One of the Very Best Script Writing Tips

One of the very best script writing tips has to do with something that you have in great abundance. A carpenter has hammer and nails, a painter has brushes and canvas. Every professional has tools.

As a screenplay writer, one of your most basic writers tools is words.

And just as a mechanic has an assortment of sockets and wrenches, and a carpenter has drill bits of all different sizes, the larger and more varied your assortment of tools, the finer and more engaging your writing will be.

How do you acquire these tools? The best and easiest way is to read symbolism in the tell tale heart heart.

Yes, I know it�s a clich�, but read everything. Read novels and manuals, poetry and potato chip packages, newspapers, town hall notices, the obituary page�and most definitely, screenplays� but more on that later.

Reading is like a large tributary that feeds several different streams. It feeds your idea bank, depositing ideas like tiny trout being stocked into a lake. It feeds your image bank, building up your image pool and fortifying your �visual vocabulary.�

You will constantly be drawing on those images as a screenwriter. Lastly, it feeds your word bank. The more you read, the more words you collect in your word bank.

But in addition to reading, you, as a writer, should actively work to build up and enrich your word bank.

How do you do that? The deliberate and old-fashioned way. Buy a pack of 3×5 cards and use them to add at least 2-3 words a week to your word bank.

Now here�s the trick. In order for this to work, you can�t go at it like it�s an assignment from Mrs. Finkelstein, your ninth grade English teacher.

It�s more like � dating. It�s more like the guy or girl in ninth grade who made the palms of your hands sweat, who made your mouth fall agape when you�d see them walking down the hallway, who left your jaw disjointed when you tried to talk to them� oh well, enough of my own personal history.

It�s about a natural attraction. It�s about finding those words that turn you on, those words that are intriguing, mysterious, mesmerizing. Have I gone too far? Probably, but you get the picture.

Here�s an example. I don�t know anything about boats or boating, but I have a kind of fascination about it. I think it�s the whole man against the sea thing, man against nature, whatever.

Anyway, I was reading something recently, and it mentioned the mast of a boat. Now, you probably don�t believe me, but I know absolutely nothing about boats. Those of you who own boats and who are old sea dogs are probably laughing at me, but I didn�t know what a mast was, so I had to look it up.

According to Merriam Webster, a mast is �a long pole or spar rising from the keel of the deck of a ship and supporting the yards, booms and rigging.�

Well, in order to make sense of that, I had to look up �keel, yards, booms and rigging.� Still laughing? All I can say is that I know what I know and I know what I don�t know.

Anyway, what I�ve now done is create a word tree. Mast, keel, yards, booms and rigging are now a related group of words that I�m familiar with. By golly, now I feel like I�m ready to sail a one-man boat to China! You get the picture.

What you would then do is take each of your words and put them on an index card, along with the definition, a usage sentence, and maybe an etymological note or two about the history, root and source of the word.

You might also want to make a note reminding yourself of where you encountered the word (i.e. Moby Dick, pg 53). Then you would file the cards. Initially, every day, then weekly, then monthly you should review your words. Try to commit to memory the words, their spelling, definition, etc.

Taking notes on the roots and sources of words might not be mandatory, but doing research on how words come into being is such a rich source of human psychology and behavior that it�s also a rich source of story ideas. Did you know that the word �bedlam� comes from a sanitarium (an insane asylum) in London that actually was called Bethlehem? You can just hear the Brits condensing that word down to �bedlam.� You can also understand why the word is what it is.

You might question the usefulness of this kind of work, but once you start building your word bank and working with it regularly, you won�t question its usefulness anymore.

When your protagonist is trapped on the dock, and the only way to escape from her pursuer is to jump on a boat and pilot it out into the harbor, it will help to know what a mast, keel, yards, booms and rigging are.

In the words I use and the way I use them, I�ll be letting a reader know that I know what I�m talking about, that I have a working knowledge of the subject that I�m writing about. If a reader buys my credibility in this scene, maybe he or she will buy my credibility in other scenes and my overall credibility to write this screenplay.

