If it ain’t on the page, it ain’t on the stage.
Good advice in all aspects of life, but especially in entertainment. If a play lacks focus or snappy dialogue, that clumsy stage show will have its final curtain call sooner than later. If your video script lacks vision or is hastily constructed, you’ll find it difficult to film or even finish.
Movies depend on a script. You can have a great idea, line up solid actors, scout locations and team up with a talented music composer, but until the script is finalized, you’re not going anywhere. So, get writing!
Outlines give perspective on where you wish to go with your movie. Breaking story down into clear acts, then further breaking those into smaller segments of scenes which support plot goals will make the ultimate scripting process flow smoothly.
In Hollywood, film treatments are utilized. These are straight forward summaries of a movie. Treatments are usually not detailed, but may include as much detail as the writer wants without bogging down in minutiae. Sitting down and simply telling the story with as much detail and color as you feel comfortable is a good initial strategy. Later, you can go back to trim what’s unnecessary, since you’ll only want what you’re actually going to film for your project.
Script format can drive anyone crazy. Thankfully today there’s a whole host of great script software available. It may just be a small video or an Indy feature you’re writing, but format is not only standard, it will help you in the long run.
By using the wide margins, dialogue blocks and film directions of scripts, a director can not only track a production much more efficiently, but can pencil in notes on the set when ideas and experiences of filming is fresh in their minds. Despite the romantic view of the tortured writer slaving away at a desk PC or typewriter, much of the writing of movies take place as they happen. Rewrites go on constantly, as what was originally scripted just isn’t feasible for the film crew to capture, or dwindling funds have made the budget less than accommodating. The bottom line is wherever you may write or when, arming yourself with one of the big script software packages is a must. Final Draft, Scriptware and Movie Magic are three of the biggest and even MS Word can be programmed with macros to enable standard screenplay format.
Once only the luxury of big budget flicks or animated epics, story boarding – the visually representation of a script – is now much more common. By using the comic strip like format of story boards, film makers can see shots and whole scenes before they’re filmed. This saves time, money and more than a little sanity.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to be an illustrator to use storyboards. Stick figures may sound laughable, but all you want with story boards is an idea of the physical placement of your actors in their scenes. If you have the artistic ability or can enlist a good illustrator, by all means do so. However, just by using Photoshop or another paint program, you can achieve usable storyboards to help visualize your project.
Scripts are the backbones of movies. They act as blueprints for film projects, so ensuring they’re written clearly will make things more fun and efficient once the filming begins.