Scriptwriting

Every film must have a script before pre-production can begin.

Click through the images below to find out how to lay out a script.

Illustration of scene headings in scripts

Scene headings

Some people find this the hardest stage of the film-making process, but a number of approaches make this easier:

  • Make sure that your story is simple and straightforward enough to explain to someone else in just a sentence or two. A story idea with too many characters and too many events will be harder to write and may not work well as a film.
  • Think about locations, costumes and performers you will be able to use. You can then design your script with those resources in mind.
  • Give your characters goals which audiences can immediately understand and which are linked to visual elements. A child trying to a reach a certain toy on a high shelf is a good example of a character goal we can understand visually.
  • Follow screenplay formatting rules. In the film industry there are strict rules as to how a screenplay is typed up and formatted. The main rules are outlined in the example below

Always visualise your script and think about how every moment will look on screen.

What exactly will we see or hear when we watch the film? Think about how every action might be directed.

For example an action in a script might read “Kevin gives Rebecca his phone number".

In theory this screen direction tells us that Kevin has given Rebecca his telephone number but it does not tell us how he done so.

Has he texted her his number and will we see him do that onscreen? Has he written it down for her on a piece of paper? Or has he given her it on a fancy business card? When writing your script you need to be clear about details like that.

Finally, carefully re-read the script and rewrite it if you need to.

Maybe your story idea will work with less dialogue or you might need to make the story a little clearer.

It is always easier to amend a script before you start filming.