Tuesday, 13 May 2014


I am currently teaching a writer’s course on how dialogue works in different genres, including film. So how do you write a script? Here’s some thoughts:
* Read plenty of scripts and see how the experts do it - get used to how the script looks on the page. Then watch the film itself and see how the script translated when filming actually began.
* About half of the content of a screenplay should be dialogue and the other half should be visual.
* Keep camera directions to a minimum. Let the filmmakers decide how to film the script.
* Action is important you need to keep the story moving.
* Keep the story well paced - generally, one screenplay page is one minute of screen time.
* Develop true-to-life characters. Know their history and why they react to events the way they do. And keep it consistent: if they are aged fifty in one scene make sure you do not have them celebrating their sixtieth birthday in the next unless it is part of the plot.
* If it helps, focus on a few key details that tell us what kind of person your character is. Maybe the person cannot wear a tie smartly, maybe their clothes are always grubby, maybe they never look anyone in the face. And when you write your scene, ask yourself if your character would really react like that?
* Before you write your script, write a list of scenes you want to include and what happens in each one. That way you can make sure your story develops in the right way.
* And finally, keep the balance right: you don’t want the first half of the film to be all dialogue, followed by 45 minutes of car chases.
John Dean

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