Basics of Scriptwriting: Do’s and Don’ts’

I’m currently trying to sort my activities in order before I go to the country side in less than a week to complete my first placements for the course I’m studying. It will take me away from home for 5 weeks. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about that but I’m certainly trying to finish up some of the activities prior to leaving. One such activity I must finish is a short 10min video tutorial on the ‘Basics of Scriptwriting’. I was invited as a guest speaker to a workshop that’s taking place in the next week here in Sydney, and I was asked to do a session on scriptwriting and it’s basics for the attendees. It was an exciting day for me, but it so turns out I can’t be present at two places at once, and since they haven’t yet invented teleportation, I’m settling down with doing a video tutorial and a short booklet covering basics so that people who attend can take something away from watching my tutorial and reading the accompanying notes.

I have yet to make the video, which I will be doing tomorrow night, but tonight, I finished up my notes covering the very basics of scriptwriting. I’m not really sure if I’ve covered all the basics that beginning scriptwriters will want to know about etc. so don’t know if my content is enough or too much.

Mind helping me out? If you’re into scriptwriting, or would like to know about it more, I wouldn’t mind a guinea pig to trial the information pdf. You’ll find just the beginning of the information I’ve mocked up. What you think? If you’d like a copy of the entire pdf which is 9 pages all up, then please comment below with email address and I’ll be more than happy to send it along for your perusal. To bad WordPress doesn’t do an attachment thing.

 

SAMPLE

 

BASICS OF SCRIPTWRITING

by

Eva Acharya

The Do’s and the Don’ts’ of Scriptwriting for Beginners.

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Eva Acharya has been writing for more than a decade and brings her creative writing and scriptwriting experiences to the forefront. She has previously co-written two Australian Feature Films, and currently has two short films in final phases of post-production. Eva is also writing is spec feature script that has been professionally assessed with positive reviews. Currently, she is collaborating with a Nepali producer and production house to pen a Nepali-Aussie Feature film currently titled, ‘Life Dust’. With two other short films in the planning for later this year, Eva is doing what she can to continually practice her scriptwriting skills. Other than scriptwriting, she is also a published novelist with works published as eBooks and in print. In Strange Company is her debut novel available through Amazon Kindle and Smashwords, for as little as $2.05 AUD, or hardcopy at $15.95 through the author herself.  Planning is also underway for her second book release towards end of 2014, Rule of Thirds.

If you wish to contact Eva, please do so through the email address below.

Thank you, and enjoy your journey into scriptwriting.

 

Warm regards,

 

 

Eva Acharya – (Freelance scriptwriter/director & novelist)

 

Contact:

Email: papermashed@outlook.com (Put ‘Nepali Film Workshop’ on subject heading so email isn’t deleted accidentally)

Blog: http://www.papermashed.com

Twitter: @evacharya

 

 

BASICS OF SCRIPTWRITING

 

Scriptwriting is a writing practice for all visual mediums: movies, tv shows, documentary, ads, music videos. Basically any form of visual storytelling that uses the film medium. Because film is a visual mode, the writing defers to how you would write a book or short prose. You have to understand the format and the techniques of a script before you can attempt to write one. There are many rules and these need to be adhered to.

Despite the fact that most would automatically think of the director or actors involved in the film, writer is the one must have when making a film. The script they write is virtually a manual on the making of the story. Therefore, don’t make the mistake of thinking scripts aren’t important.

FACT:

Scripts are the most important item in filmmaking!

Scripts aren’t just pieces of paper that tells a story. It is an important piece in filmmaking without which you don’t really shouldn’t begin even thinking about filming. Scripts are instruction manual. For each scene, the script tells you what time of the day you will be shooting, the location, the look of the location or set decorations/art direction, the characters, what they wear, how they act, etc.

Scripts tell the production team, headed by director and producer, in the details of every element that will be visible or audible on the screen when an audience watch it in the cinema. Elements include as costumes, lighting, location, set/art direction, mood, music, pace of editing, camera angles, any SFX or VFX that is needed etc.

This environment you see and hear on the screen is called mise-en-scene, and it is absolutely essential to the look and feel of the film.

Before anything else, always remember, scripts need to ‘show’ in the way they are written what is happening on the screen. Don’t ever TELL the audience what is happening, that is what books are for.

RULE 1

Show, DON’T tell.

This is the most important rule in screenwriting to remember: show, don’t tell. Film is visual, so everything in the script need to describe in as few words what is happening on the screen.

Show what’s happening visually, this includes emotions and actions of characters with and to one another.

Don’t tell what’s happening through dialogue, or use language that tells you what is happening. Don’t tell how characters feel, or want, or what they do. Show us what they feel, what they want, and what they do.

For example:

Showing:

SEAN winched every time Brenda stuck the needle in and tugged the string as she stitched up his wound.

