Writing a Screenplay to shoot?

Writing a Screenplay to shoot? Start with how much you have to shoot it and write the screenplay to fit the budget. If you are simply writing a screenplay to sell… well best of luck. Back to writing one to shoot… FIRST: create the TITLE. It should be simple, short and catchy and offer info about the story. SECOND: write a LOGLINE. Sum up the story in one sentence and make it interesting. Using the TITLE and LOGLINE as a reference write the SYNOPSIS. This is the story from beginning to end in 1 or 2 paragraphs… Stick to a single primary plot and a good secondary plot… don’t go off in various ratholes…stick to the primary story for the most part. Now you have a nice foundation to start writing with. Remember, you can always go back and change things anytime you want, but this gives you some boundaries to work with. So, now write a BEAT SHEEET, a Literal LIST of the beats in the story. Simple bullet point list of the principle plot points and subplot points. The BEAT SHEET will help you develop the story from beginning to end before you write yourself and your characters into a corner or off on a romp in the wrong direction. I think you’ll find that a good beat sheet that sticks to the TITLE, LOGLINE and SYNOPSIS will give you a solid high level view of your story before you write the first line of dialogue. In fact, you’ll probably find that the beat sheet will almost turn into a scene list for the first stage of formatting your script. Now that you have the TITLE, LOGLINE, SYNOPSIS and BEAT SHEET you can start writing the script. Keep it simple, straight forward, and doable based on the budget you plan on having to shoot with. Better to have a simple solid story that is shootable then to go over the top and run out of money or shoot everything poorly due to a Million dollar script on a shoestring budget. Again, there are no hard and fast rules, but you will find that working in a logical manner will help you create a better story. A last passing thought, write a simple CHARACTER BIBLE as well… A character bible you ask? It’s a paragraph or 2 about each primary character. What do they like, dislike, what’s their background, the training, their history. How do they react to situations. Who do they like or dislike in the story and how do they interact with each other… By creating a CHARACTER BIBLE you provide yourself with some readily available insight to your characters as you become buried in the details of writing the story. Again, nothing is concrete. The TITLE, LOGLINE, SYNOPSIS, BEATSHEET, CHARACTER BIBLE are simply tools to help you write a solid commercially viable screenplay. As you write you will certainly discover things and need to go back to make changes… That’s half the fun of writing for me…