People who try screenwriting always harbor the hope that their work will make it to the big screen. In order to turn this hope into a reality, it is often necessary to write, rewrite, and review pieces, which were supposedly finished. Here are some valuable screenwriting tips that will help whittle script down to a strong, polished, and marketable product.
The Importance of Direction
A cardinal rule in writing a screenplay is this: Always be aware of where you are going. This means every twist and turn your characters go through should help define the screenplay’s direction. The action in your plot should proceed along a strong, well-defined line and your main character should most be the clearest source of the action that develops your entire plot.
This does not mean though that the plot should be blatantly presented. In fact, all successful screenwriters learn how to unfold their story subtly. A test of how successfully you have combined strength and subtlety is when your people in the audience think they are guessing how things will turn out because they are cleverly reading signs that others cannot see.
Make Three Acts Work Together
Your First Act should establish the direction and the characters of your screenplay. The Second Act should escalate action and make your conflict visible; its curtain leads to how the conflict will rise and involve everyone. The Third Act should bring everything to a powerful crescendo then a climactic conclusion. When you achieve this, write a finish to the screenplay, and do not engage in protracted endings.
Study your Craft
In order to get the kind of expertise you need, invest in study. Watch all kinds of movies and pay attention to how the dialogue was created. The best screenwriting tips can be gleaned from successful films. Ask yourself how script and visuals worked together to carry the plot. Reflect on how much time, how many lines it took to establish plot and character. Read screenplays of movies you have already seen and try to remember how the words came out on screen. Get software on screenplay writing and try to measure your work against standards mentioned.
Review your spelling and grammar. Don’t take punctuation for granted. Above all, try to develop a style that will appeal to your audience. Learn how to format your script as required. No matter how good it is, unless it is properly formatted, the so-called readers who choose which screenplays to accept and which to reject will throw it away.
Get Your Dialogue to Really Speak to the Audience.
Avoid clichés and empty exchanges that weaken your screenplay. Never use words that nobody does in real life. Do not use stilted, overly formal sentence construction but neither should you fall into the trap of using the usually bland statements express nothing.
Try reading your dialogue aloud and see if it sounds natural. One of the mistakes novices make is that they make their characters use one another’s names too often when they converse. This doesn’t happen in real life and it will sound artificial on screen.
Review your Work
Ask someone else to read your work – someone who knows about screenplays – and listen to criticism and ask for screenwriting tips. Read, reread, and rewrite your work until it is lean and strong. Then, after setting it aside for a few days or weeks, read and rewrite it again. Go over the way your plot develops, see if your characters bloom and interact, as they should. Remove parts that add nothing to character and plot then go through the dialogue and see if some words need to be changed.
There are no shortcuts to creating good screenplays and no easy ways to polish creative work. However, the time and effort that go into screenwriting are never wasted because these are the tools that can help the aspiring screenwriter achieve success.