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How do you approach writing a script?

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Writer Arena:
Babz would like for you to tell her your specific approach for writing a script. Do you outline?  Do you wing it?  Do you details your characters or just have a sketchy idea of who they are? 

Hey Michael and Babz,

I think there was a previous thread on WA that was similar though no "probs".

I know everyone is different so I will outline the method I use below and attach a few files to illustrate how I go about things.

I do find that some of my screenplays do require a significant amount more research than others. A feature I wrote was based on a serial killer, and I had to get into the mind of a serial killer in order for it to feel realistic and this did take some time and effort.
The comedy I recently completed a draft of required very little research, though I am currently outlining a controversial historical type screenplay based in the 1800's to 1900's and this has consumed a fair amount of my time in coming up to speed with the chain of events as well as the time period.

The steps I use are as follows:-
       1. An idea pops into my head and I think about it for a couple of days then write a rough synopsis.
       2. I undertake my own research, depending on the requirement of the storyline (this could take anywhere from a few days to a few months depending on the complexity of the story.
       3. I create a spreadsheet similar to the PDF attached and outline the scenes and story.
       4. I spend a month or two, on and off the project outlining the scenes and putting these into the spreadsheet.
       5. Once I am happy with the spreadsheet and the flow of the story, I commence and get stuck into Final Draft and get a first draft of the screenplay completed. This can take anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks depending on the amount of free time I have.
       6. I do a read and fix as many typos and grammar issues as I can find as well as altering any dialogue that I feel (Tickles my nose). An minor EDIT.
       7. Some family members usually do a read and picks up anything that I missed as a fresh set of eyes help. They also comment and let me know their thoughts on the story. Another minor EDIT.
       8. Now I register my Copyright on the screenplay just to cover my small but cute little arse.
       9. At this point I usually ask a few people whose opinions I trust to undertake a read and give me their thoughts. This usually causes a rewrite with scenes being omitted and some added and a couple of extra typo's etc fixed. A major EDIT.
       10. Now things start getting exciting even though I am usually pretty impatient from the start of the process. I now send it of for some coverage and sit tapping my fingers on my desk while I await the response. Another major EDIT.
       11. Another read or two by some associates within my (Inner Circle). Some minor tweaking.
       12. Depending on how keen I am and the amount of spare time, I sometimes get stuck into creating Character Bios of the leads, as this gives me a better feel for their backstory and personality. A few minor changes. The Bio that I have attached below, was requested by a director of a short I wrote. ENJOY.
       13. Well now that there has been so many changes to the original script I register the copyright again.
       14. I STOP. As at this stage, I am usually at around Point #4 on another screenplay.
       15. Time to market the script (The business end) . Even though I do have a vast background in business and marketing, the screenwriting world is an area I really need more experience with in order to be able to market my screenplays and get my name out there. I feel point 15 onwards could amount to another 5 or 6 steps in order to get your screenplay marketed yourself. Alternatively use an experienced Agent like BABZ, from here on.

I know all the points above do inspire some and frustrate others though most forms an essential part of screenwriting.

As mentioned above, the attached PDF is a copy of an outline that I used.  I just completed a first draft of "The Boy with the Golden Spoon" and the recommend column outlines the changes required as part of the first major edit. At the bottom there are some overall recommendations. I hope you guys find all this enlightening.

Everyone is different and I find that by doing the research and outlining the story as I do, it makes the writing process a breeze and I can get through that stage easily. Also I use this outline as a guide and find it does change during the writing process to incorporate ideas that pop into my head along the way.

Any questions and I would be more than happy to assist.

Regards Alex

PS don't forget to refer to the attachment and the thick red line separates the, Beginning, Middle and End.



I go to my list of ideas...and kick some around...ask my girls and my best friend ...what they think...then I pick per their likes and I sit down and write. Every now and then I'll put a simple skeleton beat sheet together but it's real sparse. I do not think hard on theme because it tends to look inorganic if I do. I send my ten pages to my coverage girl (If I have money that week) and to my best friend. Then I write the rest. I learn a ton from every script I write. There are some that I lose interest in if I have too many breaks in the writing process. I would love to be able to get my idea and lock myself in a cabin for a week and pound it out. That's just me. I think it's more important to get it 'out' ...that first draft even if it isn't perfect ....you can go back to it after a few weeks...but as writers we have to produce. We have to write. We can study and study and practice and make things pretty but we have to write scripts....from beginning to end. And we need to have many scripts or at least a very good 'ready' handful before we ever talk to anyone(I learned this lesson a hard way) ... :)

I think I love Alex. Yep. I do. Thanks too, Dena.


--- Quote from: Nybabz on September 23, 2013, 04:44:53 AM ---I think I love Alex. Yep. I do. Thanks too, Dena.

--- End quote ---

Back at ya Mrs. steps 15 to 20... Hee Hee


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