For our first films, short and feature. We had the idea then went straight into producing a script. We now have another movie in the works that we are in that pre-production stage. In this project however, we didn’t go from idea to script, this was actually a fleshed out story with goal, motivation and conflict.
Here are 5 tips for turning your story to a script.
Yep, you are screaming in your head cliché. It might be in fact it is but that doesn’t take away from its truth. You can’t cook without cutting up ingredients. You can’t drive a car without gas or solar power. In the same vein, you cannot, absolutely cannot write without reading. Whatever genre, style or formats, to write you have to be a good reader. Read everything concentrating on your genre but even outside of it. A good place to find old scripts are Script Collector, The Internet Movie Script Database or just do a Google search.
2. Whose Story is it?
The story can be told through the eyes of more than one person. The key is early on in your outline, you have to make the decision. This enables properly plan out their character arc. In the movie Tempting Fate, the story was told from the eyes of both brothers. Both had goals, motivation and conflict. This was carefully intertwined to get a great story.
3. Where does your story start?
Are you starting from the beginning and telling a chronological story? It’s easier but not really exciting. You can stretch yourself by starting in the middle and working your way through. That way you keep the audience trying to connect the dots. In Tempting Fate, the movie started from the armed robbery scene which was the pivotal action that changed the trajectory of both characters in the movie. We then worked our way back and front. A piece of advice, no matter where you start, cut out any dead space. Get to the point fast. This is called starting with a trigger incident.
4. Build Structure
This is the time to knock everything together. We do this utilizing the Three Act Structure: Act One is the set up. Act Two comprises of the obstacles, and the final Act Three is the resolution. This is the basic skeleton; within these three sections you would have sequences. The number of sequences varies according to genre. We used an eight sequence structure for Tempting Fate, it is pretty much universal.
5. What works best?
We are strong believes of doing what works for you. For all our movies and clips, were have written the scripts in house. Final Draft is a good tool. But if the task is absolutely daunting for you, hire someone to do it for you.
Bonus Tip: Elements of a killer logline. Who (empathy), dilemma, action, goal with a twist of irony.
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