Tips for Writing Your Script - Part 2
So you've done some brainstorming, you have an idea, and now you've begun writing your script! Keeping momentum can be challenging, so here are a few things we've learned along the way that can help make the process a little smoother.
Write Within Your Means
This applies if you are planning on shooting and producing your script yourself. It is important to stay realistic with whats possible for your budget. If you are working with no budget at all, then keep the story contained to maybe 3-5 actors and 1 or 2 locations you have available. This is also helpful in realizing your scenes. If you are shooting at a friends apartment, then you already know the layout of the location which can provide you with a clear idea of how you want the scenes to unfold.
Write every day if you can. I know it sounds daunting, but it's important. The key is to not wait for the perfect moment to write, but to make sure you are writing even when you don't feel like it. I compare it to exercising, it sometimes can be hard to peel yourself off the couch and get started. But once you do, and you get in your groove, you feel a lot better that you did. The only way your script is going to get finished is if your putting words on the page every day.
Get Out of the House
Getting out of the house and writing in a new location is always encouraged. Sometimes being in your home environment can stifle creativity. TV, video games, social media, food, bed; all of these things can be a huge distraction. Get out of the house, go for a walk, write at a coffee shop or restaurant. It will make you and your mind feel a little less cooped up.
Reading other peoples scripts is the easiest way to learn technique and structure. Read scripts, then read more scripts. There are lots of free online script databases out there but I would start with IMSDB.com. Also, it can be fun and helpful to follow along with a script as the movie plays.
Rewrite, Rewrite, Rewrite
This is simple. You are going to be revising your script a lot; cutting, adding, changing or starting over. This is part of the process. It always feels good to complete a first draft, but it is important to know that you are far from finished. Your first draft is never your final draft.
Cut the Fat
Does every scene and situation serve a purpose to your story? This can be difficult for lots of writers (including myself), but if a scene or idea does not fit, cut it out. You may love the idea and desperately want it to stay in your script, but if it doesn't ADD to the story then it's got to go. That's ok though, just save it for another script. You never know where it might fit down the road.
Showing your script to someone can be nerve-racking so it's important to show it to the right people. Don't have your family members or close friends read it. Most likely they don't have much scriptwriting or reading experience and will probably just give you vague comments like "I liked it" or "Good job!" Instead, show people that have knowledge and experience in the craft of screenwriting. Ask them to take notes and then have a meeting with them after they read it. When they do give you feedback, listen and absorb the information. Expect that things in your script will need to change. If you are not open to criticism, then now is the time to get used to it, because it's going to be very prominent throughout your career.
These two parts are only the beginning. From writing your script, all the way to shooting your film, we will continue to bring you more tips and strategies every month! Happy writing!