Screenwriting : Help writing a script by Jennifer DiSilvestro

Jennifer DiSilvestro

Help writing a script

Stage 32 Help! I need advice. I have so many ideas for scripts, but when I try to get them down on paper they do not seem to come alive like I see them in my head. How do you all get through this to make your visions work? It is so frustrating! Is there possibly anyone in Texas that may want to collaborate with me? How does that even work. Oh help please help. Any and all advice welcome!

Adam Tester

If you can muscle through the first draft then you can flesh out the script through re-writing and editing.

Aray Brown

Have you tried outlining your scenes before actually putting them together?

Jody Ellis

Books about the craft, outlining and just slogging through that first draft are all things that can help. You just have to do it.

Nelle Nelle

I agree with everyone else. It's normal to feel this way. You have to know that great stories are not formed in the first draft, despite how amazing we all believe we are :) it takes many drafts, many edits and some times pivots, to end up with the great story in your head. And if you're lucky, one that's even better!

Danny Manus

Jennifer, I do a great brainstorming session with my clients that could be helpful. to go thru all the ideas, flesh them out and see where they could go and which are the right ones to focus on. if you're interested, or want more info, message me! would love to help.

C.m. Andino

Jennifer, I teach a screenwriting course and one of the first things we go over is what to do with that brilliant idea that made you want to get into screenwriting in the first place. I'd be happy to get you started on the right path if you message me.

Guillermo Ramon

I would take some script writing classes. A script does not just tell the story we want to convey. It is an organized set of ideas that are put together along a plot. It has a well structured beginning that tells us who our characters are and give us an expectation for a story. It has a middle that may include separate parts, depending on whether it is a one, two, or three act. and it must have a culmination, in which all the key forces meet. If it is a feature or at least a two act, a back story will be needed. Our viewers want to know who the protagonists and antagonists are,how they became who they are, and what their problem is. The audience wants to have expectations for the characters, enjoy how they solve their problems, and see them transformed by the story. I don't know about other people, but it took me a long time to learn to write something that others would like to produce and audiences would enjoy watching. For me, it was not a matter of seating down and writing a script. It was a matter of learning, taking classes and paying attention to criticism.

Don Bold

Omg I thought I was the only one with this problem thanks for posting and thank you to all the responders for posting very strong coping mechanisms

Jennifer DiSilvestro

Thank you all for your responses. They have been very helpful ,and have given me some insight into things I can do to help myself move forward.

William Martell

There is a learning curve. Finish the first draft of Script #1 and set it aside. Write Script #2. Go back and rewrite Script #1. Keep alternating scripts - adding new ones - and you can use what you learn from the new script to improve the old ones. Like a pot or tea, stories need time to steep. This is part of the outline suggestions. Let the story brew in your mind for as long as it takes - know the characters and story and the emotions you want the audience to feel. Come up with the unusual and unexpected scenes. When you can see the movie in your mind, and it's great - write it. Writers are magicians - our job is to amaze the audience. If you are the audience member and have no idea how the trick is done, you won't be able to make the story magic. That's what experience and forethought brings.

Geoff Webb

Sometimes a good idea is just a good idea for one scene but a screenplay is a whole lot more than that. Your idea needs to be BIG enough to last at least 90 pages. Think about the arena your story takes place in and expand it.

Dayna Burnworth

I'm in Dallas. :) You have to do it. Just get it down. If you're struggling being a 'pantser' you might want to become a 'plotter' and lay your story out before writing it down. Learn how to storyboard and outline.

Guillermo Ramon

There is a new interest in one minute videos. That's a way to start. Character development, plot, arch, and all those nuances we deal normally in our writing are not involved in one minute videos. Just write a situation. It may be a simple way to begin.

Anthony Moore

Here's my jumpstart method -I have a 6" Kindle with "speech to text". I simply open a document and let the ideas fly. Once that's done, then I go back and reorganize. Putting it all together in a coherent state. Then I separate the wheat from the chaff, as it were, and remove what I don't need or throw it into a different document for later. The stuff that's left gets copied and pasted into Celtx. Once I fix the formatting I usually have anywhere from 5 to 15 pages. Try it out. Most android tablets and Windows computers have some form of speech-to-text.

Phillip "The Scribe Who Cares'" Hardy

Jennifer: It all begins with some kind of outline or story synopsis. I've written a story synopsis in as little as four hours and no more than few days to come up with a story with beginning, middle and ending. Also, you can do an outline of scene ideas. Today, a client sent me a treatment they wrote in MS Word. They've never written script before but had 40 pages of scenes plotted out. It wasn't all good but a lot of it was usable. I also recommend if you write a synopsis, do in a journalistic style with the who, what, when, where how and leave out any unnecessary detail. Don't put in any dialogue. Just write no more than two pages of what your scripts about with the main characters, conflicts, obstacles, setbacks, inciting incident and make sure you include your ending. If you need further assistance you can PM and I send you an example.

Joe Fiserano

You need to outline. That is the only way to know if your idea is good enough to work on it or not. Some ideas are better for series, some are great for novels and some are suitable for a screenplay. You don't need to know anything technical at this point, really. Just write down what your story is about, who are your characters and what needs to happen. Once that's taken care of, start playing with it by asking "what if" questions to see where you can go with it. This has to be done to see if a story can come out from your idea. What makes a novel or a movie is the story, not the idea. Idea is your starting point, it's not the whole picture at all. If you can turn your idea into a story with beginning, middle and an end then you are onto something. You are not done yet. Your last step is to rethink if the spark is still there and what you have still has an appeal. That's how you know the winners and losers. There are so many new starters that just run with the idea to see that in the end, it's not going anywhere. Outlining and developing a story all the way to the end will save you so much time, because you will have the blueprints in front of you and you will know what exactly to write and what will happen in what order.

Guillermo Ramon

These are things that help me write a story: 1 - A character I want to write about. I like to conceive my main character at the very beginning of my work. This normally leads me to create a close supporting character, a possible love interest, and an adversary. 2 - A situation that pushes my character into action or a dilemma. 3 - An objective for my protagonist (I was trained in The Method). At this point, I can start writing the first draft. I will be looking for the next things. 4 - A reason for the antagonist to confront, fight, or try to stop the protagonist. 5 - A through line At this point, I have the basic play (script) 6 - A situation that seems to lead to the end of the play in an unsatisfactory way, but that leads to an unresolved climax - end of first act. 7 - regrouping - second act 8 - A moment in which all the opposing forces meet - climax 9 The result of the climax is a resolution and falling action, but the main component here is the transformation. The characters have changed because of the climax and what led to it.

Dan Guardino

Save the Cat beat sheet helps me when writing a screenplay.

Guillermo Ramon

I have worked on commercials in which we used storyboarding. That is drawing the scenes on papers that we place on a board to present the ideas to the advertising company or the client. This can take 20 or more hours of drawing work for a 20 second commercial. A feature is about 300 times as long. Making a few sketches will not be so helpful. Going to someone who knows, like a teacher, and studying about the structure of a play, a movie, commercials, etc. will help much more than anything else. I remember when I first started studying engineering, At the beginning of a design class, the teacher assigned us to design an airplane. We made our little models, and all crashed on take off. Then, we learned that we had to learn to design before we could design. I don't see why script writing should be different. Your script won't fly until you learn the elements of composition.

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