Another Twitter question that I thought would be a good blog entry.
What have I found that makes a good pilot script?
To be completely honest, I’m still learning that myself. BUT so far I HAVE learned this...
Format is a BIG deal. Don’t try to deviate from it, it wont help you, AT ALL. Something to always remember, until you are as big as Steven Spielberg or Guillermo del Toro, you should most definitely stick to the rules of screenwriting. If you don’t know what those are, I suggest you purchase a good reference book, Amazon is full of them, Google can help you find the right one for you. Apparently, the one I selected isn’t one that is widely chose by other writers, but it works for me.
A lot of screenwriting is self taught. You can take classes for it, of course, even get a degree, but I have found more people to have degrees in unrelated fields or only a little bit of college behind their belt, if not none at all. I started off as a novel writer. I still write books, in fact. I still have stories I’m working on. I will probably finish three more books, that I’ve already started, before I set novel writing to the side for a long stretch. I find script writing to be far more enjoyable because I don’t have to worry about details. Novel writers, depending on who you ask of course, pride themselves in the descriptive literature in a book they’ve written. Writing a book takes on the job of ALL the movie making jobs. We are the costume and set designer as well as the director, actors and narrator in the stories we write. That’s a LOT of stress for me. LOL When I discovered script writing I was a little hung up on the fact that I wasn’t SUPPOSED to add a lot of detail or directive. I have to leave that to the director, actor and set designers. Vague and implicit is what I’ve adapted to for my scripts and I love it. I honestly would rather write the stories I’m writing as scripts but I’ve already started them in novel form and it just makes sense to finish them that way before I touch on adapting any to scripts.
Back on track.... there are plenty of online courses that look to be really awesome. I was lucky to find a free mini week long screenwriting course. It helped me build a story outline I already had plans for. I think that was the first ever outline I’d ever made from start to finish for a story I’ve written. I haven’t made one since. LOL I don’t do outlines, but that’s just me. You may find that outlines help you, like a lot of other writers do, and that’s GREAT. For me, though, I just can’t. It knocks my momentum down and I don’t want to write the actual script/story if I outline. There are courses that will help you build outlines and learn and stick with the format. There are a lot that are pricey but worth it. If you can afford it and you want to take some sort of class on it but don’t want to go to college, then I suggest finding an online course. ScreenCraft.com has a few good ones. Sometimes a few colleges have online courses you can take as well, but I find an online workshop course is more focused and more beneficial for the industry, especially if you aren’t looking for a degree/certificate.
I hope this helps some of you guys. I’m sorry I deviated a bit here and there, lol. It’s still early and I’ve only have one cup of coffee. Let me know what you’ve learned so far in this industry or an online workshop/class/course you’ve found.
Have a fantastic Sunday everyone!