Screenwriting Guide
a 7-step approach to writing a screenplay

Posted: 15may01

Wendy has taken several Screenwriting classes at USC Film school .. at both the 
graduate & undergraduate level. Of all the methods she's been exposed to, she 
says the following approach is by far the best. 

The good thing about this method is that, when it comes time to write the actual 
script, all the hard work is already done. All that remains is merely filling in the blanks, 
and adding dialogue.

1. Write a single paragraph of the story's concept, including the wants & needs 
    of the main character.

2. Create a character profile for each main character, 1/2 - 1 page per character 
    (more detail is better), listing:
a. who they are 
    b. what they want/need (motivation)

    c. physical appearance
    d. relationships
    e. personality
    f. emotional bearing
    g. where they live
    h. their beliefs
    i. paradoxes
    j. other pertinent info

3. Expand the concept paragraph to a 1-page summary, including a beginning, 
    middle & end.

4. Brainstorming session where you list all the images that come to your mind, 
    typically 1-2 pages. 

5. Write a numbered, sequential list of all the events in the story (called a Beat 
    sheet, typically 4-5 pages). For example:

    1. Benson drives to the beach and parks his car. 
    2. Benson gets out of the car, and walks to the end of the pier.
    3. Benson meets Natasha and kisses her passionately.

6. Use the Beat sheet describe each new location (scene), and write a more 
    detailed description of what happens at each new scene. This is called a 
    treatment, typically 8-10 pages. 

7. Write the script, using the Treatment as reference, adding dialogue. Try to 
    make each sentence a different shot. Rule of thumb: each page = 1 minute. 

I use Final Draft v5 to write scripts.


[Radified Home]