The breadth of your �tools� buys you credibility. It also saves you research time because the more you know, the less you have to look up. But the most important and useful aspect of having a large word bank, is that it allows you to render your scenes in an authentic, vivid, emotionally compelling fashion.

� And if you ever see me down at the dock fumbling with a towrope, maybe you�ll come over and lend me a hand.

Writers and imagination… Dreaming up a Movie Idea

Many writers stress over finding a movie idea that they can develop into a screenplay. Often, those movie ideas come from your own capacity to wonder at the world around you.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to wake up in the morning, roll out of bed, stumble into the bathroom, and look into the medicine cabinet mirror, only to discover that your face wasn�t your face? Your face was someone else�s?

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to travel back in time and meet your parents when they were ten or twelve years old? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be buried alive?

Writers wonder about what are some examples of symbolism in the tell tale heart. They have a very active have-you-ever-wondered-what-it-would-be-like imagination. The truth is that I think we all do. We�re born with it.

It’s through that kind of active, playful sense of wonder that you find a movie idea.

When I was a kid, I had a lot of have-you-ever-wondered-what-it-would-be-like imagination time. When my brothers and sisters and I were finished with school for the day, we would be sent outside where we relished the freedom and the many hours of unstructured free time. I know, nowadays, it�s almost a sin to give your kids unstructured play time, but for us it was the norm.

We were left to fill our time with games we knew (hopscotch, baseball, freeze tag, etc.) but we were also left to dream up spontaneous new games, many of them fueled by the have-you-ever-wondered-what-it-would-be-like universe.

As kids, we are immersed in the have-you-ever-wondered-what-it-would-be-like world, but as we grow older, we are forced to leave that world behind for the neatly-rowed, black, white and gray cubicles of �reality.�

As a child, the games of imagination that we play are so rich. A door becomes a portal to a gnome�s castle. A stick becomes a sword, and we�re suddenly a swashbuckling pirate. Fireflies become gold trinkets that we try to capture in glass jars. We sit and watch a worm work its way through earth and try to imagine the many worlds it will inhabit underground.

Well, writers have a very active have-you-ever-wondered-what-it-would-be-like imagination. What is Moby Dick, except a have-you-ever-wondered-what-it-would-be-like tale about engaging a killer whale in mortal combat? Isn�t Jaws a have-you-ever-wondered-what-it-would-be-like to battle a killer shark whose sole purpose in life is to consume human flesh? And isn�t every vampire tale really a meditation on, have you ever wondered what the cost might be to live forever?

Writers are people who have somehow been able to protect and nurture that have-you-ever-wondered part of their psyche. If you want to write screenplays, or anything else for that matter, you have to nurture that part of yourself.

You have to allow it to flourish and grow. You have to allow yourself the space and time to imagine�and it can�t only be for the two hours that you sit down at your desk to write. You have to let go of the concrete �certainty� of the world to slip into the multi-layered, multi-dimensional world of possibility.

As a working writer, you�ll be able to sit down at a prescribed time and harvest what�s been grown in your imagination, but you have to realize that the imaginings that you bring to your writing desk have been gathered through the imaginings of a lifetime.

You might have to build up the muscle to re-imagine the world, but what working writers have done is to strengthen that muscle to the point where it grows antennae. Those antennae are always up, and the buzz of a fly, a baby�s cry or the sight of a grasshopper can trigger all kinds of imaginings.

If that have-you-ever-wondered part of yourself has been buried, you have to resurrect and resuscitate it. If it�s lost, you have to find it. And if it never had a chance to fully develop in you as a kid, you have to open yourself up to let it flow and let it grow.

You, as a writer, need play time. What do I mean? You need periods of unstructured free-time where your imagination is allowed to roam. You, as a writer, need to start building in that time for yourself.

It can be something as simple as a meandering walk along a beach. If you don�t paint already, it could be as simple as taking a painting class, the tactile drag of a brush along canvas settling your spirit, and allowing your mind to roam free.

It could be getting your hands into a vat of potter�s clay at a pottery class, allowing the spinning potter�s wheel to spin new avenues of imagination. The activities that seem to work well are those that somehow physically engage us while allowing our minds room to roam.

