Monday, January 30, 2012

Book into a Movie : What Each Screenplay Scene Must Accomplish

Book into a Movie--What Each Screenplay Scene Must Accomplish

Author: Danek S. Kaus

The scene is the basic building block of a movie. In screenwriting, every scene must move the story forward in some way, that is, show the protagonist taking the next step toward the goal, the antagonist attempting to thwart the protagonist or reveal information. If you write a scene that doesn't do any of these things, cut it.

[caption id="attachment_178" align="aligncenter" width="650"]Book into a Movie : What Each Screenplay Scene Must Accomplish Book into a Movie : What Each Screenplay Scene Must Accomplish[/caption]

A scene usually takes place in one location and for a particular period of time, unless the scene dissolves to a later moment. Then it is usually considered to be another scene, even if it is still the same location.

According to who you ask, the definition of a scene may vary. Robert McKee, one of the gurus of screenwriting and author of the book 'Story,' says that a scene may take place in several locations if it is the continuation of a particular event. He gives the example of a couple arguing as they get ready for work in the bedroom, eat breakfast and drive to work. By his definition, that would all be one scene.

I believe it's best not to get too hung up on definitions, but focus on understanding the concept. A scene is a usually single event happening at one point in time that moves the story forward. But even this idea can get tricky.

Say you're writing a courtroom story. You come to the scene where the prosecutor, who is the protagonist, interrogates a defense witness. He forces her to reveal that she is the girlfriend of the bad guy and that she has been lying. That's one event.

She cries. That's a second event. The accused grabs the bailiff's pistol and shoots the judge, That's a third event. The detective who arrested the criminal shoots the bad guy in the arm. Fourth event. Reporters rush out of the courtroom. Fifth event. And so on.

Still, despite all these things that are going on, this is essentially a single event-the prosecutor questioning a witness. Information is revealed, and the DA has moved closer to his goal of putting the bad guy behind bars.

Just like the entire script, each scene must have a beginning, a middle and an end. It must be a complete unit of your screenplay.

Begin each scene at the last best possible moment. In the kitchen example above, don't waste time with a lot of set up. Don't show the wife or husband, rooting in the fridge, cracking some eggs, putting bread in the toaster, dropping the eggs in the frying pan if these actions don't move the story forward. Start the scene when the second person enters and continues the argument that started in the bedroom.

Another critical element of constructing a powerful scene is to consider, and reveal to us, what each character's attitude is at this moment. Are they happy or sad? Depressed or confident?

What does each character want? And what is his or her attitude about getting it?

Finally, who gets what they want and who doesn't? What is each character's attitude about that?

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About the Author

Danek S. Kaus is a produced screenwriter of an award-winning feature film. He has two movies in development and three more of his screenplays have been optioned. Check out his his screenwriting site for more articles on screenwriting. You can also request his Free Ebook screenwriting for authors

Movie Script Writing - Why It is Harder To Turn A Book Into A Movie?

Screenwriting-- Why It's Harder To Turn A Book Into A Movie Than It Is To Turn A Movie Into A Book

Author: Danek S. Kaus

One of my screenwriting Twitter followers asked me the question: Which is harder-turning a book into a screenplay or turning a screenplay into a book? Without any hesitation, I responded that it' s much more difficult to turn a book into a movie.

[caption id="attachment_173" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Movie Script Writing - Why It is Harder To Turn A Book Into A Movie? Movie Script Writing - Why It is Harder To Turn A Book Into A Movie?[/caption]

For one thing, you have much less room to tell the story when screenwriting. A novel can be 80,000 - 100,000 words and more, and take up hundreds of pages. A screenplay must, with very few exceptions, run 90 - 120 pages, with lots of white space on the pages. Average word count is somewhere around 20,000 - 25,000 words.

The reason for the strict page count when screenwriting is that the rule of thumb when making a movie is that one screenplay page equals one minute of screen time. It doesn't always work out that way but you still need to watch your page count.

So you can see the problem from the outset. Books have much more room to develop their themes, stories and characters. They can spend a lot of time describing a scene or a character, and delve deeply into their backstory. Although it is important to be aware of page count because of production costs and marketing, novels have less exacting word counts.

Novels can be more flexible. They allow the writer to spend time on what interests them most. Novels also allow authors to have fun with the language, to show off their poetic flair, if they want to. For many people, including me, part of the joy of reading a great novel is the writing style of some of my favorite authors.

