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Tips on Writing a Screenplay

Many people who write harbour a desire to see their work not in print but on the screen; writing a screenplay, however, is a very different process to writing a novel , story or even a poem.

When writing a screenplay you need to keep in mind that you are not writing for a reader, and nor for a viewer, but for a director and performers to be able to interpret your ideas and bring them to life as you want them. Whether adapting a written work for the screen or creating an original this is still the case, and there are some essential tips that will help you to achieve success.

1: Take on board the industry requirements: as with a written manuscript there are expected standards that should be adhered to including the font (readable and double spaced) and only using double spacing, plus the method and manner in which speech and stage directions are laid out. These need to be followed strictly or your screenplay will not be acceptable.

2: Keep it simple in terms of presentation: just as asked, and nothing more. No fancy decoration, no detailing, nothing more than is asked. There are no points scored for a pretty screenplay, just one that reads well.

3: A screenplay, as said, is not a novel, so do not write it like one. Keep your writing to the point and succinct, with detail where needed, but do not stray into the areas of camera directions and the like; you are the writer, not the director - that is his or her job.

4: Read screenplays by others. This is vital advice for it gets you into the groove of treating the written word as a screenplay; it is a totally different world, and one with much to learn, so take the time to see how others do it.

5: Join a writing group and talk to others who have written screenplays, and take on board their advice - learning from someone else's mistakes is always less costly than making your own.

6: Edit and rewrite, and then check thoroughly for grammar and spelling; there is no excuse for poor presentation and grammar, and there is no excuse for not rewriting your screenplay again and again until you are 100 percent happy.

Writing a screenplay is an interesting and exciting process, and when you finally see your work translated onto the screen the satisfaction is immeasurable. Have patience, gather all the information you can, and you will enter an enjoyable world!





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