Telling:

SEAN looked at Brenda stitching his wound.

SEAN

It hurts, Brenda.

 

From the above example, you see how the first ‘shows’ us what is happening on the screen without the character describing the event. When Sean ‘winches’ on screen, we automatically know that he is in pain. We don’t need him to ‘tell’ us.

 

SCRIPT FORMAT:

Industry scripts follow a strict format. In order to make your script writing simple and to take away the hassle of having to format your script yourself, you might like to invest in scriptwriting software. Some of the ones out there are Final Draft, Movie Magic Screenwriter, Movie Outline, Montage. Most of these you have to buy, or there is a basic one you can download for free, Celtx, which should be adequate for you to practice the layout of script form.

Before we get into how to write a script, let’s look at the layout so you understand the way scripts defer to a book.

 

 

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‘Painted’ -another 6seconds entry to film competition

This is totally an experimental clip I made and thought why not enter it just for fun!

Follow the link below and watch it. It’s only 6 seconds! :) it’s a social commentary on the pressure women feel to look ‘pretty’ and very often than not rely on cosmetics to hide behind.

Watch it, like it, vote for it by clicking the heart. The more votes, the higher chance of it going through to the next round to be judged! Help a fellow blogger out! :)

TROPFEST #TROPVINE #MIRROR entry. ‘Painted‘ modern day hideNseek behind cosmetics. http://t.co/pEarWCnwbT http://t.co/azhzaMiDLT watch/vote!

Ta

IMG_1677.PNG

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Urged to write on, and faster!

I must chug along and getting writing with ‘A Million Smiles for June’. A dear close friend of mine has been following the tale and I was unawares. We met up for the day today after a long stretch of finding a day/date that suited us both. In just a conversation about what each other is up to lately, I was urged quite passionately to hurry up and ‘write’ the next bits in that story already!

So here I am, after midnight, about to add the finishing touches to Chapter 7 in Chad and June’s story. Especially now that I know so many people are in fact waiting for me to get on with it and give them more! Thanks Beansie!

(Don’t know what I’m talking about? My latest novel, for which I’ve been posting chapters as I write them on here. Just follow the story and hope you will like it too. The more people urge us on, the faster we writers deliver.)

Happy reading this Monday morning!

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Shortest Movies Ever!

Heard of Tropfest? It’s a huge international short film festival that started in Sydney some 20 odd years ago and right now, they are open for submission till October.

I’m aiming to enter a film to the official film festival, but in the mean time, I’m having a ton of fun just experimenting with ultra short films for another thread in the festival. They have started a 6 seconds Trop Vine festival and that ends on the 21 of sept.

I’ve got one short in the competition and just entered another one. I’m hoping they will get watched by a wider audience, and who knows, if I even have a chance.

Help me! :)

I entered ‘Wish Box’. Would love it if you all watched it and voted for it and really get me stuck in it. To vote, all you have to do is click on the link below, watch the 6 seconds of film and click the heart to cast your vote.

‘Wish Box’ http://t.co/91yMpLBhAh it’s about a girl that finds an old trinket box at an apothecary and finds out it has little vials of wishes. Which would you choose?

If ‘Painted’ gets accepted then I’ll post up a link for you to enjoy that one too. I only just made it today and entered it. It’s a commentary on how much modern women feel/ or do hide behind their makeup.

Enjoy!

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Krew News! All The News To Kollaborate To!

Originally posted on Andy Kaufman's Kavalkade Krew Featuring The Wandering Poet:

Tali “IcePack” Jackson, a wonderful blues artist, wants to collaborate with me on his next album.

Tali has played with Bob Dylan, The Monkees, Bette Midler and many others, and is a truly talented musician.

We are gonna make a billion ruples.  And I am definitely pro ruples!

Elise Muller, actress in Parenthood, joins the cast of #Romae, and will appear in the next published webisode.

@Fancienanc, Hollywood agent, introduced me to Elise.

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Lili is writing her blog as we speak to recount her wonderful Saturday with @ameliaceja at CejasWinery.

The trip was interrupted by the Napa earthquake, and Lili made it home safely on Sunday.

Amelia and her family…

View original 248 more words

Signed Book Giveaway: interested?

Yup, that’s right. I’m thinking I’ll give away a copy of In Strange Company to one lucky WordPress follower amongst those interested. This obviously depends on the interest out there amongst you guys to grab a signed copy, personalized to a name you suggest. If so, can we hear about the different countries the interest is coming from so I can find out how easy it is to post it out to that location should it get pulled out of the barrel? What say? :)

What’s the catch? Nothing much except I would really love to hear about your thoughts on the book, if you’ve already read. And whether you’d be interested in reading sample chapters of the next release. I’m just putting the thought out there and see what you think.

