Introduction To Story – Write It!

Meet the Instructor:

Guide Justin

Justin’s IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0243943/

What is your story?

Think of an idea for a short. What kind of story do you want to tell that is under 6 minutes. Keep your ideas simple, conciece and to the point. Overcomplicating can cause confusion to your audience. Remember, if you don’t understand your film, how will your audience?

On set of “RACK”

Next, think about what kind of genre is your film? Genre is the style such as Horror, drama, sci-fi, fantasy, comedy or perhaps even experimental. Use your own life experiences to pull from and can include a sitution that happened to you a few days ago, 5 years, or even be about your friend or another family member. Keep in mind the scope of your project and to keep it simple.

Look around your house and see what kind of locations you could use easily. Do you have a big backyard? Is there a stairwell? Do you have family members that would agree to act in your movie? There are no Hollywood budgets at your disposal just yet so remember to keep it simple. Does your film have a solid theme and does your end reflect the theme you want to tell? Does it have a plot twist catching your audience off guard? ah ha!

Write Your Script!

Write your script. In short films, it is difficult to come up with a story with solid beginning middle and end, but with the right setup, you can accomplish your goal. Sometimes its easier to start with an ending to your story and from there you can work your way backward.

Other ways may include revolving a story around a location, character’s actions or even a prop. Found a lightsaber in the backyard? Neat! How did it get there? When writing your story, typical formatted screenplays are about 1 minute of screen time equals 1 minute in your film. This is not always the case, but it’s a great rule of thumb.

If our goal is to make a 6 minute movie, give yourself a budget of 5 pages just so you have a bit of wiggle and breathing room. We may hold on a character’s reaction, add a few more seconds to a shot, or perhaps give our actors 2 extra lines of dialog during production.

Consider your audience. Who’s watching your film? What are their ages? What interests would hook them into watching your story? Are you writing a film about your grandparents? Your little brother or sister? Or perhaps you are making a film for yourself.

Write the stories that inspire you and films that you would like to see first and foremost.

Fine Tuning Your Script

Screencapture from Writer Duet

Scriptwriting and screenplays have a basic format and structure. I’ve found the best way to learn how to write them is just to read them. See how characters are introduced, how are actions handled, how long are the descriptions? Does the script flow from one beat to the next?

Sometimes a screenplay is written by someone else and it is up to the producers and directors to bring that vision to life. Do you have a friend who loves to write? Perhaps work out a deal to make their vision a reality. Ideas will come to you when least expected so always have a way to write down your ideas and organize them. I use Google Keep for all my story ideas and they are broken out into various sections. Visual ideas, dialog samples, or perhaps short themes or scenarios that could happen to a character.

Another great idea is to play Storytime Theatre. (A game I would play with my kids) Start by picking a Color, object, place, and a character name and you have 1 minute to say out loud a beginning, middle, and end.

Scripts sometimes take months, years, or centuries to write. The more you write the better your stories.

Software:

Writer Duet (my favorite)
Celtx (free)
Final Draft (industry strandard)

and I took the pleasure of googling Best Screenwriting software links for you: https://www.studiobinder.com/blog/screenwriting-software/

Some are free, others are subscription/paid.

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