Screenwriting Career: Tips On How To Write For Screen

Writing for screen is very different to other types of writing hence if you are interested in screenwriting and are looking for a career in entertainment, you should pursue a screenwriting degree that will teach you the skills required for making lines come alive on screen.

Fiction Vs. Writing For The Screen

Writing fiction is definitely not the same as writing for the screen so even if you have excellent creative writing credentials, don’t be disappointed if you don’t do so well with screenwriting when you start out. Fiction uses a lot of rhetoric that has no place in on screen dialogue and a screenwriting course will teach you how to dial it down and write appropriately for the screen.

Remember you need to keep the text to a minimum and say what you want to say with fewer words. Wordiness can be appreciate in fiction but is annoying in screenwriting.

Tips For Writing For The Screen

  • When you write for screen, it is usually dialogue or even a monologue, but it IS a person speaking and you must keep this in mind at all times. Even a voice over cannot afford to sound like it is being read out of a book. It must be real and must at all times, sound like something a person would say.
  • When writing for the screen, you must obviously keep your character in mind at all times. Keeping the character’s personality traits and quirks at the back of your mind, write thinking about how they would portray certain thoughts or feelings. By placing yourself in the character’s shoes, you will be able to write the mushy lines for the girl who is dying to fall in love, or compose a somber narrative voiced over by a grandfather.
  • When writing for the screen, always keep it simple. Excessive words and sentences that are too long may look nice in writing, but when your screenwriting has to be uttered by actors, it does not come across as real. Keep your sentences short and simple and as real as possible, depending of course on how the character speaks.
  • Fiction writers always paint a vivid picture with words by describing the scenery, the surroundings etc. However, as a screenwriter, your role is not to design costumes and do the cinematography, but it is merely to write the script. Of course you might want to include certain details but avoid moving off on a tangent about unnecessary details and descriptions.
  • Last but not the least, never lose focus. Keep the basic plot and your main character in mind and try not to veer off onto unnecessary side plots or chit chat. Rememebr, your protagonist deserves maximum screen time so write to achieve this result.

These are just some tips to help you write for screen. If you undertake a screenwriting course, it can teach you all you need to know and help you sharpen your writing skills so you can write effectively for the screen, for an audience and not for a reader.
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