a 7-step approach to writing a screenplay
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 &
of the main character.
2. Create a character
profile for each main character, 1/2 - 1 page per character
(more detail is better), listing:
3. Expand the concept
paragraph to a 1-page summary, including a beginning,
middle & end.
Brainstorming session where you list all the images that come to your
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:
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.