FMP – Pre-Production – Script

Writing a script is one of the main skills you need to make a film. Without this skill, you’ll look unprofessional and you won’t be able to get actors and crew to understand what you want and what you need when shooting.

I’m going to go through how you write a script and look at all the things that are used to show what you want out of your film.

Script example

This is a basic use of all the main attributes you will use when writing a script. I will break down each one and explain when and why you’ll use them.

Scene heading:

Scene Heading

This explains the scenes surroundings in three easy steps. The first step is to say if the scene takes place inside or outside. If inside then you’ll abbreviate inside to ‘INT.’ and if outside

you’ll write ‘EXT.’. If it’s both then you’ll either do ‘E/I.’ or ‘I/E.’ which is depending on if your character goes outside or goes inside. The next one is where the scene takes place. For the example I have given, I’ve put ‘Rob’s Livingroom’. The last step is saying what time of day it is when the scene takes place.

Transition:

Transition

This is mainly for the editor. When editing, the editor will have the script at hand, reading through and following along as they edit. When there are transitions requests in the script, they’ll know and carry out the transition.

Action:

Action

This one is used to explain all the movements the characters do. This can get very big so it’s recommended every line or two, you create another paragraph just so it’s easy to read and that avoids massive blocks of text occurring.

Character Name:

Character

This one is simple, it’s the name of the character.

Parenthetical:

Parenthetical

This one is used to describe how the character feels and sounds when saying the line. Usually, actors won’t want or need this as it’ll be obvious to what the characters are expressing.

Second Parenthetical

This is another parenthetical that says where the character is in the scene. For example, ‘O.S.’ means ‘Off Screen’ meaning the character who is saying the line isn’t on the frame at the time he’s saying the line.

Dialogue:

Dialogue

This is everything the characters say, it’s what the audience will hear so it’s a good idea to make the dialogue perfect because if it isn’t, you actors will have an impression of you and not a good one.

I started off going straight into the script which is the one thing you shouldn’t do. I realised this because when it came time to write my characters, some of the dialogue and actions didn’t fit the character, forcing me to go through the script and make the actions fit the characters more.

I created my characters: name, country of origin, age, gender and occupation. Even though most of these things won’t be shown in the film, it’s a good way for my actors to know who they are playing.

I then went into detail with their personality, thinking about their likes and dislikes, their preferred appearance and their skills. I wrote two paragraphs talking about their past and how they came to be who they are today which builds up more personality for these characters.

But most of this won’t be said, this is only for me to write fittingly for the characters and for the actors who will understand what type of person they’ll be playing.

My main problem with last years FMP script was that there were massive blocks of text that we’re very hard to read and confused a lot of people, including me. What I’ve done this year is break the script up more, and have those blocks of text gone. I started off by splitting up the action, scenery and the appearance of the character. I’d start by describing the scenery and character’s appearance first, before moving into action. I created a new paragraph every line or two just to space it out more. I’m glad I did this because now it’s easier to read and doesn’t cause confusion.

With a film like this where it jumps around a lot, writing can be done two ways. The first way is to write this kind of script is to write it in chronological order. This will simplify the script to allow it easier to shoot then mess around with it in the editing stage but this could lead to confusion as I might forget what I had planned. The other way, the way I did it, was to write it how I’m going to edit it, with the Hound Tor bits spread out through the script.

Below is the script but some of it isn’t in the final film which is indicated by being highlighted in yellow:

 

 

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