EDUCATION

How to write a film script | Basics

HOW TO WRITE A FILM SCRIPT

BASIC THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT A FILM SCRIPT

You may already have ideas on what script writing or scripting is, but this is to give you a bit by bit details on the basic things you need to know about script writing;

  • Things you need to know before writing a film script, when writing a film script and after writing a film script.
  • Understand the characteristics or elements of a film script.
  • How to write a film script.

In order to understand the basics in writing a script, to be a professional on this field and to be unique, we need to dig into the following;

  • What is a script?
  • What is script writing?
  • Who is a script writer?
  • What is a film script?

WHAT IS A SCRIPT?

A script can simply be defined as a written document that carries details or information of a film, television programme, radio, stage play or a drama.

The script is what defines every production.

Put this in your mind that everything you watch on screen today has been scripted, the plan and structure of the production has been written to serve as a guideline and a record for the production.

A script is typed using the 12 point Courier front style in computers.

REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD USE A SCRIPT

It will make your production less stressful, be it a film production, television production or any kind of production.

A script will help to sequentially organize your program or production.

It helps the cast and crew to know what to do during a production

SCRIPT WRITING

As the name implies, understanding what script writing is should not be difficult.

SCRIPT WRITING can be defined as the process or act of writing professional scripts for films, television programmes, radio, stage play and drama. It deals with writing for the mass media at large.

 Script writing is also known as screenwriting. Writing scripts for TV shows or programmes is different from writing scripts for films.

TV SHOW SCRIPTS VS FILM SCRIPT

Writing a television show or programme script is shorter, simpler and less stressful than writing a film script. It deals with the following;

  • Sequential arrangement of the episodes of a TV program
  • People involved in the program
  • Topic and duration of the program

The aforementioned are just highlights for you to get the idea of what a television show or a television program script revolves around. The most complex one is the film script.

WHO IS A SCRIPT WRITER?

As the name implies, a scriptwriter is someone who writes scripts.

This is not just someone who writes scripts, it is someone who is a professional in the script writing world, someone who knows the basics and the rules, someone who knows how to manipulate his way around the script in order to bring out a good story.

It is the duty of the screenwriter to create suspense, emotional moments and actions in the story.

What the viewers see or feel lies in the hands of the scriptwriter.

QUALITIES OF A SCRIPT WRITER

  • A good script writer must be a good storyteller and must be someone who reads stories or watches a lot of films.
  • A good script writer must have good writing skills
  • Good screenwriters are creative, so a script writer must be creative, Must have the ability to shape stories into something that will be comprehendible
  • He or she must always be ready to the right script or correct scripts
  • Having promotion and marketing skills is compulsory for a good scriptwriter
  • Good script writer must have the ability to work under pressure
  • Intelligence, smartness, boldness and humility is compulsory for a good script writer.

WHAT IS A FILM SCRIPT?

A film script can simply Be defined as a script that carries the sequential arrangement of scenes in a film including the characters, dialogue, and type of camera shots.

A film script is written and mainly to direct or control the activities of the cast and crew members, it is one of the major things that contributes to the success of a film because everything you watch on screen today has been scripted one way or the other.

There are few things that make up a good and standard film script which we are going to dig into below.

ELEMENTS OR CHARACTERISTICS OF A FILM SCRIPT

A standard film script must have the following basic elements

  • Scene heading
  • Transition
  • Shot
  • Character
  • Action
  • Dialogue
  • Parenthetical

SCENE HEADING

The scene heading can also be called slugline. It is a line of text that appears on the beginning of every scene in order to indicate the following;

The Time of the day (morning / afternoon / evening)

The location of the scene (where the actions are taking place). It indicates;

INT – Means INTERIOR

EXT- Means EXTERIOR

TRANSITION

 This is a portion of the script that describes the change of transition from one scene to another. It is usually at the beginning and end. Example;

  • FADE IN
  • FADE OUT
  • CROSS DISSOLVE
  • DIP TO WHITE
  • DIP TO BLACK

All these mentioned above are names of transitions.

SHOT

This describes the type of camera shot of a scene. Example;

  • CLOSE UP SHOT
  • MEDIUM SHOT
  • LONG SHOT
  • OVER THE SHOULDER SHOT
  • EXTREME LONG SHOT

CHARACTER

This refers to the names of the characters involved in the story, script and scene. The name of the character is usually mentioned first before what the character says (Dialogue) for people to know who is leading the conversation in the script or story. Example; 

  MIRACLE (character)

Hello Samson, it’s been a while!

ACTION

This is the description of the actions of the character, that is what he does before Starting a conversation. Example;

      MIRACLE (Character)

       He stands up and wave. (Action)

DIALOGUE

This refers to the conversation of the character, That is what the character says. Example;

MIRACLE (Character)

       He stands up and wave. (Action)

Hello Samson, it’s been a while! (Dialogue)

PARENTHETICAL

This describes the emotion or mood through which the character deliverers his dialogue. Example;

MIRACLE (Character)

       He stands up and wave. (Action)

          (Blinking his eyes) – Parenthetical

Hello Samson, it’s been a while! (Dialogue)

It is usually before the dialogue of the character and it is not mostly used, though it depends on your story and the expressions in it.

HOW TO WRITE A FILM SCRIPT

Below are the basic things to do before writing a film script;

STEPS

  • Create a good story before writing a film script. You can get ideas from imagination, dreams, books, and even other movies or by reading other stories.
  • Scout for locations that will best fit your story.
  • Get characters that can perfectly play the role based on the story.
  • Write a synopsis, that is a brief summary of the story.
  •  Lastly you write down the script and make sure all the elements of the scripture in it for professionalism.
  • The last thing to do after writing a film script is to sit, take time and edit it, set a script conference with professionals or people around for observations and corrections.

Film scripting needs time and concentration.

 

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