Writing is not easy, especially Writing screenplays. In fact, in order to get good, you need to write as often as possible.
Here are 5 Secrets that I find common in really good scripts. Of course, these are not the end all be all secrets on this subject matter because it is so long it would take publishing several books to cover the ins and outs of screenwriting.
1. Have a great inciting incident. The is the motivation for things to happen. It gets things moving and provides context for the rest of the Film. This doesn’t have to be action packed but it does grip the reader or audience right away. It is the key element that will propel your protagonist and antagonist into action.
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2. Make every page a cliffhanger or a page-turner. Now, I am exaggerating a bit, but a good screenplay should leave the reader on the edge of his or her seat. This means you should structure your scenes in such a way that not only keeps them guessing as to what happens next but creates a burning desire to want to know what happens in the next scene.
3. Tell your story visually. Too often writers try to explain everything through exposition. Instead, use symbolism and imagery to convey the meanings you are trying to communicate to the audience. Remember the old saying a picture is worth a thousand words? Well, try trimming down your dialogue and include more visual expression. For reference, check out the film China Town starring Jack Nicholson.
4. A really good script typically has a great and complex villain. In fact, the best films are the ones that have an antagonist that you love to hate. But you shouldn’t forget that their motivation for being the way they are shouldn’t be trivial. Too many films suffer from poorly written villains whose motives were unclear.
5. Have your protagonist be imperfect. In fact, the characters that are written the best are usually those fighting with inner demons. This forces them to go through some type of character arc which, when dealt with, gives them the strength to confront and be victorious over the antagonist.
Bonus Tip: Try telling your story in a nonlinear fashion. The problem I have with a lot of the films that Hollywood produces is that they presuppose that life happens linearly. When I saw Deadpool I wasn’t blown away by it but I loved the non-linear structure that they used. It made the film more interesting. Although this can be a powerful storytelling technique, it is not easy to do. So you should try writing a few stories about it to get the hang of it.
Don’t forget that once you have written your screenplay try and get some feedback. You might think it’s a masterpiece of literary work but others will give you more of an objective opinion. But, if you are really serious and want to master this craft, I really believe you should watch as many movies as possible to study the writing.
Then write as many screenplays as you can. The more you write the more you’ll define your voice and style! Good luck!
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