Movie Making Manual/Writing

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This Module is part of the Movie Making Manual
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Writing is the creative process of developing a concept and putting it on paper. The main method of doing this within the media and moviemaking approach, is to write a Screenplay.

Subtopics[edit]

The Writing Process can be quite long and tedious depending on the approach you take. This guide will give you an overview, but note that not all steps are necessary.

The Concept[edit]

Further information: The Concept

The concept of a film is in simple terms, what the movie is going to be about. For some people, this may be the hardest part in the creative process as it can make or break a film, but some may already have an idea. From here, the concept should be developed, stretched out and planned.

Usually a, or a team of writers will sit down and plot out the story, highlighting major key points and refining some concepts and coming up with a timeline of events.

Writing[edit]

Further information: Writing
Further information: Rewriting

And now the actual writing process begins. The screenplay is the format used for writing films, as it provides a good amount of deal to help guide the filmmaker in creating the film. It is similar to a Blueprint, but it isn't as exact as it allows room for other creative decisions.

After the screenwriter writes the screenplay, they will generally rewrite it, removing unnecessary sections and adding scenes to the film flow and be better understood. The first pass for rewriting will fix grammar and other small errors. It is estimated that 80% of writing time will be spent on rewriting.

Pitching[edit]

Further information: Pitching

After the numerous amount of drafts and time spent rewriting, you should now have a pretty decent script. So what comes next? Pitching. Pitching is where you take your script, and throw it at a bunch of people, in the hopes that someone will pick it up, pay your money and make it. That's the basic idea, and how you go about that is obviously the deciding factor.

When you pitch, some people decide to write Spec Script and option that off to potential filmmakers. The general idea is to be as visual as possible and provide the best imagery as possible For example, which do you believe is better?

  1. Amores Perros opens with a shot of a dog.
  2. Amores Perros opens with a shot of a slavering pit bull terrier.

Resources[edit]

There are a ton of really awesome resources for screenwriters, and a lot of free software to aid in the process. In terms of writing, some of the web resources include:

  • Word Player is a phenomenal resource. Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio are working screenwriters who co-wrote the DreamWorks animated feature SHREK, winner of the first Academy Award for Best Computer Animated Film in 2002. These guys have written a number of brilliant essays and articles on the art and business of screenwriting that are essential reading.
  • The Artful Writer is blog on "information, theory and debate for the professional television and film writer".
  • Free Film School has extensive articles on all phases of independent film production from developing screenplay ideas to marketing the finished film.
  • Screenplay Talk is a free community for screenwriters to share ideas and discuss industry trends.


Further Reading[edit]

Screenwriting (Wikipedia)