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Spotlight on Screenwriting – A Guest Post By Rebecca Sebek

Screenwriting is the craft of writing scripts for film, television, or plays. However, video games do require a script as well. A feature film has three acts. Teleplays, screenplays for television, have four or five acts along with a teaser and tag. Plays can have three or more acts. Shakespeare’s plays have four or five acts! The one aspect screenplays have in common is they must appeal to an audience. If an audience doesn’t understand your story, you’re screenplay will not gain momentum.

Whether you’re writing a screenplay for film, TV, or play, it’s important to know and understand the elements of a screenplay such as scene, character, and dialogue. Crafting well, thought out scenes will help your story flow. You can ask yourself question such as do the scenes move too slowly or fast? Are they stagnating at times? How fast do you characters get in and out of a scene? Asking yourself these and other questions will assist you with scenes.

Characters and or plots usually drive a story. Writing compelling, solid characters is the key to attracting actors to your screenplay. You may want to fill out a character grid to help you get to know your characters. You’ll answer questions such as where was the character born? What is his/her hair and eye color? What is the personality type? What is their occupation? What is unique about your characters? How are they flawed? How will the audience relate to your characters? How will the audience react to your characters? Answering these and other questions can assist you with character development.

Many screenwriters struggle with dialogue. The key to writing dialogue is to just write it – get to the point! You have one minute per page to capture your audience. Frivolous dialogue will slow your screenplay down. It helps to hear your dialogue. Ask family and friends to read your dialogue so you can hear and listen to the words. Find local actors to read the words you wrote. Actors will know how to act the “part” and say the lines. You may cringe when you hear your words, but the feedback is beneficial. You’ll become stronger at writing dialogue.

You may want to move to L.A. if you’re serious about screenwriting. According to a former Hollywood insider, people will not take you seriously if they don’t see a L.A. address. They believe, “…if you don’t want to move to L.A. where the business is then you’re not a serious screenwriter.” Whatever you decide, keep writing and strengthening your skills.

A guest article by Rebecca Sebek, MSM who has the following webistes:

Freelance Writing WebsitesSavvy Writer | The WM Freelance Writing Connection

Life Coaching/Consulting Website – Bee-Empowered | DEORConsulting

Other Websites – All – 4 – Cats | Mistic Cafe

Image from http://www.sxc.hu

{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Jurgen is right. LA is crammed with people who can write. Just get an LA PO Box or accommodation address and a 213, 310, or 323 area cell phone. Put those contact numbers on your website.

    Right now, I’m focusing on marketing my one-acts. Nobody is writing three-act plays because nobody is producing them, except for Shakespeare and old standards, i.e., zero risk productions. A friend who is the gatekeeper for several theatrical companies says what’s crossing his desk lately falls into two classifications: (1) drivel (2) didactic works. Neither is likely to be produced.
    jorgekafkazar recently posted..Watcher in the Night decipheredMy Profile

    • Jorge, sounds like your focusing on what’s likely to work. Keep us posted.

      • Thanks, I will. I’m going to take a screenplay course at a local community college. The price is right and the commute short. Can’t hurt. I also checked out Jurgen’s site. Much good stuff there.

        Plus, I’ve been making lists of local theatre groups, a disheartening task. Fully half the links or more are dead. I’ve also heard that one of the major groups in Ventura County is running out of funding.
        jorgekafkazar recently posted..Watcher in the Night decipheredMy Profile

  • It’s important to know that “3 act structure” just refers to beginning, middle, and end. Unlike plays, you don’t indicate an act break in a screenplay.

    I’d advise against moving to LA until you’ve had some positive interest in your script–there are thousands of aspiring screenwriters in town. Here’s a strategy: get yourself an LA address (it can be a PO Box but looks better if not) and an LA phone number that forward automatically to you. This suggests you have an LA presence. If somebody likes your script enough to want a meeting, you can always fly out. (There are lots more tips on my website: http://www.ScreenWritingSuccess.com).
    Jurgen Wolff recently posted..What you should know about the Amazon screenwriting contestMy Profile

    • Ahh, someone who knows screen writing… thanks Jurgen.

  • Marie Farina

    I am looking for a consulant, I have 3 screenplays in the works. I need someone to help me for many reasons. Female only, if anyone knows of a consulant or website specifically for screenplay consultants please email me.

    • Anne

      Marie, email Rebecca, the article’s author… she may be able to help.

  • I live about 30 miles from downtown LA. I have a three-act play. A script consultant went over it line-by-line last year. We co-produced a semi-staged reading last summer and have it on DVD. I created a website with some logistic details. Based on the reading, I’ve tightened the script by about 5 minutes. What’s the next step? Thanks.
    .-= jorgekafkazar´s last blog ..Tenirax, Ch V =-.

  • Interesting. I was wondering about this because I had ideas about screenwriting. If (no wait; WHEN) I ever publish my books then I might want to adapt them myself if it comes up.
    .-= Elizabeth West´s last blog ..Push =-.

  • Thanks for the opportunity to guest blog! There’s a lot to learn about screenwriting. Knowing a script consultant helps. I had my short film reviewed three times and learn something new with each critique.
    .-= Rebecca´s last blog ..Bloggers Use Caution When Using Photos =-.

    • Anne

      You’re welcome… glad to have it.

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