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Fairytale Twisted: Sleeping Beauty’s Kiss

Why question the world, whether it’s real
let dragons exist, breathing fire
and fairies float like gypsies unhinged
there yet may be a miracle indeed
where hearts of stones melt indeed
as midnight’s strokes mean nothing
no hurry to be the undoing of many.
So simple it be, the sleeping beauty beneath
a prick of spindle did send indeed
her entire castle to sleep, sound and undisturbed for centuries
till roaming the lonely corridor brought boredom
and for adventure and cure she left her kin
in search for that one kiss from a stranger destined.
Such folly, such folly magnificent
for a princess to leave
the crown, the safety,
into the woods deep.

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Sample Chapters of upcoming Novel

I know many of you have bought a copy of my debut novel, In Strange Company when it first came out. I have a proposal for those who have read it already, and if you liked it and would love to read the beginning chapters of my next book put up your hands. I’m thinking I’ll provide complimentary chapters to those who are interested in reading the new book. And in exchange, I just want to hear your thoughts on how you found it etc, or other commentaries, suggestions you might have.

For those who haven’t got the previous book and would like to read the new one’s sample chapters, I’d love it if you would consider supporting me with a purchase of the debut work and then let me know that you are interested in the new. That way I can send those chapters to you.

Rule of Thirds is a contemporary drama with romance elements through it. The reason I’m interested in getting a trail run happening with the sample chapter is to get a feel of how it is received by the audience because it’s gone through a bit of a face lift.

If you’re interested in helping me out, please leave your comments below, or email me at papermashed@outlook.com

Thank you so much! Means the world.

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Fairy-tale Twisted: Old Grumpy Gretle

Once upon a time
deep in the woods, beyond the pines
where light was green, filtered through lush canopy
there, where the soaked earth remained for days
there, where the birds took solace from beasts
roamed a little old She in a clearing.
Her grizzly mane, the yellowed teeth,
those manic eyes beneath the fringe,
or such smile as there ever was,
the curdling cacophony
circles upon circles at the edge of trees
her eyes ever scanning, ever seeking
the one and only path to free.
There was a day of old in memory
when the woods had be thinner still
and dear old Papa had seemed caring
leading his kids to safety, hungry and in need.
Not such a good Papa, thought she
staring back at the old house, crumbling,
soaked like cookie in tea.
She’d been a young one once,
with a name, and a sibling
till the evil old witch thought she’d feed.

Round and round the trees she went, manic and mad,
freedom from the trees,
no more bread crumbs remained,
Just weak old Gretle, frail.
Lonesome and loathing were the days.

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Advice: Killing your Darlings!

There are advice and then there are advice!

Who has heard of ‘killing your darlings’? I bet many of you have, whether you are in the writing business or film business, or any other business that has used it to essentially say kill the idea/project/scene/dialogue etc.

I’ve heard it on numerous occasions as advice, joke, or have used it myself. It sounds like a dangerous advice, but it is a very sane and useful advice. Especially for those creatives who fall in love with an idea and find it hard to modify/delete/rewrite etc because they are too attached to the project.

I used to be one. Believe me, I used to be one. Not a creative, but I mean, one who was always too attached to the project for its own sake. Ever since I’ve braved the blogging world where publishing is instantaneous, it really doesn’t leave much space for hiding. And when you no longer need to hide, you finally tend to come out from under the rock and see how much moss your creative property has gathered all the time you refused to emerge into the light.

A year ago, I sent my second novel out to get it professionally assessed because I was already looking to send it out to publishers, and for that, I needed to know how it stacked up. Yup, you heard right. My second book has been finished for over a year. Then where is it? What’s happened to it you wonder?

I didn’t kill my darlings! That’s what happened. I got the assessment, and refused to listen to the sage advice. I crawled back under the rock. Then life got in the way and I haven’t really given the book much attention since then because I was caught up in study and blogging and getting back into film.

Now it’s time. Since I published my first book, I’ve crawled back out into the light and I now see what they were advising me to do. Kill all those scenes that weren’t absolutely essential to the story, no matter how much it hurt.

Rule of Thirds was laid out as present/past/present, telling the main character’s story in a non-linear parallel format that juxtaposed past/present. The advice that had hurt the most? Kill all the past! That was hard to bear. Past was interwoven through 3 quarter of the book, it held soul, it held poignancy. I was not ready to murder that which I had created. Hence I refused to work on it for the last year.

Now, I’m back on the wagon, and in the last few days I have effectively killed the darling chapters of the past, and whatever was essential in them for the story, integrated into the present. Am I happy? Yes. I see it clearly now that I separated myself from it for a whole year.

Sometimes for the story’s sake, we have to do what feels harsh. We have to delete that which doesn’t work, or replace it. But whatever you do, do not refuse to kill the extra weight, extra darlings if it’s serving no other purpose than to increase your word count, or repeat the same information.

I’ve killed 3 chapters already.

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