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Manna

critique & feedback Looking for Screenplay Advice

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Hello fellow writers! I was wondering if I could get some screenplay advice. Just practical blips of information on anything that someone who knows what they're doing thinks is important. I have questions such as: Am I supposed to put in the shots and angles or do I leave that up to the director? Do ALL actions have to be described in an action description paragraph or can some of them be in parenthesis with the dialogue of the character? I've read parts of a few screenplays and they seem to differ some in that aspect.

 

I am making a story I wrote into a spy/family screenplay and have had a lot of fun with it, however it's my first time and I really don't know what I'm doing. I don't expect it to become a movie (though I think Tom Hiddleston would make a good main character for it). I'm using the Celtx online program for layout. At least it looks decent! Haha

 

Thanks for your help!

 

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@Manna, I don't if I'd count as "someone who knows what they're doing" (still learning myself!), but I'll share with you what I do know.

 

First, a couple things. . .

-don't repeat.

-don't include unnecessary chit chat.

-don't write it unless it has a reason (this can be checked in editing).

-write and rewrite.

-look into pacing and the three act story structure.

 

On 9/15/2019 at 3:49 PM, Manna said:

Am I supposed to put in the shots and angles

No. Usually, no. You tell the story, the director interprets it.

On 9/15/2019 at 3:49 PM, Manna said:

I've read parts of a few screenplays and they seem to differ

Style- it varies just as in novels. Read as many other scripts as you can, and you'll find your own way of writing. I use Disney for reference, but that's just preference. ;)

 

Formatting gets me. I rarely format at all until completely done with the first draft then go back through so creative flow isn't altered. If you have a software, that's great.

 

On 9/15/2019 at 3:49 PM, Manna said:

 have had a lot of fun with it, however it's my first time and I really don't know what I'm doing.

Trial and error is how you learn. You'll eventually get the hang of it, so don't give up!

 

Hopefully some of this helped.  @DrRita or @novelsandcoffee27 can probably help you further. :)


 

 

Edited by Sophie
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On 9/15/2019 at 3:49 PM, Manna said:

Hello fellow writers! I was wondering if I could get some screenplay advice. Just practical blips of information on anything that someone who knows what they're doing thinks is important. I have questions such as: Am I supposed to put in the shots and angles or do I leave that up to the director? Do ALL actions have to be described in an action description paragraph or can some of them be in parenthesis with the dialogue of the character? I've read parts of a few screenplays and they seem to differ some in that aspect.

 

I am making a story I wrote into a spy/family screenplay and have had a lot of fun with it, however it's my first time and I really don't know what I'm doing. I don't expect it to become a movie (though I think Tom Hiddleston would make a good main character for it). I'm using the Celtx online program for layout. At least it looks decent! Haha

 

Thanks for your help!

 

Hi Manna,

I've written several screenplays and placed in a few contests.  Your spy/family story sounds good - go for it!  As for formatting, I'd suggest investing in Movie Magic or Final Draft.  MM is a little cheaper (it's what I used) and it really is worth it.  As to your questions:  1) Avoid suggesting shots and angles.  That is for the director and my understanding is that they get a little annoyed when a writer tries to insert them.  2) Don't put actions in the dialogue box.  You could do something like this: 

 

Bob sighed, lowered his head in disappointment. 

                                                                      BOB

                                 Well dang, man,  That's a disappointment. 

 

Or this:

                                                                     BOB

                                                              (hangs his head)

                                   Well dang, man.  That's a disappointment.

 

Either is correct.  Good Luck!  

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The best thing to do is to get a book on screenwriting. The rules change daily!! LOL!

A parenthetical is okay now but don't over do it. Just make sure your are conveying emotion/action and not directing the actor. It's a fine line. There is a great book called The Screenwriters Bible which is great for beginners. 

 

Shots and angles are the director's choice. However if there is something (a shot/angle) that is part of the story line or character development that must be in there try to use not director/cinematographer directions. Such as: Crane/Drone shot . . . can be conveyed as a "Bird's Eye View."  Because the Director and DP (director of photography) work together with the art director to set up the scenes as the director has a vision, your specifics will probably be ignored anyway. Here's a short scene from one of my recent works that shows an angle without using those words: (forgive the formatting, doesn't copy and paste)

 

Vanessa’s cell phone lights up and vibrates. She picks it up and looks at the screen. It’s a text.
                                                VANESSA
                                           It’s from Sebastian.
                                                  BRIGITTE
                                            Don’t answer.
                                              VANESSA
                                             (reading)
                                      I heard you know of a vampire cure for Petey.
                                                 BRIGITTE
                                     Right. Sounds like a trap.

Vanessa texts back.
                                               BRIGITTE
                                        You’re not texting him back?

                                        Have you lost your mind?
Brigitte leans in and watches as Vanessa types a message.


CLOSE IN ON CELL SCREEN
Which one? There are supposedly two cures. One of them involves burning a vampire.


Brigitte gives her a “what the hell” look.
                                                      VANESSA
                                      Well, he might know of a volunteer.
They wait impatiently.

 

The director can choose to do it differently but my instructions are clear and available.

 

A screenplay is basically a road map for the director, producers and actors. Your job is to convey all the emotion, action, settings, mood and dialog to convey your vision/story.

 

If you want to get training on screenwriting, might I suggest Act One.  It's a Christian based program in Hollywood.  www.ActOneProgram.com  Check it out, it might be something you want to pursue.

 

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Having worked with treatments and a finished screenplay, the difference is formatting. There are rules. It is best to get a copy of a recent screenplay or a book about how to do it, with good reviews. It's best to think visually. I doubt George Lucas wrote Star Wars with [insert cool spaceship here] but he had to think about them and how they worked in the story.

Edited by robg213
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