A novel can reveal to us what a character is thinking. In screenwriting, you can only write what can be seen and heard on the screen. Sure, there are voice overs, but most directors and producers prefer not to have them unless absolutely necessary.

Screenwriting must be minimalist. Character descriptions tend to be very general, in order to allow for more casting options. Also, movie dialogue must be much shorter. Every sentence and every word must move the story forward in some way.
Novels can have multiple subplots. Most films only have one or two, if any. There's simply not enough time for them to develop in about 90 minutes.

Another reason that screenwriting is so much more difficult is that the audience only has a brief moment to absorb all they can form each scene. When people read a book, they can go back a few pages if something is not clear. You can't do that in a movie theater.
In books, words tell the story. In movies, images, along with dialogue, tell the story, but images are preeminent.

On the other hand, for the reasons listed above, and others, turning a screenplay into a novel is a much easier process. The writer can use all those ideas, characters and subplots they had to discard because of space and time limitations. They can have fun with the language and more easily reveal the thoughts, emotions and motivations of their characters. If your novel is a few thousand words above what your editor asked for, you can probably get away with it. But if a screenplay is too short or too long, it gets tossed without even being considered.

One challenge that a screenwriter may encounter when turning a screenplay into a book is that they now have to be more specific with details of locations and the visual appearance of their characters. So, although writing a novel is not easy, it is easier that writing a screenplay.

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About the Author

Danek S. Kaus is a produced screenwriter of an award-winning feature film. He has two movies in development and three more of his scripts have been optioned. Check out his his screenwriting site for more article on screenwriting. You can also ask for his Free Ebook screenwriting for authors

Movie Script Writing - Book into a Movie : Screenplay Format

Book into a Movie -- Screenplay Format

Author: Danek S. Kaus

If you want to be successful at screenwriting, you must first learn proper screenplay format. Screenplays look very different on the page than novels do, and they have certain length requirements. If your script doesn't look right, it will get tossed without further consideration.

[caption id="attachment_168" align="aligncenter" width="700"]Movie Script Writing - Book into a Movie : Screenplay Format Movie Script Writing - Book into a Movie : Screenplay Format[/caption]

It must also be the proper length. Newbies to screenwriting often make their scripts too short or long. They need to be between 90 and 120 pages. If a script is too short or too long, it will get thrown away without further consideration.

Left hand margin should be 1.5 inches. This allows room to punch holes for brass brads that hold the script together. Right hand margin is one inch. One inch margins top and bottom.

Be sure to use only Courier or Courier New 12-point font. The reason for doing this is that movie makers use a rule-of-thumb that one page of a screenplay is equal to one page on screen time. Using different fonts would make that rule unreliable.
When you begin your script, write FADE IN: in the left-hand margin, one inch from the top of the page.

Screenplays are written in scenes, not chapters. Every scene begins with a slugline that states where and when the scene takes place. They begin with either INT. (interior) or EXT. (exterior). Next you indicate the specific location followed by a dash and the time of day.

Here is how the slugline looks:


Next, drop down two lines and describe who is in the scene and what they are doing. The first time you introduce a character in your story, their name should be ALL CAPS. After that, use traditional capitalization. For example:

ALICE WALKER, early 20's, wearing an inexpensive suit stands, at the blackboard, writing out math problems in the empty classroom.

Begin the dialogue at 2.5 inches and end it at about 6 inches. Character names in dialogue are in ALL CAPS and set at 3.5 inches.

If dialogue jumps to the next page, put (CONT\'D) below it. Begin the next page with the name of the character followed by (CONT'D) on the same line.

There are some more rules for screenwriting format, but these will get you started on the right track.

If you're really serious about a career in screenwriting, consider investing in screenwriting software. The two industry standards are Movie Magic Screenwriter and Final Draft.

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About the Author

Danek S. Kaus is a produced screenwriter with two films in development. Three of his screenplays have been optioned. Several author have hired him to adapt their books into movies. To learn more visit his  Screenwriting site. You can also learn about his Screenwriting Services there.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Movie Script Writing - Steps to Writing a Good Movie Script

Steps to Writing a Good Movie Script


Before you should think about ever becoming a good scriptwriter, there is one basic requirement that you should develop early on; that is to practice writing about whatever it is that you have in mind.  It is true that scriptwriting is one of the most fundamental tasks in making movies.  In fact, before a director could come to work or even before the cast is assembled, as story and a script should first be created and prepared respectively.  Apparently, the jobs of the director and the actors rely much on what is written in the script.  However, nobody is born a scriptwriter.  Therefore, you should not expect to be an award-winning one with your very first project.

