Elements of Great Screenwriting

1Hollywood is a very competitive industry. It has a basic standard of quality and professionalism that’s expected across the board. Your scripts should meet that standard in order to be considered. And you achieve that quality and professionalism by studying the craft of screenwriting.

To be successful and maintain that success as a screenwriter, there are a variety of elements of great screenwriting that you must learn.  Here are 5 of them as a sampling:

  1. As a starting point, you need to know how to do all the formatting correctly.  You absolutely must do this correctly or no executive will even consider reading your script.
  2. You also need to know how to develop a character arc and create interesting, castable characters all the way around.
  3. You need to develop your ability to write great dialogue that people want to quote. Study this by observing great, quippy dialogue in movies.
  4. Making up unforgettable names for your characters is another aspect of your writing that will make a reader remember your script.
  5. A critical element of a great story is building momentum with your plot points and structure.  If you don’t do this, your story will seem episodic or just plain, outright boring.

There are many skills that you will need to develop over time that will help you as a writer and make your scripts stand out. If you haven’t taken classes and studied screenwriting, be sure that you do so.

There are lots of great teachers, books, interviews and much more to study your craft endlessly. Study classical literature and drama to really understand the nature of story. It is endless what you can do to become a great writer.

Start studying NOW and never stop.

Despite what some people say, I do NOT think that you get better just by writing more.  If you are not bringing awareness to what you are doing, you could write 15 scripts in a row that are still crap. — MELODY JACKSON, PH.D.

On the other hand, it’s not enough to just study it either.  You must bring both left brain and right brain skills, theory and application.  That is when your screenwriting will really start to grow in quantum leaps.

Always be studying, sharpening your skills, and deepening your craft.

As you write more and more and conscientiously and apply your new skills, you will find that you may start to write scripts that are truly magical that will blow Hollywood away.

If you feel your script is ready to blow Hollywood away, then it is time to get it out to producers and agents. If you feel it is not at that magical place yet, then you may want to consider getting a top-notch professional critique.