Writing a Screenplay

2014 was the year I really got into movies and since then, I’ve dreamed of somehow being involved in the creative process of writing, casting, shooting, building, filming one myself. I’ve always wanted to be involved in some way.

I recently did some research on first steps into the world of movie production. I looked at schools, I looked at the many different positions and film occupations there are and fantasized about filling every one of them. I considered my skills and talents, and the money and equipment that I have at my disposal (or lack thereof), and eventually arrived at an exciting, and inexpensive decision: Im going to write a screenplay.

Put very simply, a screenplay is the script of a movie. The dialogue between characters, as well as acting directions, and sometimes descriptions of what a scene is supposed to look like visually and aesthetically.

I confidently describe myself as a good writer. I’ve always been interested in creative writing, poems, and writing my own books and stories, but I’ve always found myself getting tired of anything I choose to start writing as a book. I think very visually, and this is something you’ll hear a lot of people say, but its true, I work much better with pictures, scenes, and real faces and objects than I do with descriptions. I have an active imagination and regularly come up with things I’d love to see on screen. I hear a lot of people say they are very “visual”, and I believe them! Humans like to see. Consider the popular saying, seeing is believing. What’s more fun than a movie that convinces you, even for a short time, that the monster on screen is real?

Screenwriters write stories, as well as lay out what they’re seeing visually. They get to think in terms not of what people read, but of dialogue and space, and sound, and color. The best lines and moments in films can be traced back to writers who think up things like the timing, situation, buildup, plot, character backgrounds, and tone, of a cinematic moment.

AND, screenwriters who write a good screenplay are paid a lot for their scripts. Directors aren’t always writers, and their movies need good scripts! Maybe I’ll never write an Oscar-worthy screenplay, but I do want to share some of where I’m planning on starting and perhaps continue to update the status of my script-writing journey.

A lot of people know about the importance of diet and exercise. They know they should eat less, eat differently, exercise more – but they aren’t able to use what they know.

Then there are professional athletes who live and breathe the principles of healthy living. They use what they know because it’s their career on the line.

To work as a professional screenwriter, this is the equivalent. You have to do more than just know how to write a story, you have to know it at a deep enough level that you can use what you know. Otherwise, you can read scripts, watch movies, write screenplays, and STILL not get anywhere. ~Stephanie Palmer, goodinaroom.com

Yesterday, I began my pitches.

These aren’t even elevator pitches, they are 2-3 sentence pitches, describing an idea for a movie. I already come up with these every day, so I thought it would be a great exercise to record and compile a list of 50 couple-sentence movie pitches. 

I was surprised at my reaction to doing these. I only made it through about 6 or 7, during a break in-between classes at school. The first was hard. It isn’t always easy to get in the creative headspace. But by my 4th or 5th, I was coming up with so many ideas that were taking off in my brain into whole stories so fast, I had to slow myself down.

As someone who claims to be a creative type, it felt so good to actually create something, no matter how small or insignificant. I spend so much time doing assignments, playing video games, watching movies, and consuming creativity, that it felt great to produce for once.

I think this experience and exercise will build my skills and give me an outlet to communicate and express ideas, much less encourage me to get to work in other creative areas of my life.

Does writing, film, stories, and being creative excite you?

Maybe this is something you want to look into as well! This blog by Stephanie Palmer is one that gave me a good basis and direction for where to begin. Whether you’re the “type” or not, I encourage you to spend some time today creating something out of thin air. Write a song, a short story, a blog, build something with legos, paint with watercolors, whatever you feel is the most natural for you.

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