 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 ...
7
votes
8answers
550 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
595 views

Respecting classic dramatic structure in a documentary

I'm planning on shooting a documentary on a potentially important shift in a friend's life. In an attempt to educate myself a little bit before shooting the events, I'm reading about the classic ...
7
votes
2answers
6k 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)...
7
votes
5answers
2k 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
6
votes
6answers
17k 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
292 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 (...
6
votes
6answers
1k 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
votes
4answers
192 views

Should I create a fictional college if students go missing in my script?

I’m writing a fictional drama/crime/mystery sceenplay. In my script, college kids go missing from a REAL University. I like the realism and academic profile of an actual University, but would this ...
6
votes
2answers
7k views

Why is the format of a Bollywood film script so different from that of a Hollywood movie?

I was comparing between the formats of scripts from both Hollywood and Bollywood. Following is the first page of the script of Pulp Fiction. And following is the first page of a Bollywood film, Jab ...
6
votes
5answers
7k 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
407 views

How to write character's emotional reactions in a screenplay?

Question : When writing my screenplay, I frequently find the urge to describe a character's emotion. However, I have read somewhere (I forget where) that this should be left to the actor to some ...
6
votes
4answers
113 views

How do we write a movie script with a view towards establishing all of the visual symbolisms and how they should be interpreted?

How do we write a movie script with a view towards establishing all of the visual symbolisms and how they should be interpreted? Often, movie scripts often only have dialogues and some very brief ...
6
votes
3answers
179 views

How to describe a seemingly-random doodle/symbol, whose details are significant?

In my Crime/Mystery/Drama screenplay, there’s a seemingly random doodle at the bottom of a mysterious note. The random doodle looks like a three eyed stick man with a hat. It is drawn with only lines ...
6
votes
3answers
789 views

How do I write someone reading a document?

I have a scene where my character sits down to read a court summons and I want the shots to show various parts of the document like his name, then his codefendants name, then the charge and then the ...
6
votes
2answers
242 views

To what extent 'Reality' be included while writing 'Realistic' Fiction literature?

According to wiki, Realistic fiction typically involves a story whose basic setting (time and location in the world) is real and whose events could feasibly happen in that real-world setting. ...
6
votes
1answer
10k 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
130 views

How to pitch TV show with a 'hook' when have a complete bible and treatments?

So, I have a TV show I have been writing and will finish soon enough. I have been working on this for a long time, and have written 9 seasons. The type of show is a sitcom. It is based on my ...
6
votes
3answers
238 views

How to keep writing?

I really love writing, mainly screenwriting. I can also come up with ideas and start writing. But there is one problem, I just start writing them and never take up the work again. What do you do to ...
6
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
7k 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, ...
6
votes
1answer
386 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
votes
1answer
71 views

In the Windows version of Scrivener for Screenplay formatting, how do format for action/dialogue/shot?

There is a way to automatically change the indices to respect whether it is a line of dialogue or a description of the setting, but I can't find a way to bring the menu up consistently when hitting "...
6
votes
1answer
511 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
4k 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.
5
votes
4answers
258 views

How to describe a character with changing features?

I’m writing the pilot for a Crime/Mystery/Thriller. When we first meet the lead detective character - he is depressed about not being able to work. Not at his best, but that is about to change for ...
5
votes
4answers
296 views

How do I introduce a room of 4 new characters?

Do I start by describing each character before they speak? Each one of these characters are important. One of them is the lead. So, their descriptions are going to be a little chunky. I’m just ...
5
votes
3answers
3k views

How do I end a comedy sketch?

I have a premise, which I think is funny/clever. I want to write this as a comedy sketch, to be acted out or shot on video. I have three "scenes" which are basically three different re-capitulations ...
5
votes
2answers
245 views

Does every story really represent a life-story, as McKee advises?

In Robert McKee's book STORY, he says that a whole life story of a character must become a story well-told. So, it seems that the concept of "story told" is a representation of a "life story" that ...