While one may think they already have the complete skill set to become a professional scriptwriter, it's not always so. Scriptwriting or screenwriting is big business. It's unlike writing a story. You're writing for the screen, something millions of people will see, so you need your script to be at its best. Of course, that's why you're here.
But before going into the tips to improve your scriptwriting skills, let us first clarify what scriptwriting is exactly.
What is Scriptwriting?
Scriptwriting, or screenwriting, is writing a story in the screenplay format. It's like bringing to life a movie idea you have in your head, so it boils down to characters' movements, expressions, actions, and dialogue, all in screenplay format.
As a scriptwriter or screenwriter, you can write for movies, TV series, or games. Your audience will not read your script but will see it come to life on screen. So how do you do that? How do you ensure your script entraps your audience?
Tip 1: Always remember you're writing for the screen
Suppose you're writing a book, and there's a part where your protagonist gets to think about a past occurrence. So you write, "he thought about that time when..." Well, you shouldn't do that when screenwriting.
Since the audience cannot get into your character's head, you have to make them see. So for the above example, you can include a series of flashbacks. Always write with the mindset that your audience cannot read minds as they do with stories, so you must keep them on track through visualization. A viewer may lose interest the moment they fail to understand an important scene.
Tip 2: Identity the Hero
While there can be many good guys in your script, ensure the audience knows precisely who the hero or protagonist is. Sure, you can build each character and give them depth. This is highly advisable. But most times, neglecting to focus more on your hero may leave your viewers confused about whom to follow and support all the way.
One way to write a great script is to make it clear whose life journey the movie is about, as this helps your audience to focus on the story. People like to have a hero. Give them one!
Tip 3: Identify the Theme
You may be tempted to project a movie like the regular days in a man's life. Great! But never sacrifice a clear theme for anything. Ensure your film is about something in particular and that your audience knows this early enough.
Possibly you're screenwriting about a man who lost all he had and is struggling to make things right in a foreign country. Early into the movie, find a character who narrates to someone else about all of that. By so doing, you're telling the viewers what the whole show is about, and they'll follow up from there. Do not just let them figure out stuff themselves.
Tip 4: Create problems early enough in the script
This is where the action starts. People get quickly bored when there's no problem. So provide one. Even if the movie begins with the hero having the best life possible, you can make it all come crashing. This leaves your audience at the edge of their seats, ready to see what happens next.
After all, transformation is basically what great shows are about, so you want your screenwriting to take your main character from a low point to a higher one with broken things that need fixing in between.
Tip 5: Create an active protagonist, not a passive one
Your audience wants to see a hero that's actively pushing to fix up the shards of glass in their life, not one that's brooding. Fine, you can start with a protagonist that's running from their destiny to save the world, but at a point, you should make them accept it and take total control of their destiny!
Everyone has a story. That's our belief here at Script School, and we believe you have one too. But we also know that screenwriting can get pretty complicated.
And that's why we want to help you up your game, becoming the professional scriptwriter that seduces their audience into their world.
Sign up today and get writing your masterpiece!