As adults, we are so busy. Every waking minute seems to be crowded out by the constantly growing agenda of things we need to get done. The list of things we need to do never seems to diminish, no matter how much we work at it. It�s no wonder our imaginations are crowded out by the business of our busy lives.

Writing is an odd exercise. It�s a kind of �serious play.�

But in order to play, in order to harvest movie ideas and turn them into movie stories, your imagination has to have the freedom and space to roam. It�s almost like a structured kind of abandonment.

In the cowboy days, they used to make corrals to hold horses and cows. If you only had a few animals, you would have a small corral. If you had a large number of animals, you had a large corral.

For a writer, your corral is your safe space, the place where your imagination is allowed to play and roam free.

It�s almost as if you need to construct a huge corral, one that rolls into the meadow, trails through the woods and winds its way around the lake, even though you only have one �horse� to put into it– but that one horse is your imagination, and it has to be allowed to roam safely and freely throughout that space.

All of this have-you-ever-wondered work is the basis for building a movie idea or film concept.

A film concept is simply a movie idea. What�s important is that the movie idea or concept has to be intriguing, catchy, interesting or fascinating. It can usually be boiled down to a sentence or two. We�ve already dealt with a couple of them earlier in this essay in talking about Moby Dick and Jaws. Often times, the concept is presented as a �What if� construction. What if a great white shark marks a heavily populated resort beach as his own private feeding ground?

We�ll cover movie ideas in a more thorough fashion elsewhere on this site. What�s central to this essay is that coming up with a fantastic movie idea starts with the writer�s uninhibited ability to wonder at the world�to look around himself and wonder what it would be like to�

One of the Best Screenwriting Tips… Has Nothing to Do With Writing!

Surprisingly enough, one of the best screenwriting tips has nothing to do with writing at all! Everyone seems to agree that to be a successful screenwriter, you should watch as many films as you possibly can�and I agree� somewhat. Watching film is a good thing. It�s great advice. But has anyone ever told you why you should watch film?

You should watch film, first and foremost, for the thrill of lantern symbolism in the tell tale heart.

Your first and primary reason for watching film is not to study it or analyze it. It�s to be enthralled by it. It�s to remember how watching a great film feeds your soul. It�s to be mesmerized, swept up and swept away.

You, as a writer, need to experience the thrill of it all, in order to be re-connected to the reason you ever wanted to strap yourself to a chair and try to write a movie in the first place.

When you really get to the bottom of it, many times, wanting to write movies has to do with wanting to re-create, time and again, the exhilaration that you felt, at one time or another, while sitting in some darkened theater.

Essentially, what you�re saying is, it was such a thrill, sitting and watching this two hour spectacle, that I want to go out and thrill myself in the same way, and connectedly, thrill other people.

Think about that last sentence for a minute. There�s nothing in that sentence about money, fame, big houses or fine cars. And the primary focus is not on thrilling or entertaining someone else. It�s about thrilling myself. I am my own first audience. If it doesn�t thrill me, it�s not going to thrill anyone else.

The second reason for watching film is to learn the �rhythm� of film�to learn how a movie flows.

There are people who have never had �formal� songwriting training, but they write beautiful music. They know that a verse, followed by a chorus, followed by another verse and chorus, with a break separating a final verse and chorus, is a satisfying way to construct a song. They know this, not by instruction, but by listening to music. They know the natural rhythm and flow of a song.

In the same way, watching movies helps you to instinctively know the rhythm of a movie. It�s not a conscious thing. It�s not an analytical thing�at least not on this level. It�s a feeling, sensing, �knowing� thing. What you�re learning is how the rhythm of a great film plays on screen.

You should never go into a film that you are watching for the first time, with a mind to dissect or analyze it. What will happen, after a while, is that you�ll lose the joy of watching film, and it won�t be long before the act of writing films becomes dry, tasteless and labored.

