Most people have a great story to tell, but a skilled screenwriter to knows how to take a great story and shape it into a film script. Check out these tips on writing a film script that will engulf the audience in the world of your story:
Most writers create stories that are closely related to their own lives. Think about your own life and your experiences growing up. This will help you craft as story that is both vivid and close to your heart. Also think about interesting articles you have read about other people’s experiences. Consider adapting a great book that hasn’t been done before (this can be challenging depending on how popular the book is or how much it is in demand). Keep your mind open to many options. There are some great stories out there to tell!
Read classic scripts to get inspiration from their structure and storytelling methods (script-o-rama.com). Most scripts can be broken up in 3 acts: the first act introduces the characters and the conflict, the second act escalates the conflict, and the third act resolves the conflict. You will see that some scripts follow the traditional structure (E.T.) and while some are more unorthodox (Usual Suspects). See what structure fits with your story and let that influence you.
Getting the right script writing software will help you format the script in the correct way and allow you to solely focus on the story. The industry standard software is usually Final Draft or Movie Magic Screenwriter. There are free software programs that you can download from the Internet like Celtix and Simply Screenplay (both geared toward PC).
Once you have your story do a rough outline of the events. You can be as detailed as you want. Some writers like to follow a structured outline while others prefer to let the story develop as they go.
You’re story should be all about the characters. Write a description of each character in your story. Be as specific as possible. Include their age, profession, socio-economic background, religious beliefs, sexuality, thoughts towards other characters, and the list goes on! This will help guide the relationships and will greatly influence where the action happens.
Now that you have laid your foundation start writing! Keep in mind that every page represents a minute on screen. Most feature-length scripts are between 90-100 pages. Focus on your characters motivation, conflict, and growth. Make the dialogue sound like real life and give each character their own distinctive voice. Go to a coffee shop and listen in on what peoples conversation sound like to guide your dialogue (practice your dialogue out loud too).
Get feedback on your first draft from friends and other writers. Writing is a collaborative process, and you will find that others will see motivations in characters that you never even thought about. Also consider getting a writing partner. Some of the best films ever made were written by a duo (Citizen Kane, Good Will Hunting).