“I am only attracted to good stories. I always keep the script above me.”- National Award Winning Actor: Ayushmann Khurrana
It’s no hunky-dory process for writers to come up with a compelling script. It’s a well-structured and tedious process in its entirety—the breath-taking action, golden romance, and memorable lines that stem from the screenwriter’s pen are crafted with a lot of effort.
Finding it all a bit too daunting? It's actually easier to get started than you think. And with practice, you will figure out how to overcome all the challenges. Here’s a simple step-by-step guide for writing a convincing script!
1. Log-In with Your Logline
This is your entire story encapsulated in two to three sentences, containing adjectives describing the protagonist, the goal, and the antagonist. Let’s take the example of the Bollywood film Dangal starring Amir Khan. The logline for the same can be: The story of a man accomplishing a feat he couldn’t achieve in his lifetime, through the act of leading his daughters to the pinnacle of success.
2. Sneak Peek: A Summary of The Script
Here, you highlight the main events of the story. Most screenplays have a beginning, a middle, and an end. This can be called the storyline or the plot. The summary is a more detailed narrative-like piece of prose that includes the gist of the story in a page or two. There are character descriptions, including where and when the story is happening, and its timeline. The ending can be a surprise that builds interest!
3. Birthing the Characters
The story and the characters both complement each other in scriptwriting. The story picks up momentum from this stage onwards. It is important to write character sketches for the leading roles. Sometimes, the stories are written around characters. For instance, in the popular American Sitcom FRIENDS, the makers said that the lead characters Ross, Rachel, Chandler, Monica, and Joey were already on their minds at the time they formed the series' script.
4. The Treatment
No, we're not taking our words to the doctor (pun intended)! This process involves a scene-by-scene description of the story idea before you finalise the entire script. Mostly it encompasses 20-40 pages and makes it easier to comprehend the narration at the first go.
5. The Screenplay Begins!
The screenplay is a film on paper and it includes everything: characters, dialogue, locations, and action. This technical document is the soul of the filmmaking process. An interesting rule to keep in mind is ‘Show, Don’t Tell!’ The screenplay is created using action words to actually depict the scene on paper and not just describe it. This is also called mimetic narration, as opposed to diegetic narration.
To format the screenplay, many templates and screenwriting software are available online. The Final Draft and Screenplay Formatter are the two most commonly used. At the onset, let ideas freely flow on paper and then, while editing, take care of the nuances. Try marking all the errors, like where it may be going sluggish and where it’s overly described.
Pro tip: Read your script from the eye of a third person to be a better judge.
Now that we have walked through the 5 steps, let's talk about the outcome.
The producers will be spending crores on your script to make their dream projects. Actors will be performing for the audience based on that script. Audiences will spend their hard-earned money and time to watch films written by you. Indeed, there is a massive responsibility on screen writers' shoulders!
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