Any film project begins with the script or screenplay. Trying to make a film without a script would be like trying to cross the ocean without any type of navigation.
What is necessary for you to make a Film? Equipment, Location, crew but the most important thing to start your movie is Screenplay. Without a screenplay you can't even start pre - production for your film. Understanding how to write a movie script also known as screen play is pretty challenging task but once you understand script format and structure you can focus on your creativity.
Here is a sample of Screen Play with the final scene From the famous Dark Night (2008)
What are screen plays?
The screenplay is the guide for the Producers, Director, Actors, Crew of exactly what will appear on screen. It is the common ground that everybody on the film will work with from start to finish of its production. It tells the complete story, contains all action in the film and all dialogue for each character. It can also describe characters visually so filmmakers can try to capture their style, look or vibe.
Since the script is the blueprint for the movie or TV show it is also the best predictor of cost.
Making a film takes careful planning of the budget and cost estimation can best be gleamed from the script.
Eg: If the film is mostly dialogue driven, with no special effects and limited locations the budget should be much lower.
Who writes a screenplay?
Undoubtedly a Scriptwriter writes the Screenplay or Script. But it's not only the scriptwriter who can write about the actions that are taking place in a particular scene that's where the Director comes in action. It's the directors duty to help the scriptwriter whenever he gets stuck. Also when it comes to what type shot will suit a particular scene the DOP comes into action. It's the DOP's duty to help the scriptwriter with any type of shot that will be used to shoot a scene.
Thus it's not only the Scriptwriter who writes the script but DOP and Director are part of it too.
What is a structure of a screenplay?`
Script structure is relatively easy but it's a bit challenging until you actually understand it.
In the most basic terms, a screenplay is a 90-120 page document written in Courier 12pt font on 8 1/2" x 11" bright white three-hole punched paper. One formatted script page in Courier font equals roughly one minute of screen time. That's why the average page count of a screenplay should come in between 90 and 120 pages.
Every page on the Screenplay must have 1.5 inch margin on the left of the, 1 inch margin on the right, 1 inch on the of the top and bottom, dialogue block starts 2.5 inches from the left side. Character names must have uppercase letters and be positioned starting 3.7 inches from the left side of the page. Each page should have approximately 55 lines. Page numbers are positioned in the top right corner with a 0.5 inch margin from the top of the page.
Below is a list of items that make up the screenplay format. Again, screenplay software will automatically format all these elements, but a screenwriter must have a working knowledge of the elements.
A scene heading is a one-line description of the location and time of day of a scene. You will either choose INT. for interior spaces or EXT. for exterior spaces.
Often, writers will use subheadings to show a change in location without breaking the scene, even if the scene has shifted from INT. to EXT.
In the bottom right of the page you will place transitions, but in modern screenwriting these seem to be used less and less.
When you introduce a character in a screenplay, you want to use all-capital letters for the name of the character, then a reference to their age, and finally some information about their traits and personality.
Action lines are where you describe the visual and audible actions that take place on screen. You want to write in third person in present tense.
Your lines of dialogue will be set underneath the character to which they are assigned. Dialogue is pretty straightforward from a formatting standpoint, but it is the most difficult part of screenwriting.
These occur when a character says something off-screen (O.S.), or if dialogue is voice-over (V.O.). You will see extensions when a character ends a block of dialogue, performs an action, and speaks more.
You can use a parenthetical inside your dialogue to show small actions, or even a change in mood without having to jump out to an action line.
The best professional screenwriters know how to suggest shots without actually writing in shots, but if you really insist on describing a particular shot in your screenplay you can format it like a subheading.
Download the Complete Dark Night (2008) Screenplay here:
Here is a small tip for our readers who have given their time and reached the bottom of the article. A script is not a easy task it has the plot line the dialogues the hard work of scriptwriter, director, DOP. So here is how you can protect your script. You can just watermark your script and protect it.
You just need to follow three simple steps:
1.Export your Script as PDF.
2.Add a header and footer to your script.
3.Add a watermark.
I hope this proved to be a useful article for you. This quarantine period try practising writing screenplays. You can always connect with me in the comment section for any doubts about the same.