How to write a script: tips and examples

How to write a script? This question is asked by many novice authors who seek to break into the cinema. It is immediately worth noting that although the work of the screenwriter is very similar to the work of a writer, there are a number of significant differences. So if you are a successful writer, then this does not guarantee you success in this work.

Where to begin?

How to write a screenplay for a movie

Since writing a script is not an easy task, first of all, you should decide what baggage of knowledge is needed for a novice screenwriter.

It may seem deceptive to many that creating a detailed plan for filming a movie will not be any difficulty. After all, everyone saw the movie, and many watch it every day. Inveterate moviegoers can predict some scenario moves in advance, and there are not so many plots, according to professional classifications. Total 36.

To start working, to understand how to write a script, it is important to determine how it differs radically from other literary forms and genres.

It must be clearly understood that the script is not the final creative product, but an intermediate one. As a rule, no one reads them separately, except for the crazy fans of a particular film, and specialists, applicants who need to understand the basis and essence of this creative process.

The script will not work out just to throw out on paper in any form. This is a semi-finished product, one of the components that will ultimately lead to the creation of a film strip. To get the final product, you will need hard and voluminous work of the director, actors, make-up artists, dressers, editors. Hundreds of people are involved in filming modern films with a large budget. Only if all of them will carry out their work efficiently will a positive result be achieved. You need to be prepared for the fact that even from a first-class script it may not turn out to be an interesting and worthy film if at some stage one of the team members fails.

Script features

Scenario for the filming of the series

So what are the features? How to write a script for the film so that the producers take it to work? Many compare the scenario with the protocol of the crime. And the crime in this case is a movie that the creator invents in his head. Therefore, professionals argue that scripts are not written, but recorded. This means that first the whole story must be formed in the author’s head, it would be nice to tell it to someone several times, since in the process of speaking you yourself will understand the advantages and disadvantages of your story. Only when the characters' characters are fully formed in your head, do you understand all their actions, sit down and write down.

For a novice screenwriter, it is very important to understand that the story invented by him, the viewer will be able to clearly see and hear, to understand what was meant. After all, all cinema is so far directed only at two senses of perception. The technology has not yet reached the point of transmitting smells, sensations and touches with the help of a screen.

Therefore, even if you successfully wrote stories and poems, and sometimes thought about a novel, when writing a script you have to get rid of the momentum, like “a storm was raging in his soul” and the like. Instead of using them, you will need to describe in the most detailed way how an actor on the set should behave in this episode , what to play and portray.

Inner feelings do not need to be described at all, the viewer must guess about them independently, focusing on the clues left in the replicas of the characters, their actions and actions.

The character

How to write a script for the film

When you decide for yourself that you want to write a script, you must first remember an important rule. Characters must be living people, the same as you and me. You should never forget that they "lived" even before they hit the lens of a movie camera.

The viewer should not have reasonable questions why this hero began right now to do what he did not do before the film began. If the question arises why he just started to do something interesting, for example, decided to cheat on his wife or accomplish a feat, then your script is poorly designed.

When you start working on a project, you think about how to write a script for the film, you must remember that your characters are as real people as you and your audience. Therefore, they behave in the same way as most people, try to follow the path of least resistance, try to follow in life those roads that are most comfortable for them and have been laid in advance. Therefore, if something in their life changes dramatically, there must be serious and objective reasons, both internal and external. They should be well understood and clear to your viewer, who should not have additional questions.

Independence of heroes

Where to write a script

Another rule that tells you how to write the script correctly is that all characters, no matter how unexpectedly this sounds, must act independently. But believe me, it sounds strange only by ear. In fact, even a novice screenwriter, to his surprise, will soon discover that his characters themselves decide how they should be, how to act, what actions to do.

This is the reality of the creative nature of the master: the better your character is thought up and worked out, the more chances you will have that he, during the development of the plot, will tell the author what should happen to him.

This happens even if you start writing a script for a short film. Be sure, even in the few minutes that will be allotted for the entire tape, the hero can turn the original plan upside down, “come to life” in the course of events, and decide for its author how it should end.

The only nuisance that may arise in this case is that the initial pages may need to be rewritten. The same thing happens with the work on the script of the full-length picture. This is a complex and painstaking work that needs to be given with full dedication.

In this regard, many may have a question not only about how to write the script correctly, but also how many times to rewrite it now. Of course, it is impossible to answer it unequivocally.

But you can be absolutely sure that what you write at the very beginning will never coincide with your final version. In the best case, it will remind him quite remotely. This is largely due to edits made not by the author or his editor, but by the characters. It is as if they are beginning to dictate how to act in a given situation. Although it looks a little creepy from the point of view of common sense, this is a completely normal situation from the point of view of scenario prowess. Separate scenarios are written by their creators ten, twenty and even thirty times.

Character Replicas

How to write a script

One of the mistakes of novice authors who still have a poor idea of ​​how to start writing a script is an attempt to saturate most of the scenes with monologues and dialogues.

At the same time, there is a special task in the scenario training course, which consists in the need to create a “little” study. Here, the author has to get rid of the great temptation - to tell the viewer everything you need to understand the plot through conversations, and not through the actions and deeds of the characters.