[caption id="attachment_163" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Movie Script Writing - Steps to Writing a Good Movie Script Movie Script Writing - Steps to Writing a Good Movie Script[/caption]

The key to becoming a talented writer is practicing on a regular basis.  You may wonder how you would be able to write very often without any particular topic in mind.  That is actually the challenge.  A prolific writer does not wait for inspiration; he looks for it.  For as long as he has senses and, of course, the brain to process everything that he sees, hears, tastes, touches, and smells, he would always have something to write.  Once you feel that you can already begin trying your hand at scripts, watch plenty of movies, especially those known for good screenplay. Observe how the dialogues are made. Put your focus on the lines of the actors.

Since it is the skill in scriptwriting that you want to develop, seek inspiration as to what story you should have in mind from others.  You may even a movie already as an inspiration.  Afterwards, try to develop your own script on a scene-by-scene basis.  You may try to refer to a scene to an old movie and make your own screenplay for it.  Just like other forms of writing, a script is communication that is best appreciated by other people and not the scriptwriter himself.  Therefore, let someone read it and be open to criticisms.  Better still; ask a few friends to actually deliver the lines and find out if what you have written is not awkward when actually spoken.

Even during the reading of the script, be ready to introduce changes if these mean making the screenplay more effective and realistic.  It is actually when the script is read or delivered that you would find out if these are natural and not too formal.  Remember that main difference between writing a short story or a novel to movie script is that that latter is more conversational and natural.  Unless you are trying to make a Shakespearean film adaptation, avoid being too formal in the dialogues.

As mentioned earlier, writing a script may take years to perfect.  These are years where you actually practice a lot by writing short dialogues to scene scripts and, later, to full feature screenplays.  You can always strive to win an award for your screenplay.  However, be realistic by taking small steps towards your goal through constant practice.  Always be open to suggestions, especially if these come from those who have been in the business long enough.

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Find out more about how to come up with a good movie script by checking on Filmmaking Mastery.

Movie Script Writing - Screenwriting Class

Screenwriting Class - Become The Backbone Of A Successful Film

Author: Adolph Paul

When we think about favorite movies, it is the rich and engaging story lines and the captivating characters that make them memorable. There are, of course, other important elements at play, such as costumes, settings or a favorite actor that is part of the film. But the core of any movie is the script, which is the vessel for the story line, the conflict, the characters and the dialogue, and details a visual translation of those ideas. Without a good script, there is no great movie! On first glance, being a movie screenwriter may seem to be an overnight way to make millions. In fact, it is a very difficult task that requires skill, endurance and some luck. If you believe you have the ability. Learn all the ins and outs of a script through Screenwriting Class or Script Writing Classes.

[caption id="attachment_160" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Movie Script Writing - Screenwriting Class Movie Script Writing - Screenwriting Class[/caption]

Script writing is a skilled art, but often a forgotten ingredient in the silver screen success story. If you're looking for a different avenue through which to enter the film industry, here's a rundown of the essential components of a script and essential script writing elements. Screenwriting Class, Script Writing Classes helps to gain from reading screenplay books before he/she start his/her own masterpiece. By taking advantage of these tools that are been provided by theses Screenwriting Class, Script Writing Classes
Somebody who wants to learn screen writing will be able to have a greater chance of success in screenwriting and filmmaking with the following tips.

These classes help in:-
-How to develop ideas for your screenplay that will sell
-How to format your manuscript properly
-How to network with Hollywood so that you can get your script read
-How to market your screenplay to various parties
-History and principles of filmmaking and story design
-How to find a screenplay editor that you can trust

If you have a creative, imaginative mind and a good grasp of the written word, script writing could be a perfect career or hobby for you. There is a range of Script Writing Classes available to teach you the necessary skills and give you appropriate practice, guidance and experience before putting your ideas and work out there. An integral aspect of script writing is mastering the written word, including punctuation, spelling, proof-reading and structure. There are a number of other courses that can further develop these skills.

Anyone who is looking to make their way in the world of writing for TV and movies need to go to these Screenwriting workshops that will provide a basic platform to the young and budding script writers who are ready to join the silver screen's roll of honor.

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Jacob Krueger offers script writing classes.