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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.

Tutorials & Insights:

What is Exposition in Screenwriting — 4 Keys to Writing Film Exposition That Works

How To Find The Emotional Spine In A Screenplay - Pat Verducci

If You’re Not Reading Bad Screenplays You’re Not Getting Better - Guido Segal

How to write and format screenplays like a pro! Script writing tips and tricks

How to protect your screenplay with Shane Stanley.

Save the Cat Beat Sheet — Interstellar Explained in 15 Beats (Script Ending Explained)

How Screenplay Outlines Work

Screenwriting Software (some free options)


Movie Magic Screenwriter - (offline script writing software for Windows)

Highland Software -offline script writing software for MAC

KIT Scenarist - free open-source screenwriting solution.


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?


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
Screenwriting tricks, magazine, events and resources.

Writers resource.

screenwriters utopia
Online writers magazine, forums, chat, interviews, script sales, screenwriting contests and reviews.

Script sales, news, screenwriting articles, community, contests, events and published magazine.

Film and TV Script formatting examples.

Links to hundreds of free, downloadable scripts, movie scripts, screenplays and transcripts.

writers guild magazine (US)
Writers resources, script writing software/links (commercial), register scripts online.

writers store
Resource for writing and script writing software.

Screenwriting Software:

Free rich text format screenwriting software for professionally formatted work. Cross platform. Mozilla public license. Includes tools for storyboard, novel, stage plays and games development. Scripts can be published and shared (including shared script development) via celtx accounts.

final draft
Professional screenwriting software (30 day trial version available).

For MS Word 6 & 95, 97, 98 and 2000 etc. Windows and Mac compatible.

script Buddy
Web based screenwriting software.

story design
Commercial software for writers & screenwriters.

For further information on Screenwiting go to; Books & DVD’s

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