A screenplay is a story told with pictures, in dialogue and description, and placed within the context of dramatic structure.The craft of screenwriting is a creative process that can be learned. To tell a story, you have to set up your characters, introduce the dramatic premise (what the story is about) and the dramatic situation(the circumstances surrounding the action), create obstacles for your characters to confront and overcome, then resolve the story.You know, boy meets girl, boy gets girl, boy loses girl. All stories,from Aristotle through all the constellations of civilization, embody the same dramatic principles.
Where to begin?
There is an easy way to write your screenplay. Start writing. Right away. Don’t wait for the perfect combination of words to put a sentence together. If all that comes out of your keypad (or pen) is a few disentangled thoughts which apparently makes no sense, don’t let it stop you. Hold on to it. You will get plenty of time to make harmony out of chaos. Remember this, a bad writing on paper is better than no writing at all.
But to start writing, you need to have your idea clear first. Once you have the idea, you can think about the structure. You only begin writing your first draft when the structure is there in your mind. The journey from the first draft to the final draft is comparatively easier than that of idea to first draft.
At the bottom-line, your screenplay should be a one-liner. The whole idea of the script needs to be explained in one line. Let’s take the example for Inception. It’s infamous for being complicated. But let’s think about it. A group of people wants to penetrate into a man’s layers of dream to change his experience. It is this simple.
All you need to do is to concentrate on the central idea of your script. This keyline will help you build your structure.
Plot and Structure
The term plot is used to describe everything visibly and audibly present in a film. The plot includes, first, all the story events that are directly depicted.The total world of the story action is sometimes called the film’s diegesis (theGreek word for “recounted story”).The set of all the events in a narrative, both the ones explicitly presented and those the viewer infers, constitutes the story. Your screenplay would revolve around the plot but you, as the writer must know the story.
A plot is driven by a major conflict. The protagonist is faced with conflict and his way to overcome the conflict creates drama. Setup, Confrontation, and Resolution – this is a way that a plot moves.
Act I, the beginning, is a unit of dramatic action that is approximately twenty or thirty pages long and is held together with the dramatic context known as the Set- Up. Context is the space that holds something in place—in this case, the content. Act I, the screenwriter sets up the story, establishes character, launches the dramatic premise (what the story is about), illustrates the situation (the circumstances surrounding the action), and creates the relationships between the main character and the other characters who inhabit the landscape of his or her world.
Act II is a unit of dramatic action approximately sixty pages long. It is held together with the dramatic context known as Confrontation. During This second act the main character encounters obstacle after obstacle that keeps him/her from achieving his/her dramatic need,which is defined as what the character wants to win, gain, get, achieve during the course of the screenplay. If you know your character’s dramatic need, you can create obstacles to it and then yourstory becomes your character, overcoming obstacle after obstacle to achieve his/her dramatic need.
All drama is conflict. Without conflict, you have no action; without action, you have no character; without character, you have no story; and without story, you have no screenplay.
Act III is a unit of dramatic action approximately twenty to thirty pages long and goes from the end of Act II, approximately pages 85 to 90, to the end of the screenplay. It is held together with the dramatic context known as Resolution. I think it’s important to remember that resolution does not mean ending; resolution means solution.What is the solution of your screenplay? Does your main character live or die? Succeed or fail? Get married or not? Win the race or not?Win the election or not? Escape safely or not? Leave her husband or not? Return home safely or not? Act III is that unit of action that resolves the story. It is not the ending; the ending is that specific scene or shot or sequence that ends the script.
Beginning, middle, and end; Act I, Act II, Act III. Set-Up,Confrontation, Resolution—these parts make up the whole. It is the relationship between these parts that determines the whole.