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There is a wealth of knowledge in RFVM, some of which has been gathered together for reference purposes. We hope you will find this information helpful.

SCRIPT WRITING NOTES

You have an idea for a film and you want to turn your idea into a screenplay, but where do you start?
You may need to do some research before you start, depending on how well you know your subject matter.
Who is your main protagonist, and who are the other characters in your story? Write a character description for each one. Give them each a different voice.
Before you start your script, you'll need to prepare a Logline, a synopsis and a treatment.

Logline

This is a brief summary of your script. It's usually only one or two sentences long and conveys the dramatic story of a screenplay in the most abbreviated manner possible.
As well as keeping you focused you will need a logline when you try to sell your screenplay.

Synopsis

This is the detailed summary of the story. It's normally one to two pages long, depending on the length of the script.

Treatment

This is an even more detailed summary of the story, written in prose. Use it as a skeleton for your script.

Script Format

Next you will need a screenwriting program downloaded onto your computer.
Final Draft is the program used by most industry professionals; however there are some very good free ones available.
CeltX is free and is very good, although you will need to be online when you come to format it at the end. CeltX is a great program for adding notes and collaboration.

The BBC also have a free program called Scriptsmart. There are different versions of this depending on which version of Windows you have. To find these, Google the BBC writers room.
The BBC writer's room provides a wealth of useful info and occasional opportunities. They also have examples of scripts available to read.

Points to remember when writing your script.

  • Font should always be Courier New, font size 12. Don't underline, colour or mess with it.
  • As a guideline, one page equates to a minute on screen.
  • There are many film scripts available to read online. Read some to give yourself a feel of how a finished script looks.
  • Don't include camera angles, music etc. That's a shooting script, unless of course you are shooting the film yourself.
  • Try to hook your audience from the start. Hit the ground running if the story allows.
  • The first 10 pages are the most important when trying to get someone to buy your script.
  • Don't include anything which doesn't move the story forward.
  • Try to limit your use of exposition. Film is a visual medium, so try to show rather than tell.
  • Give your protagonist obstacles to overcome. You want your character to have changed by the end of the story.
  • When writing dialog, make it sound natural. Use words such as wouldn't and couldn't, rather than would not and could not.
  • Ask someone to read the script out aloud so you can hear how it sounds and flows.
  • Check your work for any spelling mistakes or other errors.
  • Put your work away then come back to it at a later date with fresh eyes and see how it could be improved. It usually can be improved.

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