Professional / Visual Arts & Film Studies Essay


Basic Screenwriting


The process of screenwriting can be a very complex one if you try it for the first time. But this changes once you understand the script structure or format. A screenplay is usually between 70-180 pages and comes in a straightforward format. As simple as it may sound, not knowing how it is done makes it very tricky. This course seeks to help students master the basics of screenwriting to have the necessary understanding should they seek to go into that aspect of the Cinema. It takes dedication and time to create a worthy screenplay, and it will take more than one draft to get the perfect screenplay that will be turned into a movie.

You may be wondering how important it is to write the best screenplay imaginable if you're planning to sell it commercially. But consider this fact. All the big studios in Hollywood buy between 100-200 screenplays annually. When you consider that between 25,000 and 50,000 screenplays are registered annually, you will see the competition within the industry and how you have to be very good to get something out of your screenwriting. In order to have a successful career as a screenwriter, you must be ready to invest time to learn everything about the craft; only then can you craft something unique and establish yourself as a good screenwriter. That said, there are things you should know about screenwriting.

Here are the basics steps for screenwriting.

Craft A Logline

This a summary of your story, a very short one at that. The logline is usually one sentence, and it describes the entire story that you are working on. This includes the protagonists and antagonists—the goals and conflict. The essence of a logline is to give the premise of the story as well as the underlying emotional import of the story. In the past, people printed the logline on the screenplay's spine so that producers can easily understand the story and know what it is about even before they start reading the script. Today, screenwriters usually communicate the logline orally or they add it to the treatment.

Write A Treatment

Treatment is also a summary of the story, but it is a much longer one that is usually between 2 to 5 pages. It will include the screenplay title, logline, the list of major characters, and a brief synopsis. The treatment serves the same purpose as a logline. It is for marketing purposes, and the producer could just read the treatment to find if it is worth reading the entire script. The synopsis, generally, highlights all the basics of your story and its turning points. By just reading the synopsis, anyone should have an idea of what your story is and feel for your characters even before they read the actual story. By writing a treatment, you get to view your story and understand what you need to improve before writing the story.

Develop Your Characters

Creating characters is essential to your whole story, and you have to get it right to have a good story. Creating real, relatable, and likable characters will help to sell your story. Your characters can contrast your story's central question, and as the story progresses, the characters will transform to fit into the role you want for them. You have to ensure that your characters are interesting, and the reader and subsequent viewers will find it to emphasize with them.

Plot and Outline

You have to break down your story in terms of how you wish to narrate it and map out the scenes. The narrative components of your story is critical, and you have to get it right. There are different methods you can employ when outlining your screenplay. There are screenwriters who use notebooks or flashcards to plan out the entire script. The more detailed your script is when doing the outline, the easier you will find out the plot and write it. When you are plotting your story, you should always focus on how you are building tension. It is essential for you to know how to create suspense because it sustains the viewers' interest.

Write The Draft

You should write the script based on the outline, including descriptive action and dialogue. In writing a screenplay, the first ten pages are the most important. Given that the producer has many scripts to read, they are rarely going to have time to read through everything. By the time the producer read the first few pages, there should be enough interest to make the reader want to further. The format for writing a screenplay differs greatly from normal writing. Although there are various elements similar between screenwriting and a normal story, the action's descriptive nature requires everything to be in the present tense. It must be done in such a way that the audience can hear or see. The strict format for screenplay might be hard to get, so you can use software to make the process easy.


The writing process is never finished, especially not with the first draft. Once you're done with the first draft, you should take a break and come back to it. After the first draft, you need to refine the dialogue, tighten the action, and edit everything. You must have to rewrite a script a couple of times before it can be perfect enough. In the final draft of your screenplay, use enough white space so that the story can be easy to read. Don't condense the action or use longer monologues, which may make it difficult to read through.


Screenwriting is something that will take more than one course to learnBasic Screenwriting, and this course merely gives an introduction to the basics. Anyone who intends to pursue a career in screenwriting will need more than the basics.


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