Naturally, in the course of watching a film, ideas will come to mind (although, in an extremely well made film, you will rarely be thinking of story arcs, plot points or anything of the like during the experience of watching it). But it�s better to fully entertain these thoughts after watching the film, or on a second or third viewing.

I know this isn�t always easy to do, but if you go into a movie theater trying to analyze why something works for you, or doesn�t work for you, you will kill the movie going experience. If you can�t walk into a movie theater, kick back, and allow someone to knock your socks off, then there�s no point to any of this.

Another great reason for watching film is that listening to great movie dialogue will help you to write great dialogue.

When you write film description, although it will initially be read, it�s meant to be seen. You are describing what viewers will see. But when you write dialogue, it�s meant to be heard. At times, it�s almost like writing a kind of poetry or lyrics for a song. Good movie dialogue has its own kind of meter and rhythm, its own beat.

Actually, one of the best screenwriting tips is, after you write dialogue, record it on a recording device and listen to it. From listening to great dialogue, you�ll be able to hear if your dialogue works or not.

Lastly, and I emphasize lastly, you should watch film as a kind of how-to guide. For a screenwriter, watching film in this way can be a little tricky. One of the reasons is that it�s not always easy to draw a hard line between where the screenwriter leaves off and the director begins.

Let�s say, for instance, that you�re in a movie theater, and you see some fantastic sequence. You marvel at how the writer pulled it together and make mental notes about how you might incorporate it into a piece of your own. You go home to your computer and pull up the screenplay on the internet, only to find out that the sequence was written entirely differently than it was filmed.

But there is a deeper reason, for me as an instructor, that watching film can be a little tricky. The film medium is totally constructed through images. We go into a darkened space where we are bombarded by image, after image, after image. It�s the juxtaposition and ordering of those images that gives a film meaning, and triggers an emotional response.

What I�ve seen too often in teaching classes, is that students draw their inspiration and �images� from watching film. Then, when they go to write, what�s needed is the ability to turn those visual images into �word images.� They have difficulty doing this, because they see things in their minds that they are unable to fully capture on the page. Watching a film doesn�t necessarily help you accomplish this. What does help, is watching how other writers do it.

By reading other screenwriters� work, it will help you to hone your writing skills in a way that watching film can�t. It�s an invaluable screenwriting tip.

Lastly, some writers use watching film as a kind of diversion to keep themselves from actually having to sit down and write. They are constantly �studying� film. They�ve seen almost all of the current offerings, and they do their due diligence in boning up on �significant� film in their film archives. But, they never can seem to find the time to actually sit at their desks and write.

And I know, just as every other writer knows, that by far, the best screenwrting tip or tool is to simply sit down and write. So, watch film, but watch it in the right way. Use it to empower your writing, to re-direct you deeper into your own work, and make sure that you don�t use it as a tool to avoid your own desk and what you might have to say.

Using Your Unique Voice to Write a Screenplay

Thank you so much for visiting us here at How to Write a Screenplay-AID. This is a website that is dedicated to the craft of screenwriting, with an emphasis on Affirming, Inspiring and Developing you, the writer.

The Prologue is filled with articles, essays “the eye symbolism in the tell tale heart”, information and suggestions on a wide range of topics that lay the foundation to write a screenplay. The entries can be read in any order, wherever the muse leads you. They are designed to give you a strong springboard of information that prepares you to go on to write your screenplay.

Act I is a collection of pre-writing lessons. These are lessons and exercises designed to introduce and fine-tune concepts and writing skills prior to the actual writing of your screenplay. Each lesson is intended to introduce, strengthen and re-enforce skills that are instrumental in the writing of a screenplay. These lessons are meant to be completed in the order that they are presented.

Act II is a directed, on-line screenwriting course that is intended to lead you from your premise or concept to the completed first draft of your own, original screenplay. While these exercises are meant to be completed in the order that they are presented, you can spend as little or as much time on each section of the course as you would like. The concepts, techniques and strategies that are presented in Act I will be relied upon and utilized in the completion of your first draft in Act II.

Many of these lessons are meant to be completed and then forwarded to us, where they will be evaluated and then returned with comments, suggestions and insights that will lead you to produce your best possible first draft. In essence, you will have your own personal instructor/coach leading you, step by step, through the writing of your screenplay.

