We all know that scriptwriting can be a hard and very long-term task. But the pay-offs of success are, of course, more than worth the effort. But if you don’t write your script in the right way, you could be setting yourself up for failure before you’ve even set your first scene. With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few essential scriptwriting ideas that will help save your script from the shredder, or certain doom. We’re not saying that your script won’t succeed by not implementing the following ideas, but you’ll certainly find that the end result will be a more polished, cohesive, piece of work which should, all being equal, mean a better viewing experience for movie-goers. If you’ve ever wanted to be one of those highly paid scriptwriters sitting at home on their Broyhill furniture while their movies are all green lit, these tips might be just what you need!
Beg, borrow, and steal for reviews
In much the same way that authors do when they self-publish novels to marketplaces such as Amazon, screenwriters too can benefit from having their work reviewed by the many bloggers that do so on the web. You might wonder what benefit you get from doing this, but think about it: a positive review of your work online is like a free advertisement, not only for the movie script that’s reviewed, but also for you as a scriptwriter. There are many sites out there that you’ll be able to request a review from, including blogs such as ScriptShadow. Just be sure that when you solicit a review from these people, you do so in a way that doesn’t seem desperate or pleading. Something that says ‘hey, here’s something I wrote and I think it’s pretty great, please feel free to review it.’ That way, you’re not being pushy and you keep things nice and friendly. If your script is good enough, them accepting is a review script should be a snap.
Write with someone else, even if you don’t want to
This is something that many scriptwriters will take unkindly too; and that’s not a slight on writers. In fact, it has much more to do with the fact that when we write something, we want to keep control of it. But sometimes, there’s good reason to share the writing process with someone else. Ever hit a roadblock when working on your movie scripts? Having someone else there to bounce ideas off might be exactly what you need. Working with a scriptwriting partner is very common, as you’ll already know, so if you’re still going solo and you’re eager for success – it might just be time to reach out.
Never skip the editing phase
There is a huge temptation upon finishing a script to get it fielded as quickly as possible. You’ll want to get to the very last word, print it out, and get it out there in front of agents or even actors. But there’s a crucial step that must always be adhered to, no matter how tempting it is to skip: editing. And not just self-editing, actually employing someone else to go through the script word by word and check for consistency, grammar, spelling and more. Ever hear the phrase ‘can’t see the wood for the trees’? If you’ve been working on your script for a long time, giving it to a fresh pair of eyes (and a red pen) can be the best thing to do.
Let it breathe
Here’s a tip that comes straight from the great horror writer Stephen King. In his book ‘On Writing’, King suggests that whenever a writer finishes a piece of work (whether that be a novel, short story, or movie script), they should put it in a drawer a leave it. Not just for a day or two, but for weeks or months of end. The purpose? To give yourself that critical eye that you’ll never have when your mind is still wrapped up in the characters and the story. Leave a script in a drawer for a month, then read it again, and you can take on the role of the potential agent or actor – and assess its strengths and weaknesses objectively.
So what are you waiting for? Get pen to paper, or hands to keyboard, and make your next script the best one yet.