Being the dream of plenty of film students, writers and even movie-enthusiasts, becoming a screenwriter can be one of the most competitive and frustrating journeys through the industry. Here are some tips aimed at those who are taking the first steps on this journey.
1. Read plenty of scripts
This should hopefully be obvious, but you can’t learn how to craft a successful screenplay just by yourself. You will need to read a lot of screenplays, from a lot of different screenwriters and across many different genres, from the classics to the latest hits, in order to get a full picture of the different techniques at your disposal, along with examples of good writing that works for the audience as well.
What is a Screenwriter?
Every film or TV show needs a script, not only for the actors to read and memorise their lines, but for the whole production to have a reference and a complete picture of the story which is being represented. It’s the Screenwriter’s job to develop the story and write the script.
Samuel Thornhill takes a look at how media undergraduates can expand their knowledge and improve their career prospects by taking advantage of the opportunities on offer from the likes of the BFI, BAFTA and The British Council.
‘It all starts here. Every line of dialogue and piece of action first appeared on the blank page of the screenwriter.’ Or did it? Was the ‘blank page’ actually covered in creative murmurings scratched onto post-it notes? As an undergraduate, there’s a limit on how much you can learn in a conventional university environment. It’s important to learn from the best and a great way to do this is by attending guest lectures and seminars from successful industry personalities to get the inside scoop on their working methods as unconventional as they may be sometimes.
In recent weeks, BAFTA has played host to a series of screenwriting lectures by some of the industry’s finest screenwriters which has somewhat lifted the lid on the method and the madness behind creating a successful screenplay. The five part series has featured guest lectures from comic book enthusiast and the man behind Christopher Nolan’s Batman franchise, David S. Goyer; Oscar nominee and writer of Erin Brokovich and The Soloist, Susannah Grant; the creative force behind the Bourne franchise and Michael Clayton, Tony Gilroy; Hossein Amini, one of a select few that beautifully construct screenplays through stunning visual direction and Richard Curtis, one of the cornerstones of quintessential British romantic comedy.