Some believe that this is due to the influence that television once had on the modern generation, when everyone wants to follow the path of least resistance. For a good author, it is important to learn to deny yourself this desire and always remember that the viewer must seem to spy on the characters in the keyhole. So each replica that a character pronounces is important not to himself, it is necessary for the viewer.

But here there are pitfalls. The behavior of the heroes in this case should remain natural. If suddenly two characters start discussing information that is well known to both and does not contain any conflict, then each viewer will ask a reasonable question why they are doing this, are they really such fools, because all of them already know all this well. Then he will understand that all this is said just for him, the magic of cinema will disappear, the effect of spying on the real life of the characters will dissolve, the viewer will certainly be disappointed. After all, when we peep, we are always upset if they notice it.

Life truth

Screenwriter at work

A person who writes a script based on real events or biographies should not literally reproduce the entire sequence of events.

Life is very different from cinema in the first place in that there are many pauses in which nothing, absolutely nothing happens. For example, time spent in traffic, a long-haul flight or a trip in public transport. If you demonstrate this, then there will not be enough time either in an ordinary movie, or even in a serial series. Such a realism is not appreciated by any viewer.

Masters say that cinema is a musical harmony in which pauses and actions must be combined in a strictly defined sequence. And in such a way that in a relatively short time the viewer together with the character lived some important and significant stage in the life of the hero.

It is important to take the brightest moments that could characterize the heroes, and the motives and their actions were extremely clear to all viewers. One of the most interesting choices between good and bad. This is guaranteed to keep the viewer in suspense. Remember also that everything that causes the hero stress, will give viewers the true pleasure of watching. These are unfulfilled desires, difficult decisions, conflicts, suffering, struggle and the like.



When you understand how to write a script, it's time to take part in the pitching. This is a competition of projects, according to the results of which directors and producers determine which tape to take on.

The decision can be based on an estimate made by the producer with assistants, or the script itself is taken as the basis. In this case, only stories compete with each other. At this stage, we are more interested in considering the second option.

In order to generate an application for scenario pitching, it is necessary to choose the most important and interesting scenes that will lead the viewer from the very beginning to the end of the story. If you plan to learn how to write scripts, then in this article you will find some practical tips. For example, the text must necessarily reflect the most interesting and complex conflicts that only exist in your history. Be sure to tell how the story ends. This is not the case when the viewer can be left in mild bewilderment, it is important that both the director and the producers clearly understand and realize what you wanted to say.

A popular mistake made by many aspiring screenwriters is that they do not write down the contents of the story in detail, instead confining themselves only to general words. This, as a rule, repels the selection commissions and members of the jury, leading to the conclusion that the author has not yet thought out the adventures or the final, which means that the project itself is very crude. Most often, such applications are very difficult to win.

Dialogs in scripts

An integral part of any film project is dialogue. At the same time, if you seriously decided to learn how to write scripts, you should remember that although dialogue is important, it is not the main thing, unlike action.

Moreover, the action should be unexpected and original. For example, you can figure out how to describe in one sentence the suffering and longing of a hero for his beloved. But to come up with something really new and unusual is very difficult. Even for a simple situation, it’s very difficult to come up with a good fresh action.

At the same time, there is a peculiarity in the work of the screenwriter, which has to be put up with. Although the most important thing is the action, the editors and directors, that is, the people on whom it depends on whether your script will be put into operation, pay the most attention to dialogs. Sadly enough, they glance at the description blocks or leaf through at all, and they try to grasp the essence through dialogs.

The best advice is to split each action of your character into a separate paragraph, so it will be easier to read when reading, as well as break up the action with short, but capacious and original remarks.

Writing dialogs in a script is no less important than coming up with actions. Therefore, you must always remember that each replica should at least bring the character closer to the ultimate goal by at least a millimeter.

Many authors claim that writing dialogs is the most enjoyable part in their work. Many begin to write scripts for cinema as a permanent job, and therefore it is in the dialogues that they can hone their skills.

You should not start inventing dialogues before you think through all the storylines and moves, only when you clearly understand why the hero takes his every step, you can begin to compose what he will say at that moment. Only then will the dialogue come out really spectacular.

One of the main rules - the dialogue should be as short as possible. Monologues should be avoided, except in rare cases. It is important that the characters communicate with each other, and not talk with the viewer. He should feel himself fully an outside observer. In this case, it will be appropriate to give a sample of how to write a script.

Two detectives are sitting in a car.

DETECTIVE 1: You beat the suspect, this is unacceptable. I know, since your wife and daughter died, you’ve gone a little off the coils ...

DETECTIVE 2: Poor Maria and baby Annie! The robbers shot them with pump-action shotguns and managed to escape ten minutes before I returned home.

This is not a very good dialogue. This is an example of how you don't need to write a script. Here the heroes voice the information that each of them knows perfectly well. The scene can be processed so that a conflict arises between the detectives, and one of them will pronounce information about which the second will not be aware.

