Film : Sebastian Kutzli
Screenplay : Marie Amsler

writing a screenplay

In the beginning, there is always the fascinating idea for a good story.

Sometimes, this first idea leads to a big success and to a great movie.

Sometimes, and this is far more common, the script lands on the heap of other rejected scripts in spite of the good idea.

In most cases, the reason for that can be found in the fact that the script was not of sufficient professional quality. A good story idea needs a story well-told.

And a well-told story demands first of all talent but also good writing to make it to the screen. Good writing means a script with a strong dramatic structure that is presented in an internationally accepted format. These two elements can be learned. I would even go so far to say that knowing dramatic structuring and formatting is the basis of the scriptwriting craft.

Last but not least, stamina is also on the list. Writing is re-writing, especially in the film business.

And scripts are not novels. Whereas a novel writer is the only one involved, film scripts are only the blueprints of a story. The producers, the editor, and the director are involved as well during the long process of film production.

The scriptwriting craft also demands the ability to handle the different tools of the trade. Loglines, outline, synopsis and treatment are helpful not only to develop a film script but also serve as selling tools.
On the one hand, knowing the structural elements of genre screenwriting should not lead to a rigid screenwriting by numbers (see article by Lisa Rosenberg under USEFUL BOOKS/ARTICLES). But on the other hand, it is important not to aim exclusively at arthouse cinema audiences, as this could reduce any chance of seeing your film made.
A good mix of genre elements and surprisingly fresh storytelling should be the goal to attract larger audiences and to make the story a financial success as well.

One of the most important elements of a story, the basic element the author should know before he writes the story, is theme. It is the gestalt, the inner workings of his storytelling and constitutes the sign post to making his writing meaningful.

Those who have always dreamed of wrinting a movie should learn the craft, the basic tools for it, before developing their first script. Wrinting is re-wrinting. When you work as a screen writer you should be aware of the fact that you will have to write several versions until you reach the Final Draft.

The new writer should search for helpful information, methods and techniques, exercices and constructive critique to write the first script.

And last but not least, all those techniques ans methods wil take the writer nowhere unless there are two crucial elements. One is what we call talent.

And the second is a story with an important event in the life of a person and how he or she deals with it. A gripping and we-told story is not something the audience passively watches and forgets. It causes a process, much in the same way as any other crucial experience in their lives.