While the Act I lessons are presented at no charge, the Act II course can be accessed by paying the appropriate fee.

Act III content focuses on post-first draft considerations. Re-writing, editing, fine tuning and packaging subsequent drafts are some of the primary focuses of Act III.

Lastly, the Epilogue will focus on primarily one question: Now that I�ve completed my screenplay, what do I do with it? It will focus on strategies to get your screenplay into the right hands to have it produced.

My hope is that this web site will be instrumental in your growth as a writer and a great benefit in helping you to achieve your screenwriting goals.

Want to write a screenplay? Great! You’ve come to the “write” place!

But, I must warn you, writing a screenplay is a daring, foolhardy, frightening, frustrating, exciting, exasperating, but ultimately rewarding thing to do.

It�s like walking into the circus arena and proclaiming that you want to be, not the clown or the juggler, but the high-wire act, balancing precariously on a thin wire, hundreds of feet in the air, while thousands of faces look up, awestruck at your handiwork.

It�s like being the protagonist in your favorite thriller “symbolism in the tell tale heart. There will be times when you feel like you are on top of it, and you�ve got it all figured out, but there will be other times when it feels like you haven�t got a clue. There will be false starts and dead ends, but there will be thrilling chases and last minute heroics.

And yes, there will be times when it will feel like all is lost, but we all know, in a movie, when it seems like all is lost, the best is yet to come. Have I scared you away yet? Good, then strap on your crash helmet and safety goggles and let�s get going.

If you are interested in the art of screenwriting, you�re interested in the art of storytelling. So, let�s begin with a little story about a story�.

Many centuries ago, a master storyteller told a parable about a man who sows seed. As the man scatters seed, some falls on the compacted soil of a pathway and is spirited away by birds. Some falls on rocky ground, where there is too little soil for a plant to take root. Some falls among thorns that choke away the life of the young seedlings. However, some falls on rich soil that produces a yield of thirty, or sixty, or one hundred fold.

I want you to look at the parable of the sower in a slightly different way. I want you to think of the seed as story ideas. Even though it may not seem like it, they are plentiful, and they are falling all around you. You are the soil of the parable.

Moist, nutrient-rich soil will produce plump, plentiful fruit. The fruit is the projects that you will write. But, those story ideas, those seeds, will shrivel and die if the ground they fall on is dry, parched and lifeless. Are you prepared to bear fruit?

There are many sites that claim to teach the art of screenwriting, but it seems like many of them place their focus solely on product. They tell you what a screenplay is, and then give you a kind of do-it-yourself gizmo kit that seems to suggest that, if you connect lever �a� to lever �b�, and segment �c� to segment �d�, that after all the bolts and screws are tightened up, you�ll have a screenplay.

We view things differently here. We�re not looking to develop screenplay assemblers, because fabulous screenplays have heart, and soul, they�re forged from flesh and blood�just like you! They are not mass produced and churned out at a factory. They are painstakingly crafted out of the heart and soul and dreams of a living, breathing person.

Here at How to Write a Screenplay-AID, we want to focus on the most valuable aspect of the screenwriting process�you, the writer. We want to empower you so that you can take those �story seeds� and nurture them into lush, verdant, fully developed stories.

Hence, our name. How to Write a Screenplay-AID is exactly what it says it is. This is a site where we want to teach you how to write screenplays through Affirming, Inspiring, and Developing YOU, the writer. We feel that this is the best approach to helping you achieve screenwriting success. You are the muscle that has to be strengthened, the tool that has to be sharpened�the soil that has to be enriched. You are the investment. We want to invest in you. Are you ready to invest in yourself?

So, sit back, relax and take your time exploring the site. You might want to get started by visiting the Introduction page. You might want to sharpen your creativity skills by visiting the �Creativity Corner�, but I think the best way to start might be by visiting �The Investment� page. Wherever you begin, you�ll find it�s well worth it. If you have comments or suggestions, please visit our contact page and let us know how you feel.