DETECTIVE 1: What are you doing, John! Another complaint and you will be kicked out of the police. And if you think that the death of your wife and child will serve as sufficient justification for beating the suspect ...

DETECTIVE 2: He had a pump action shotgun.

DETECTIVE 1: So what? He did not even have time to launch it.

DETECTIVE 2: Because this time I managed in time! (crying). Barney, I was only ten minutes late then ...

DETECTIVE 1: Why didn’t you say this to the guys in the internal investigation department?

Here is an example of how to write scripts that will be interesting and fascinating to everyone.

Another problem that novice screenwriters often encounter in dialogs is frequent repetitions. Heroes constantly say what the viewer already knows. This must be avoided.

Some more practical tips for you to learn from this article, not only in general, how to learn how to write scripts, but also how to work with dialogs. Try to avoid the speech of the heroes of professionalism, jargon and argo. Of course, they will give the picture a special flavor, but if most do not know what they mean, then you will leave the viewer in displeased bewilderment.

Not the most successful method is a telephone dialogue. They should be as few as possible, because somehow it’s very difficult to shoot such a scene in the first place, most often it’s boring and uninteresting.

If the script has a very large dialogue that cannot be shortened, come up with an original and unusual place in which the characters could pronounce it.

For example, a great example of how to write scripts for a film can be seen in the series produced by West Wing and Studio 60. Long dialogues there are often removed without gluing, and the heroes pronounce their cues on the run, moving from one room to another. This is one of the nuances thanks to which the projects of these studios receive numerous prizes, and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin is considered one of the best representatives of this profession.

The script for the series

Separately, it is worth discussing how to write a script for the series. It’s worth mentioning right away that many people are in vain neglecting this genre, motivating it by the fact that the plots are usually very banal, the dialogs are primitive, and the costumes and decorations are selected on the basis of where to get something cheaper, and better, completely free.

Unfortunately, this often happens in reality, although the exceptions that happen are sometimes more popular than full-length and copyright films. It is worth recalling at least the series "Game of Thrones."This is a finely thought-out adaptation of the famous fantasy work, in which a lot of work has been done by scriptwriters, directors, actors, costumes, masters of special effects, and indeed all members of the crew. This is one of the best examples of how to write a script for the film.

Writing algorithm

Often authors are tormented by the problem of where to write the script. It’s worth mentioning right away that there is no panacea for this matter. To do this, someone needs to come to the office every day, someone to leave the city, and someone fruitfully works only on his sofa at home. So it doesn’t matter where you write the script, it’s important how your result is obtained. The main thing is to follow the algorithm, then you will definitely succeed.

For ease of perception, we divide it into stages:

  1. Idea generation. At this stage, you need to record everything that comes to your mind. Write about what you want, not paying attention to quality. While you need to chase only the quantity.
  2. Install the filter. Now it is necessary to critically consider all your ideas, without pity to discard the weakest.
  3. Selection. At this stage, take a closer look at the ideas that remained after filtering. Answer your own questions about which of them are the most original and which ones can be improved. So it will be possible to determine the only idea that will form the basis of the future scenario.
  4. Concept development. Now we formulate our plan in detail, describing the whole story as briefly as possible, preferably in one sentence. Here are examples of good and short-formulated ideas:
    The puppeteer accidentally discovers a secret tunnel into John Malkovich’s brain. ("Being John Malkovich"). A cynical advertiser suddenly discovers the ability to read female thoughts. ("What do women want"). Three young filmmakers go to the forest to make a documentary about the legendary witch. No one else saw them. Only this movie remains. ("The Blair Witch").
  5. Here you need to try to make the story as dramatic and incredible as possible.
  6. Come up with a working title.
  7. Compare your idea with a couple of popular films made in the same genre and style in which you plan to work. You can safely use them as a guide, constantly comparing your work with a successful sample.
  8. Structure. Much depends on the structure of the script. Once you build it, ask yourself what the second or third layer of this story is. After all, the plot should not be unambiguous and straightforward, it will only become boring. It is necessary to decide, first of all for yourself, about what your story really is.
  9. The study of heroes. Describe the main characters - their appearance, features, shortcomings, character, actions that will reflect the theme of your story.
  10. Synopsis. A summary of the story, on a few sheets at most.
  11. Tritment. This is a more detailed description, which makes sense if your work was at least initially approved by scriptwriters or producers, expressing a preliminary desire to deal with these issues. Here you can already include the most important dialogues. Like the main scenario, the title is drawn up exclusively in the present tense.
  12. Cards. Now your whole story should be transferred to special cards. On each strictly one scene.
  13. Scenario. Now you can proceed directly to writing the script itself. At this stage, you can write as much as possible without editing or shortening anything. Write down the story that has developed in your head.
  14. First option. Having finished the draft, do not show it to anyone, but put it aside for a couple of weeks, then to take a fresh look at it.
  15. Editing should be thorough and scrupulous, it is recommended to subtract the script at least five to six times.

If you strictly and scrupulously follow all these requirements, then with a certain share of talent you can create a truly talented work. You just need to force yourself to carefully study the article "Learning to write a script" (so you can call this material), and everything will work out.


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