As technologies and techniques evolve with time, there are a few basic principles that don’t really change. Scriptwriting is one such pillar whose expression might have transformed, but the fundamentals remain as unchanged and as strong as ever.
I. Be Spontaneous
When it comes to the premise of a story, there really are no set rules you need to follow. You have total freedom to take your story wherever you want to. Start with something exciting, like a high-octane clash between two rival teams or a cop car chasing a criminal. The story does not necessarily have to be told from the start. As far are rules are concerned, you are the creator of all the ones in your script.
II. Start Right
The key to writing a captivating video script is to have an outline of what you are going to say. The old school format of having a mental blueprint and writing down ideas in the form of hints is a good way to start. Learn to stay connected to what you want to say and just start. Do not worry about the ending initially. Starting is half the problem solved. Start with basic dialogues and try to make them as fluid as possible. The end will come to you as you go forward.
III. Avoid Clichés
Clichés are a scriptwriter’s worst enemies. Avoid anything that seems dull or predictable. If you borrow characters from your own life, then change a few aspects such as gender or age. A script which has many characters will require a lot of work, so limit the number early on, you can always introduce someone at a time when nobody would expect. The best way to make a story interesting is to give characters a mission and introduce hurdles in their paths so as to keep the audience involved.
IV. The Devil is in the Details
The best written scripts have accurate descriptions of all things. This is where you have to describe a room or a place with copious amounts of details. The goal is to make readers imagine the place in their head and want to be there themselves. Use short, crisp sentences followed by long ones. Mix them up so it does not sound monotonous. To make sure you do not go overboard, spend more time on living characters rather than inanimate objects.
V. A Word from the Wise
Master storyteller Stephen King’s primary advice to all scriptwriters is – “Show, don’t tell!” We can’t emphasize this enough. For instance, if you are writing a scene where a character is showing her emotions, do not describe her expression in words, but rather paint a picture of what she is feeling or experiencing using visual metaphors. A script is an art of showing what your characters do instead of just narrating. Do not be afraid to dig deeper.
VI. Drop the Dead Weight
Once the script is complete, the tough part begins – editing. This is something which you cannot do alone. Get an editor or an unbiased friend to help you. The tough part about editing is that a lot of stuff is basically thrown out. The editor is not your enemy, he or she is only going to provide you a better or fresher perspective. When you’re too close to your work, it is possible to develop tunnel vision. This is why a fresh set of eyes can help. Anything that gets deleted is for the better health of the script, so do not take it personally.
VII. Just begin
The only way to accomplish something is to get on with it. The destination will only be reached once you start the journey; So stop procrastinating and start writing. Good luck!