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Tonight i’m going to sit in front of this laptop screen and open my screenwriting software and face the digital equivalent of a blank page.

It will say the following:

FADE IN:

The rest will be blank, and that blankness is both intimidating and exciting in equal measure. Sometimes I go in cold with no written outline but just an idea, the very pinprick of imagination. Other times I have a multipage outline and that’s good certainly, but sometimes having a outline heavily plotted can be a detriment to the open nature of writing. Despite what some authors or writers say sometimes it is advantageous to let your character dictate the plot.

Here’s a few tips to confront that blank page:

1: Start in Media Res 

What this means is to start your story, screenplay, or project in the middle of an anticipated sequence. Usually an action sequence or one involving suspense with the possibility of leaving folks on a cliffhanger until you return to that point. This helps with the first ten pages of the script known as The Pipe because The Pipe must be very involving and draw the reader into the story. If you haven’t got the hooks in by page ten at the latest your script will be recycled using the trash bin.

2: Start with a High Concept sequence

Try to start not only with 10 really good pages but use a scene/group of scenes or moment that you have really developed to a relatively complete state. Also don’t forget that with screenwriting software you can always switch out and plant another scene in front of it. This high concept sequence should be exciting, action packed, and like some of the latter Bond Pre-credits sequences connected to the plot in some substantial way. It should also be used to introduce your main lead male or female, and the world in which your character lives. The most import thing is that you describe things with enough depth that you can imagine it, picture the art direction in your head and let the scene play through your imagination. If it engages you well, you need to make sure it engages the reader better.

3: Be Eager

It’s very exciting to begin a project, dive into it this is draft one it doesn’t need to be perfect that’ll come later. Draft One is about getting the basic story on the paper or on the screen. Draft one is about getting a completed script eventually out there and done. There’s nothing like writing out your imagination and seeing it on the screen or paper.

And finally…

4: Eagerly Await the Rewrite

The rewrite is the screenwriters friend the odds of you getting down the story you want perfectly are practically nill. The perfect first draft is not going to happen, what you will have is a complete script that probably needs to be fleshed out. Let me share how true this is by sharing about my first original script for film. When I finished Draft One I had a solid piece of entertainment I was pleased with, but I knew there was something missing. Why did I know this- because it felt incomplete, and not only that but it was about 25 minutes shorter than my average script length from the my fan scripts before. this was clocking in at 1hr 49 minutes and my fan scripts were pretty much right on 2hrs 20mins.

So over the next month I rewrote the script. Added more plot lines, and stronger character arcs. Fixed errors and entirely changed a few key sequences. What did I find at the end of Draft Two, I had a longer far better script which I was ecstatic about. A rewrite by the original writers will almost always improve the script, never EVER let anyone you don’t know rewrite your work at all.

In Conclusion

So crack those knuckles and get typing or writing. There are free screenwriting programs out there that rival pay programs and are very easy to use. Celtx Screenwriting Software There’s no reason that you cannot write your idea into a screenplay, teleplay, stage play or novel.

Don’t let anyone keep you from growing your talent, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t write that pet project.

Let your imagination go free, and don’t look back.

Best of luck,

Ross

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