Story is King. No director, no matter how visionary they are, no actress no matter how amazing they are, and no cinematographer, no matter how determined they are, can turn a bad story/scripts into a good film/TV show.
Make sure you’re starting strong as a writer and giving everyone in the team something to work with. In my career as a Head writer I’ve had the privilege of reading great scripts and in the same breath, I’ve had the difficult task of ploughing through badly written scripts.
If you want to stand out from the rest, if you want to leave a lasting memorable taste with those who read your work then you need to work on your craft every day.
Read below on some qualities of a great script.
- Strong Opening Hook: In these days of ‘limited interest span’ because of all that’s fighting for our attention. We have no choice but to make sure we grab and hold our audience’s attention from the get go. Take a closer look at the characters you have in your story, how have you introduced them to your audience? Have you introduced them in a way that makes the audience want to go on a journey with them? How have you introduced the tone of your film/series, genre in the first few minutes? Grab our attention with a strong opening hook. Don’t give us a reason to click the button to see what’s next.
- A Story That Starts: Have you ever watched a movie or TV show and you sat there wondering when it was going to start? As in kick off? I know there are different techniques of writing for the screen, but bottom line, you have to be fair to the audience and give them a start because that’s the expectation. It’s not okay to have beautiful images, beautiful dialogue and the story is a non- starter.
- Great Dialogue: Strengthen your script by having great dialogue that moves from character to character in a seamless way. Does the dialogue you’ve written have rhythm?
- A Variety Of Conflicts: Find ways to play with the protagonist’s inner conflict and outer conflicts to help us feel more and stay engaged. You need to have a variety of conflicts to keep us invested in the story. Remember the conflicts cannot be haphazard, but should be in line with the goal your character is after.
- Raised Stakes: Without raised stakes the story stagnates and when that happens we get bored. Play around with the types of stakes such as Livelihood stakes, personal stakes etc to keep us hooked on the character’s journey.
- Each Scene Has Earned Its Place: There’s nothing asboring as filler scenes that haven’t earned their place in the story but are just there to add to the required page count. Relook your scenes and make sure each scene has earned its place.
- Brevity In Your Writing: As always, start your scene late, leave early. Don’t repeat to your audience things they already know. Always keep the story moving forward.
Hope these pointers have inspired you on your writing journey.
Do you have more suggestions on this? Share them in the comments section.
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