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Screenwriting for Beginners

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I think one of the methods that helps me write my screenplays faster without writer's block is that I write what I know to begin with. Because I already know the story inside out, I can then just write and write without pondering what to write about. The story will also flow naturally.

But some may argue that you can just write whatever you want. It’s also true to some extent. But as an aspiring screenwriter writing what I already know seems to be the quickest way to get it going and to finish my screenplay as fast as possible. Also, the trick is that you don't need to get it right since you're just starting out. You just need to get it going! The more you write and practice, the more you will become good at it. As a result, you will master incredible writing skills in the process.

People often think, especially new screenwriters, that people will laugh at their writing and their stories. Because they are not that good. When they get stuck don't know what to write about, they also tend to procrastinate (Writer's block). Consequently, a combination of fear makes them refrain themselves from writing. If you can just stop thinking about all the things that interfere your writing, you will just write and write until your screenplay is complete - which could take just a matter of days. 

I don’t have to do, e.g., the following: Lots of research; generate story ideas; plan the beginning, middle and end; build unique characters; think about the locations; and many more. Because the plot, the setting, the characters, the inciting incident and the end are already there in my memory from my own experiences, my family, etc. I just have to make some changes to make the story more interesting and entertaining, then write it down in a screenplay format and revise it. As simple as that.

So, I think, I am more of a pantser rather than a plotter; I write first, then I plan and fine-tune it later. The most important thing is to start writing and get the script written as soon as possible! Then, you will also have a finished screenplay to show to the world faster and be proud of yourself. Your self-confidence, self-esteem and ambition will also skyrocket after having accomplished a challenging task. Because writing a screenplay is not easy, especially when you’re new to the craft.

It also makes the plot appear more spontaneous, original and personal. Because the stories I write about are mostly inspired by real stories, which only I can tell. This technique also helps me get rid of my writer’s block. Because I don’t have to think much about coming up with something completely new and different. So, I don’t really have that problem. With this tactic, I had managed to write 2 feature-length screenplays and about 3 short scripts last year alone. One of the short scripts, I turned it into a short film, I’ll Be Alright, which I just made earlier this year, as a proof of concept for my debut feature film, which I wrote a screenplay for it last year as well. So, I have gotten this far with this strategy alone.

When you plan too much about your story, it loses its magic, mystery and creativity as well. I think. You get stuck in the planning process and may have a hard time moving any further. That’s when writer’s block emerges. So, if you want to start writing screenplays and don’t know how to begin, just start with something you already know first. It's the easiest way to get started ASAP, in my opinion. Because writing is not easy, especially with screenplays, since you have to follow the script’s rules like standard screenplay format and show don’t tell.

As I said earlier, screenwriting is not easy. Because you have to, for example, produce lots of story ideas to begin with, then pick the right one, create a story premise like no one else, build interesting characters, storyworld and many more. Thus, just the inception stage alone could take you days, weeks, months, or even years depending on your devotion to it and your time as well.

So, having an original story concept ready to write, which may be an inspiration from your own life experiences or your family, for example, is half the battle. Then, the only things you need to worry about are, as I mentioned above, standard screenplay format and show don’t tell writing techniques, for instance.

Later, if you want, you can then write about a galaxy far, far away. Or a new Pulp Fiction or The Lord of The Rings even. Something complex. Because these types of stories require excellent writing skills and writing experience. So, you have to be a very prolific writer to be able to pull it off. Or unless you have a knack for writing because it’s a gift that you were born with, then go for it. But generally speaking, as a new writer, write what you know first to practice your writing skills and your storytelling ability is a good way to start. The story will also take shape in a more unique way, which only you can write like that. It will then make you stand out from the rest. I think.

But I could be wrong about that. This is just my approach that works for me. Whatever you want to write about is completely your own choice. It just has to be something that keeps you up at night. Because you’re too enthusiastic about the story and just can’t wait to get up in the morning and continue to write it till the end.

Just remember that your passion for writing or filmmaking or both can also stem from something totally unexpected, and that it can be developed. For example, I had never written a screenplay before when I made my first short in 2018. But I wanted to make my own stuff so badly that I started to teach myself screenwriting by watching lots of YouTube videos, reading lots of books and articles about screenwriting, etc. I also like blogging now and again. I would never have thought that I'd become a screenwriter one day just by blogging as a hobby. 

After having a go at screenwriting and finding out that I liked it, I then started investing in some courses to improve my screenwriting and filmmaking skills. So, later, I then went to film school to learn practical filmmaking, directing, editing as well as taking some screenwriting courses, acting classes, and so forth, to cultivate my cinematic storytelling, filmmaking and creative writing skills. 

So, don't think that you have no skills or talents in writing, filmmaking or anything like that. Just think about why you like watching movies so much. Maybe you have an aptitude for visual storytelling or writing or both but don't know it, yet. Think about it. And when you actually start writing, you may realize that this is exactly what you've always wanted to become: A writer/screenwriter or a filmmaker or both. That's how I discovered my true interest in writing and filmmaking. I mean, you'll never know what you're good at before you give it a try.

 If you want to get started as soon as possible, there are 5 ways I can help you:

  1. Write Your First Short Film Workshop: If you want to learn how to write your own first short film, so that you can turn it into a short - which you may make and direct it yourself - then my BUPPHA Filmmaker Academy mini program is the place to get started (That also comes with a short film writing workshop). Because you'll also receive weekly group coaching, access to a rich library of filmmaking templates, cheat sheets, meet and collaborate with like-minded creative individuals in our student only community group, and more.
  2. Join My BUPPHA Filmmaker Academy: In this yearly membership program, you'll receive a practical filmmaking course where you'll learn everything from screenwriting to distributing your own films. Furthermore, you'll also get access to our own student only community as well as our student only Facebook group, weekly group coaching, twice a month private coaching and many, many more! 
  3. Buy My Books: I just wrote filmmaking books about how to get started writing and making your own indie short films or even features, to launch your filmmaking career. It's an easy read book that will help you demystify the complexity of filmmaking.
  4. Success Private 1:1 Coaching: My Success - Half-day Private 1:1 Coaching Session will introduce you to the world of filmmaking and how to accelerate your filmmaking career avoiding making mistakes, wasting time, money and more. You just skip over my errors and only choose what works.  
  5. The Saturday Filmmaker: Every Saturday morning, I share one excellent tip to help you accelerate your filmmaking, writing and/or acting careers. So you can live your life to the fullest doing what you love and making a (good) living from it. Just make your coffee ready for my email ☕😀

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