Filmmaking 101: Script Writing

Filmmaking 101: Script Writing

Welcome to Brading images. We are a Photography and Videography studio in Manchester, Salford, Irlam. We primarily do music videos and family photoshoots in the studio. We particularly enjoying doing: Newborn photoshoots, one year old photoshoots, toddler photoshoots, kids photoshoots, fairy photoshoots, mother daughter photoshoots, maternity photoshoots and siblings photoshoots, here, in manchester!

Outside the studio, we run a film club called The Stage and Screen Academy, where we teach filmmaking 101.

A straightforward way of making an exciting script, is to think about the rough outline, a “skeleton script”.

But first, think about what locations you can access and what potential cast?

Let’s start simple. Most people can access a room with a table and 4 people to act in it.

So what could be happening around a table? Playing a game? Having a meal? Playing poker? Book club? Summoning a spirit? Even with this very simple location, the possibilities are endless. 

If we use Harry potter as a comparison, the first situation is that Harry is with the Dursleys and isn’t having a great time. This is Act 1.

Once you’ve picked what the activity around the table is, think about what puts a halt to the activity. 

Has someone stolen something? Revealed a big secret? A spirit has reacted? They find that they are trapped in the room? They’ve somehow travelled to another dimension?

Whatever it is, this kicks off the story.

In Harry Potter, the thing that stops Harry being at the Dursley’s and kicks off the story, is the fact he received a letter from Hogwarts. This changes everything and is the trigger.

Then many things will happen, which will be our act 2, but we want to skip to the end, with the twist. 

What is a surprising, shocking thing that the viewer will not have expected?

Maybe all the other people in the room were ghosts all along? Maybe it was a dream? Maybe the hole thing was a trick? Maybe they were never playing poker for money to begin with?

Anything that is unexpected but makes sense, will do.

In Harry Potter, the big surprise, spoilers, is that it’s not snape trying to steal the philosopher’s stone. It’s Quirrel.

Usually this is followed a bit of a recap of things we saw in the film before but didn’t think anything of, but explain how the twist came to be.

In Harry Potter, they go through all the things Snape did to try and save harry and all the things quirrel did against harry.

After everything settles down, we then enter Act 3, which for Harry Potter, is when he is happy with his friends and all is well again.

In between the trigger and the twist, our Act 2, tension should mount and mount with lots of events, so that the twist comes at a boiling point.

So those are the 3 acts: 

Act One – the setup, where we are introduced to the world and the characters in their normal lives. Towards the end of Act One there will be an inciting incident, a trigger, which will change everything for our characters and move us onto…

Act Two – the confrontation, our characters face an increasing number of obstacles as the stakes get higher and higher. Towards the end of Act Two, stakes at approaching their highest and there is often a twist which moves us to:

Act Three – the resolution, our characters start in a state of crisis, where it looks like they might fail on their journey. Using something they have learnt along the way, they are able to overcome the crisis and achieve their goal. The story then wraps up and we get to see the new normal for our characters and how the story has affected them.

So let’s recap. There are 3 acts, including an inciting incident and a twist. You should have these laid out before writing any dialogue. You should then think, before going any further, would you, as a viewer, find this exciting enough to watch?

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