Master the Art of Screenwriting

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By jwblackwell



12 Questions

What is screenwriting?

What are the responsibilities of a screenwriter?

What are the common forms of screenwriting jobs?

What is the purpose of screenwriting theories?

What is a logline?

What is the master-scene format?

What are scene headings?

What are action lines?

What are parentheticals?

What is the purpose of imagery in screenwriting?

What is the difference between plot and story?

What do screenwriting applications such as Final Draft and Celtx allow writers to do?


Art and Craft of Writing Screenplays

  • Screenwriting or scriptwriting is the art and craft of writing scripts for mass media such as feature films, television productions or video games.

  • A screenwriter is responsible for researching the story, developing the narrative, writing the script, screenplay, dialogues, and delivering it in the required format to development executives.

  • Screenwriters pitch original ideas to producers, in the hope of being optioned or sold, or are commissioned by a producer to create a screenplay from a concept, true story, existing screen work, or literary work.

  • Common forms of screenwriting jobs include spec script writing, commission, feature assignment writing, rewriting, script doctoring, television writing, writing for daily series, writing for game shows, and video game writing.

  • Most produced films are rewritten to some extent during the development process, frequently by established screenwriters or new writers whose work shows promise but lacks marketability.

  • The hero's journey, three-act structure, Syd Field's paradigm, and the sequence approach are some of the main screenwriting theories that help writers approach the screenplay by systematizing the structure, goals, and techniques of writing a script.

  • Michael Hauge divides primary characters into four categories: protagonist, antagonist, reflection, and romance.

  • A screenplay is written using technical jargon and tight, spare prose when describing stage directions.

  • Unlike a novel or short story, a screenplay focuses on describing the literal, visual aspects of the story, rather than on the internal thoughts of its characters.

  • In screenwriting, the aim is to evoke thoughts and emotions through subtext, action, and symbolism.

  • A logline is one sentence that lays out what the movie is about.

  • In writing spec scripts, the writer must pitch the idea to producers, and it must have an excellent title, good writing, and a great logline.Mastering the Master-Scene Screenplay Format

  • The master-scene format is the style used in most modern screenplays in Hollywood and other related screen cultures.

  • The master-scene format comprises six elements that are presented in the order in which they are most likely to be used in a script: scene, action lines, character names, parentheticals, dialogue blocks, and scene transition.

  • Scene headings, also known as slugs, indicate the location where the following scene will take place, whether it is interior or exterior, and the time of day.

  • Action lines describe stage directions and are generally written in the present tense, focusing only on what can be seen or heard by the audience.

  • Character names are in all caps, centered in the middle of the page and indicate that a character is speaking the following dialogue.

  • Parentheticals provide stage direction for the dialogue that follows, indicating how dialogue should be performed or including small stage directions.

  • Dialogue blocks are left-justified and offset from the page's margin by 3.7".

  • The scene transition is used to indicate how the current scene should transition into the next and is generally assumed to be a cut.

  • Screenwriting applications such as Final Draft, Celtx, Fade In, Slugline, Scrivener, and Highland allow writers to format their scripts to adhere to the requirements of the master screen format.

  • Imagery can be used in many ways to sway the emotions of the audience and to clue them in to what is happening.

  • The plot is a series of events conveyed in chronological order, while the story is the same series of events arranged to maximize the story's dramatic, thematic, and emotional significance.

  • Many American universities offer specialized Master of Fine Arts and undergraduate programs in screenwriting, including USC, DePaul University, American Film Institute, Loyola Marymount University, Chapman University, NYU, UCLA, Boston University, and the University of the Arts.


Test your knowledge of the art and craft of writing screenplays with our quiz! From the different types of screenwriting jobs to mastering the master-scene format, this quiz covers a wide range of topics related to screenwriting. Whether you're a seasoned screenwriter or just starting out, this quiz is a fun way to challenge your knowledge and learn something new. So grab your pen and paper and let's get started!

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