Wherever your story comes from, whether it’s an original idea, an attempt at adaptation from book or play, a screenplay prepares it for film.
All that follows is suggestion based on known and oft trodden conventions of screenplay writing, at least it can hopefully give an insight. Many more comprehensive tutorials and insights are out there on the web, some included in the links below, others included in the Books / DVD section.
Some choose to discard formal approaches and even the idea of narrative is viewed as a limitation. Stanley Kubrick based his films around what has been described as six to eight ‘non-submersible’ units.
Whether to write a complete script, or set some basic boundaries for a story and scenes, then let performers improvise within that setting is another approach often used these days, especially for found footage type storylines and the like.
STORY STRUCTURE (THE ESTABLISHED 3 ACT SCREENPLAY APPROACH)
Structure: The recognised cohesive glue of a project / film, that connects the dots and carries a story (narrative), but is it necessary to follow the three act scenario - or structure at all?
Films that have “pushed the boundaries” might be seen as hard to understand and disjointed, but is this the fault of the storyteller?
3 ACT SCENARIO (AN EXAMPLE)
ACT 1) The story starts with character facing a challenge and/or task (for instance), a journey to be made to reach its conclusion. This part is usually quite short, but it’s the most important part of the story to gain the audiences interest. It’s the hook to get an audiences attention and engage their belief in the story, situations and most important, characters. At the end of act one there is a ‘plot point’ that moves the characters and story from act one into act two.
ACT 2) Is about obstacles and challenges the character encounters along the way. This is the bulk of the story and the script and where sometimes the “padding” comes in and this is when most plot holes come about, trying to simplify things and not get too bogged down with fiddly complications etc. The end of act two also has a plot point to lead into the final act.
ACT 3) The final conclusion / outcome. Success, failure, or moral to the tale. The completion of the journey, the tying together of all the pieces, the resolution of all that has preceded. The pay off.
Exceptions to this three act principle can include News items and industrial / corporate films, but there is still information to convey in a comprehensible way, even without a recognisable narrative. Short stories can still build on the three act principle, but of course that becomes vastly reduced.
For books on screenplay writing got to; books/dvds
Script / Screenplay Links:
creative screenwriting www.creativescreenwriting.com
Screenwriting tricks, magazine, events and resources.
screenwriters utopia www.screenwritersutopia.com
Online writers magazine, forums, chat, interviews, script sales, screenwriting contests and reviews.
Script sales, news, screenwriting articles, community, contests, events and published magazine.
Different types of scripts, formats etc.
Links to hundreds of free, downloadable scripts, movie scripts, screenplays and transcripts.
writers guild magazine (US) www.wga.org
Writers resources, script writing software/links (commercial), register scripts online.
final draft software www.finaldraft.com Professional screenwriting software.
For MS Word 6 & 95, 97, 98 and 2000 etc. Windows and Mac compatible.
script Buddy www.scriptbuddy.com
Web based screenwriting software.
story design www.screenplay.com
Commercial software for writers & screenwriters.
writers store www.writersstore.com
The premier resource for writing and filmmaking tools.
Check out Rough Draft free screenwriting software download below.