How to Write a Movie Script – Screenwriting Tips to Get You Started

So you’d like to be a film writer, but where do you start? What tools and resources are important to learn to become a screenwriter? Is it necessary to spend a lot of money to begin? Is screenwriting very hard? These are all typical questions, which I will answer in this post.

Quick tips about how to write a film screenplay:

1) Read as many movie screenplays as you can. Educate yourself on the format and vocabulary of how scripts are constructed. For example, film scripts are always written in the present tense and often use minimal description to set scenes and produce ambiance. The rule of thumb is: never generate more detail than you absolutely need.

2) Make use of computer software to format your screenplays. To achieve success in Hollywood, you have to use proper screenplay formatting. Those who work in the industry are used to screenplays following an established format and layout. If yours does not, you are out of the ball game before it has even started. If you’ve got the money to spend ($100- 200), I suggest Movie Magic Screenwriter as the software of choice. In my opinion, it FAR SURPASSES the competition. If your budget is tight, there are also many low-cost software solutions (under $100), as well as free templates that plug into MS Word.

3) Learn to outline your stories. This can be done on the laptop or computer, or you can use the “traditional” approach to breaking down your screen story through the use of index (3×5) cards. Either approach will allow you to move your scenes about and discover the proper flow of your story. With this process, you might discover “miracles” that will take your movie story to the next level… or you may find that that “precious” scene you’ve been planning on is unnecessary!

4) Purchase some screenwriting guides to help you learn the technique of storytelling and just how to structure your story. William Goldman, screenwriter extraordinaire, is famous for declaring that screenplays are, “Structure, structure, structure.” Movies don’t have time to meander like novels. They need to be tightly constructed, with no flab. There are some great books on the market. Hit the local book shop to become acquainted with a few. One of my favorites on how to write a commercial script is Blake Snyder’s SAVE THE CAT!

Is screenwriting a difficult process? In some ways, yes. Once you learn the basics, you will be far ahead of the pack who never make the time to learn the correct elements of construction and formatting.

For lots more killer FREE tips on writing for film, check out Screenwriting Tips. Sign up to receive Free SCREENPLAYS that you can use to learn How to Write a Movie Script

A.L. Desalvo lives in Utah and tinkers with screenwriting. His web page is at

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