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Step By Step-Movie Script

Let’s make a good old step-by step hierarchy.This is very important, especially for a first time filmmaker, who might think that only a good idea and luck are enough. Filmmaking it’s a very long way to your goal, of course if you are not Uwo fucking Boll.

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Step 1-Find ideas

Sounds easy, right? Writing a script is a long and hard process. For this article, I initially closed down the process of inspiration, because as we know, there is no standardization or formulas for that kind of process. Each man has his own visions and fantasy. If you are finding it hard in the first stage, the only thing I can recommend, which I learned from personal experience, is to expose yourself to books, movies and more books!

Step 2-Sketching

If you already have a finished plot in your head, you just need to make a short plan, or what I call, “sketching”. Write all your ideas on a paper and try to make a hierarchy of the chapters; this will be your main tree!

Step 3-Download sample script

Visit IMBd or other sites which provide a free movie script database. Download and read a movie script. Then you can see that the movie script has his own structure and language. Script writing has its own rules, and if you learn them, it will make it easier to optimize your writing skills.

Step 4-Software

The days of paper and pencils are over. To complete this step, you’ll need the right word processing software. Today we have a lot of programs on the NET like Final Draft 8, Movie Magic Screenwriter 6, CeltX, Sophocol…

Let me share my own thought. If you’re making the first draft of your movie it’s NOT necessary to buy or download the software. Why? Because you’ll only waste your time on installation and learning how to use these complicated, and upon first inspection, cumbersome programs. All you need is a word processor (Word 97 -2010 or Open Office). Let me explain that position in the following step.

Step 5-Formatting

I write my scripts in Word 2007 using formatting rules (special margins and forms) and then I just transfer that draft to the Final Draft 8 program, which automatically creates the rules and margins. Believe me, it’s EASER and FASTER, firstly, to write in Word and then transfer it to Final Draft or another software program. Of course, you can start writing directly in your program, but I think it’s awkward and doesn’t give you the freedom of text transformation. Now, what formatting rules should be used in a movie script document?

Step 6-Templates and Fonts

A movie script document has its own standards. You can find documentation listing such standards, online. Just download these Word templates and write your script in Word, just as was done a long time ago.
Write your script and transfer it to your software (preferably Final Draft). After that, check your text (because even Final Draft makes some little mistakes). Your software will create the scene, numbers, and proper margins. And here you will find all the advantages of your screen writing program such as notes, color forms, spell checking, etc. Save your document in PDF format if you want to show it to your producer. Don’t send .doc files!

Step 7-Protect your work

Before publishing your script and showing it to third parties, I recommend that you protect your work. Use tools like US Copyright Office and WGA. They will charge you just $20-35 for on-line registration!

Don’t show anyone your script until you’ve registered it. I mean nobody, not even your parents or relatives! It’s not paranoia, it’s an issue of legality. The copyright law doesn’t protect ideas, so if somebody steals your idea, all previous steps will be for not!

Step 8-Proofreading

After you have written and registered your script, it’s time to have it proofread. Proofread the script yourself several times. Give it to your friends to read, or find some people in forums who will do a backward proofreading. Find proofreading sites which will do it for money ($130 – $300 for 90 pages).

If you have additional money you can try a software package like White Smoke. It’s a useful tool which helps you catch common mistakes, but it’s no substitute for a live proofreading!

And the final step is to read your script again, out loud. Try to imagine how your dialogs will sound when acted out. Do they sound inappropriate or unrealistic? If so, rewrite them!

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