Scriptwriting Workshop

Very successful short films have subplots, features have many subplots to help the narrative along and keep the audience engaged. Show don’t tell is many of the advice I am given while at University to encourage the viewer to concentrate on the images. Concentrating on the visuals helps the audience to imagine and engage with the images on the screen that you are willing to show them. The dialogue has to be character specific  to learn and know your characters in order for the audience to identify who they are. Cutting the dialogue can help improve and sharpen the script and make the visuals come to life where the dialogue is not needed.

Depending on what I want to create whether is it a short film or documentary I have to start watching researching into the areas I want my FMP to be shown. The Ideas have to be constant and to be able to keep creating, improving and developing the script. ‘What If?’ is a very good way to start thinking and creating and using different sources like pictures, books, articles ect.  Anything and everything can be a What If? and it can be a creative way to make you use your imagination and help to tell a simple story.

Being able to tell a story in a very simple way can be hard, however, visual art has to be easy to follow and in order to ‘show and not tell’ is to tell a simple story. In a documentary, it is important to consider on how to keep telling the truth and stay as close to the truth. It is important to understand when to stop and stay close to the storyline/ the question in the filmmaker’s head/ the narrative/ message without spiralling because documentaries can drift and it is hard to know when to end.

There are three types of structure that can be followed when writing a script

The Classic Hollywood Narrative

Three Act Structure

The Discontinuous Narrative


The Three Act Structure is broken down into this;

Act 1- Set up (Location and Characters)

Act 2- The Confrontation (Obstacles)

ACT 3- The Climax and Resolution

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There has to be a conflict in every story to help the narrative along and keep the audience’s attentions. When the audience sees someone overcoming the problems it helps leaving them satisfied.

Protagonist is the good people in the story

Antagonist the bad people in the story

They also don’t have to be people they could be anything from animals, aliens or objects.Also depending on the number of pages that your write that determines the running time. 1 page in a script is equal to 1 minute on screen.

The turning points in the script become a plot device is physical then it becomes visual.The Three Act Structure helps to keep the story together when it needs redrafting and editing the script. The plot and characters become compressed and when it’s in the final stages it still keeps its structure when problems occur when making the film. It is very important to understand the language and structures in order to reconsider and communicating in this industry.

‘The Hero with a Thousand Faces’

To get the audience thinking while writing the script and considering the ‘What If’ can also be left up to the audience where they can imagine what could happen and give the audience a choice, opinion and make them engage with the story while the character is trying to overcome the problem. Not everything has to be crystal clear in the script. However as the scriptwriter, to know what is happening can make the script justice. It is good to consider keeping the first draft of your script to refer back to the original to find out what you were on about in the first place. The more that is cut down the more you can get the audience questioning the ‘what if?’ and completely change their perception at the end. The audience can question and the use of imagination can lead their path into a very complicated story that can also be satisfying to them. Most of the time the audience can also make the story more complicated than it needs to be so to have a simple story or outcome/problem/solution can surprise the audience and satisfy them in a different way.





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