“…the play is unfinished unless it has an audience, and they are as important as everyone else.”
— Lee Hall
“For a truly effective screenplay, you must know your characters backwards and forward. In screenwriting, the moment you begin to imagine character relationships – how your character deals with his parents, his siblings, his coworkers, and all that – you start to explore the world of your story, and suddenly scenes begin to emerge.
As you research your character (context, culture, occupation), creating details (attitudes, values, emotions), developing backstory (physiology, sociology, psychology), and establishing personality and behavior, you start putting the character in different situations in your mind, and you begin to imagine him or her in the most mundane and most exciting moments of his life.
The courage to deal with the trivial and banalities is something you should develop. Because often the best stories in screenwriting, are made from the most commonplace material, and if you don’t know how your character cooks dinner, does laundry, brushes his teeth, or what his little vexations are, his petty likes and dislikes, a dynamic, a full story will never happen.
Frank Daniel, the former chair of the Film Division at Columbia University and past dean of the School of Cinema-Television at USC, echos the point in five simple words: “A story starts with character.”
So if character is the key, and stories are only as good as the characters within them, you better create some damn, fine, outstanding characters.”
For more tips on writing screenplays from , click HERE.
“Billy Wilder was one of the greatest writer/directors in film history, having co-written and directed such classics as Sunset Boulevard, Some Like it Hot, The Apartment, and Double Indemnity. What screenwriter wouldn’t want a little advice from him?
Well, here are some of Wilder’s screenwriting tips: [From Conversations with Wilder by Cameron Crowe]
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