You have to keep pulling rabbits out of the hat every time you write a screenplay. You might have to cook up sick plot twists, memorable dialogues, and bat-shit crazy characters. For you to see your characters come alive on the screen, you first have to impress a production house with a solid script, get it accepted and then set it in motion. In this blog post, we discuss the ground rules to win half the battle – writing a pitch-perfect screenplay.  

 

1) Create a stellar logline

Once you know what your story is going to be about, come up with a logline. You can revise it a hundred times while writing the screenplay. It is a single sentence summary of a film or a television series which states the central conflict of the story, provides both the synopsis and the story’s plot. Additionally, it should also have an emotional hook to stimulate interest.   

 Loglines show what’s awesome about your script.

A great logline must include the protagonist; his goal, the antagonist, the main conflict and what is at stakes?  

What you shouldn’t give away is the ending. Stir up intrigue in the minds of potential readers. Get them to pick your script with that mind-blowing single sentence and consider it for production.

While constructing a logline, remember:

                                                              Don’t tell the story, sell the story.

 

2) Screenplay structure and Formatting

A screenplay is its structure. Have a clear understanding of how your story is going to flow. Create an outline before you start writing the scenes and dialogues. It will give you an idea of plot development and character progression when a particular act ends and the next one begins. It will also help you determine the pacing of the sequences.

Screenplay formatting has to be done according to set industry standards. Scene heading, action, character name, parentheticals, dialogue and transition are the six elements of a screenplay format and you must know where and how they are used.

Have it read by senior writers, friends, and family. Whoever you deem fit for a creative feedback. Make your script error-free of typos, spelling mistakes, and incorrect grammar by having it proofread and edited by professionals. You can’t afford an otherwise excellent script being rejected just for its bad grammar. It sure is a deciding factor.

 

3) Know your Genre. Be original  

They’ve seen it all. Studios reject a ridiculous amount of scripts because that is how they see them – as ridiculous. Don’t write a run of the mill script so that it gets accepted by a studio. Write with all your heart, a script which will pull the right emotional strings of your audience.

 

4) It’s all about relationships  

Become a master at networking. Meet as many industry professionals and insiders and build significant relationships with them. Know your logline by heart and make the ‘pitch’ to anyone who you see potential in to give you a lead to getting close to a contract.  

Start interacting with producers on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Create bonds with professional screenwriters who can recommend your scripts further.

 

5) Enter screenplay contests

Such contests are a great opportunity for budding screenwriters to get the necessary recognition. Screenplay writing contests give you the chance to submit your work and have it read and reviewed by the experts in the industry. You’ll be up against thousands of writers with that same dream – having your script made into a movie with the top superstars.

Its okay if you don’t win the contest. Judges of the prestigious contests are people who work in the television and movie industry. Just having your script read by them multiplies the chances of it being picked up for production.

The more contests you enter, better the chances of you winning and getting noticed.

MovieBytes will help you find hundreds of screenplay contests and what their prizes are. Get listed!

 

6) List of producers looking for scripts

There are few places which list studios and producers that are looking for scripts. One of them is International Screenwriting Association 

“If you really want to make it, the opportunities are there.”

Use references like the Hollywood Creative Directory (HCD) to put together a target list. It’s an investment that any serious screenwriter will want to make.  Do your research about how studio relationships work, credits, and submission policies.

 

7) Protect your writing

In attempts to market and sell your script, it’s going to go places. And in the process, it could be plagiarized or be claimed by someone else as their own. We hope none of this happens to you, but it is a possibility. And you must take precautions.

You can visit online registries to obtain patents or time-stamped archival for your work. Upload your screenplay in one of such protected databases.

 

It’s never easy for newcomers to get a big break in Hollywood. Keep hustling!

Even if denied multiple times, never stop. Keep at it. And your writing will most certainly be produced for the silver screen someday soon.