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By Johannes Helmold

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screenplay exampleWhen people talk about creative writing, usually they recall such forms as poetry, stories, or novels. However, there is another great and meaningful form: screenplays. Be it a theatrical or cinematographic screenplay, it is a form of creative writing that is much deeper than it seems to be. An author of a screenplay must consider thousands of nuances, including decorations, acoustics, and other technicalities. I’d recommend you to try yourself in screenplay writing; it is interesting, engaging, and may give you an unexpected and new perspective on other forms of writing you practice.

1. Get yourself acquainted with the basics of screenplay writing. Read some textbooks on how to write screenplays—either for the big screen or television—because it is different from what you might have gotten used to while writing stories or poetry. Also, make sure you understand all of the new terms and concepts. Make notes.

2. What would you like to write about? Find a topic that excites/annoys/scares or in some other way impacts you. What could be the possible conflict connected to this topic? This conflict will be the heart of your scenario.

3. Design the characters. I believe for theatrical plays, it is better to invent “convex” characters; by “convex” I mean characters who have more than one distinctive psychological trait, or personality feature that determines their actions. For example: curiosity, cowardice, malice, inferiority complex, and so on. Make sure such character types compliment (compensate) each other.

4. Pay attention to dialogues. Unlike a novel or a story, where you, as an author, can explain almost everything you need, in a screenplay, the context is usually expressed through dialogues and gestures.

5. Draft several different versions of the screenplay. Try looking at the conflict that lies underneath your screenplay from different perspectives. Do not rush to finish your writing; on the contrary, a reasonably significant amount of time dedicated to writing will give you a chance to come up with many interesting ideas.

6. You may also think about the music, sounds, and possible visual effects to accompany your play.

Basically, this is all the guidelines you need to try writing a screenplay. Of course, it won’t make you the new Shakespeare, but at least you can try yourself in dramatic writing.


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