Screenwriting Script Development Script Formatting

Our top tips to finish your screenplay

There are a lot of obstacles that will get in your way when you are looking to finish your screenplay. It can leave you stuck on page 1, wondering when you’ll finally get that first page completed. It takes time and a lot of dedication and perseverance when writing a screenplay, it can be tough. That’s why in today’s article we are going to look at the top tips to finish your screenplay.

Our top tips to finish your screenplay

Starting your screenplay, let alone finishing your screenplay is a monumental ask, and can sometimes be both daunting and mind-boggling. We will dip into the top tips to finish your screenplay and how to get around some of the difficult tasks.

Let’s jump into it!

The logline

The Logline

The logline can leave you scratching your head for days on how to get around it and get a logline that sells. Although the logline is only one to two sentences long, but, it’s integral to your script.

If you are looking to get your script funded the logline is the first thing a producer or their assistant will look at, and if it’s not up to scratch they’ll probably bin your script.

Well not bin it, but you get the gist.

One of the best ways to craft your logline is to use the following formula:

“in a world where _____, ______ has to _____ , otherwise ______ will occur”.

This simple formula will kick start your logline creation and get you set up, maybe practise a few times to make sure you have the concept nailed, then you can move onto your own script!

READ MORE: How to write a logline: The ultimate guide

Developing your film treatment

Developing your film treatment is integral to your screenplay, it’s where you scope out your idea and sculpt your story as it goes through the motions. Here you’ll have your logline, synopsis, chracter breakdown and an overview.

One of the best benefits of having a film treatment I find, is that you can eliminate writers block. Writers block can really hinder you, but if you have a film treatment you can refer back to the overview and it will help you structure your script without the writer’s block, and plenty of blank pages.

READ MORE: What is a film treatment and how do I create one?

Writing the opening scene

Writing the opening scene

Yep it’s true, it’s another one of those non-starters. Writing the opening scene is a daunting task, and can leave you on page one for days.

A lot of writers including myself will agonise over the opening scene, finding ways to perfect it, when actually the best method is to write it.

You’ll find the opening scene will naturally evolve over time and as the script grows in size, it’ll look nothing like you first intended. So don’t worry too much about perfecting it, as it will change over time.

Your original idea evolves over time and so will a lot of your scenes, so please pick up that pen and write what comes to mind !

Character Development

Next up is developing your characters. Define your main characters and delve into their mindset, workout who they are, what they want and what they like.

A great technique to develop your characters is to interview them, understand absolutely everything about your character, all the fine detail – do they like caviar? Or, are they more of a potato and meat kinda person.

Once you have the understanding of your character you can start to craft how they’d behave in scenes, how they speak, how they interact with others. This will start to bring the scenes to life and add another dimension to your script.

Start to develop your characters arc, map out where they are at the start, middle and where they will finally end up. You can fill the rest in whilst writing your script, but this will give you direction.

Use the character development sheet below to really grow and develop your character.

READ MORE: Character Development Worksheet

Dialogue

Dialogue is a tough cookie when screenwriting, you want it to flow well and every line to mean something. You want your dialogue to move the story forward, and slowly reveal small breadcrumbs of what may happen next, keeping the reader and your audience on the edge of their seats.

Dialogue does take time to master, so I wouldn’t worry if you have to revisit previous dialogue and make tweaks to really fit your story together.

One of the best tips is to type out your dialogue for the characters, skim over it and make changes. Then find a friend or any willing partner to read back to one another, you’ll soon see what flows well and what doesn’t.

You can then revise the dialogue – you’ll have come miles since the first revision of dialogue, it really does pay off!

READ MORE: 7 essential tips to improve dialogue within your script

Just write it

It’s that simple – don’t overthink it and start to write. One of the best things to do is when you’re in your full flow keep writing and writing and writing. You can worry about changes later on when you go to revise the recently written passage, never stop mid flow to revert back a page, it will stop you in your tracks.

Always revert back to your film treatment if you’re in need of direction and keep it flowing. You’ll be amazed how productive you’ll be writing, then revising separately.

We hope this was helpful to you! Check out more of our articles to help you with your screenwriting, directing, filmmaking and acting below:

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