Scriptwriting - things to consider
edited: Tuesday, August 31, 2010
By Ching-Ling Lim
Not "rated" by the Author.
Posted: Tuesday, August 31, 2010
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Basic scriptwriting tips
Have you ever had an idea and thought "wow, that would make an awesome movie!"? You grab a pen and some paper and start scribbling down the script as you visualise it.
Stop press! Before you get too carried away with the script, there are a few things to consider regarding what sort of scene should go into the script. I've read many a script by first time writers and found myself giving the same advice over and over. So, in order to prevent you from falling into the same trap, here are a few tips to get you thinking.
- Decide what your central theme is. This is extremely important because nine times out of ten, writers find themselves writing two or more intertwining plots at the same time. Unless you are clear about your central theme, these plots could end up battling for supremacy and will only confuse your intended audience. Remember what I said about synopsis? That should be your central theme.
- Keep the cast and crew in mind when you're setting a scene. While this advice isn't essential, it certainly increases the chances of it getting produced. One script I once read had a scene set in the pouring rain. The writer didn't take into account that film equipment and rain don't mix. Nor did he realise that no actor likes to work in a torrential downpour.
- Try to keep your main characters to a minimum. When I first started writing, I had 15 main characters and no one could remember who was who! If you're writing about a little girl who gets lost in a shopping mall, concentrate on the little girl and her parents. Don't waste your time on the puppy dog that escaped from the pet store and followed her or the owner of the pet store trying to find the puppy. Otherwise, you'll lose the focus of your central plot.
- One of the biggest mistakes first time writers makes is having their characters verbally describe what can already be seen. Remember, the point of a visual scene is so that the characters don't have to describe it.
- Names are what make up the script. If people remember the names of your characters, chances are they'll like the plot better. Don't fall into the trap of having two similar characters names every second scene unless the plot hinges on a name mix-up. Actors have enough trouble trying to remember their lines. They don't need to try and sort out their character's name from another that looks similar.
So, there you have it. Some very basic tips for script preparation. Good luck!