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tonicwater79 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tonicwater79 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Mar 2017 at 10:36pm
Wow, lots of great info here.
 
I just registered for the Screenwriting Challenge 2017, and have never written a screenplay before! I love a challenge (as if being assigned our 'genre, subject and character' isn't enough, right?).
 
I took part in the Short Story Challenge and while I only got an HM, I'm pretty satisfied with it since I also happened to draw the one genre I didn't want. (political satire)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote stephenmatlock Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Mar 2017 at 10:51pm
Me too!

I wrote a radio play which was produced, but I was winging it, and the director indulged my ignorance.

For a contest I want to do it right!

Any basic advice? It's always a mystery to me how to determine what thing goes where, and how to style it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote aerolissa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Mar 2017 at 10:14am
Hi! For software, I would highly recommend WriterDuet as a tool for writing screenplays. The main features you would need are free. ( https://writerduet.com/ )

Same goes for Celtx ( https://www.celtx.com/index.html ), though I have been having better luck since discovering WriterDuet from a screenwriting competition I entered back in January. Regardless, both are cloud-based and require a log-in, so good news is you can take it anywhere, bad news is you have to be online. As aforementioned by another user, they do all the standard formatting for you.

If you are someone who prefers physical resources as opposed to web searching formatting answers, I would recommend this book: https://www.amazon.com/Hollywood-Standard-Complete-Authoritative-Script/dp/1932907637/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1490367243&sr=8-2&keywords=hollywood+screenwriting+guide - I had to buy it for a screenwriting class back in 2012 or so and I still reference it constantly for all kinds of questions.

For an all-around tip: only describe that which can be seen (when it comes to action lines). Leave feelings out of it. This comes up for show/tell rules in fiction, too, but it's even more of a rule in screenwriting. So, for example, in your screenplay, you would not want to say: "Marta cries because of her dead cat." or "Pablo feels confident.", you would want to go more the route of: "Upon seeing her dead cat, Marta cries." and "Placing his hands on his hips, Pablo struts up next to Marta and grins widely, puffing out his chest." Do your best to focus on the visual and what can be seen/heard without reading minds and your screenplay will come to life.

As always, however, sometimes rules can be broken.

One last quick thing, everything must be in present tense. Sounds obvious, but I always have to catch myself switching back and forth.

I lied, one more thing: white space can be your friend... in the sense that you don't typically want big blocks of action/description or dialogue at one point in time. Try to break it up with action, dialogue, or just make a new paragraph (this can give your screenplay more emotional impact and set the tone, especially if you have a genre like suspense or drama). This is where reading other screenplays, as previously suggested, might help a lot. Tarantino is always a fun read: http://www.pages.drexel.edu/~ina22/splaylib/Screenplay-Inglourious_Bastards.pdf

Hope this helps and best of luck! I'm still deciding if I want to try the screenwriting challenge.

Edited by aerolissa - 24 Mar 2017 at 11:32am
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stephenmatlock View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote stephenmatlock Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Mar 2017 at 10:47am
Thank you! I now have a Writer Duet account and will use this to create/format my screenplay for the contest.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote stephenmatlock Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Mar 2017 at 10:50am
And I ordered the book.

Thanks!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lisafox10800 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Mar 2017 at 1:30pm
Originally posted by stephenmatlock stephenmatlock wrote:

Thank you! I now have a Writer Duet account and will use this to create/format my screenplay for the contest.

Stephenmatlock, I too now have a Writer Duet account.  It seems pretty easy to use.  Look forward to doing Screenplay with you!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote nicayal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Mar 2017 at 1:04am
Thanks to everyone who offered tips and suggestions. I registered as well and I've never written a screenplay either.

I ordered The Screenwriter's Bible, by David Trottier (possibly recommended here?) and was planning to use Scrivener's screenplay template, although I may look at Writer Duet. It sounds a little more intuitive.

I'm looking forward to this, even though I'm pretty intimidated to try something new like this under a time crunch. That may be the only way I ever try writing a screenplay though, so cheers to new things, right? :) 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote LoboGal26 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Mar 2017 at 7:28pm
Despite writing screenplays for nearly two years, I haven't committed to screenwriting software yet. I'm a bit 'old school' when it comes to giving control over to a program and I found how to build a template in MS Word. This template http://www.awn.com/blog/how-turn-microsoft-word-terrific-screenwriting-program has been really useful. Maybe if I ever become a commercial success I'll feel compelled to pick a software program.

The only pieces of advice I would offer are to be cognizant of Show vs. Tell...very cliche, but oh, so important. And if you have a favorite screenwriter, take the time to read through some of their available scripts on sites like IMSDb or SimplyScripts, pay attention not only to the format but also to the structure of the plot, subplots, plot points. My personal favorite is Billy Wilder, who was not only a great director but also a great screenwriter.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ash2356 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Apr 2017 at 7:32pm
Hi Lisa

I've signed up for the contest too though I've never attempted a screenplay. I figure the pressure to have something "finished" by a date would be the best way to get me in.

The thing I'm worried about the most right now is formatting and such! I'm taking a look at the free software out there...
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stephenmatlock View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote stephenmatlock Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Apr 2017 at 7:42pm
I bought the recommended book "The Hollywood Standard," finished reading it today, then set up Writer Duet to convert my short-story challenge effort into a script. (By "convert" I mean "I typed it in as if it were a script and not a short story.")

This is hard work!

The dialog part is difficult enough, but handling the change in POV is hard, as well as how to frame screenplay shots correctly.

Well, the best way to learn is to try.
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