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Newbie Write Need Help! (1 Viewer)

M

Mojo_Tastic

I want to begin working on a movie script and wanted to know if anyone could tell me what the best writing software is to buy?

I have heard of Final Draft and Movie Magic, but could use a suggestiob from other writers!
 
F

forcedkeystroke

It depends.

Final Draft is awesome if writing movie scripts is a hobby of yours.


If you're looking at writing a movie script for anything more then a hobby, then I seriously suggest you consider what you're aiming for. You are going to need a lot more then just some writing software.

As a matter of fact, from a professional perspective, if you want to write a movie script then write it. If you don't know how to write a basic script, then like I said; you are going to need a lot more then just some writing software.

(this doesn't mean that if you put nine months of research and dedication into some professionally written script it would get anywhere. No, it just means that you learn from a good experience.)
 

mammamaia

Senior Member
final draft is the best, whether for hobbyists, or pros...

however, screenwriting is the most specialized of all the written arts and it will most likely take several years for you to get good enough at it, to be able write a script that can be taken seriously by agents or producers... the average first sale by a newbie is the NINTH one s/he'd written...

if you want a format guide, 'tools of the trade' list, tips from the pros, info on the basics and/or help learning the craft, just drop me a line, as i mentor many aspiring screenwriters, along with all other writing breeds...

love and hugs, maia
[email protected]
 

wmd

Senior Member
I agree that if you are serious about writing a script than just write it. You do not need expensive programs to help you format it, there are plenty of sources online to tell you how to do it.

the average first sale by a newbie is the NINTH one s/he'd written...

Is this statistic right? I am not questioning the fact I am just wondering how hard it is to sell a screenplay. (I know it is hard, but was wondering how hard)
 

mammamaia

Senior Member
VERY hard!... and yes, that statistic is generally considered valid...

newbies submit scripts by the hundreds of thousands every year... out of all of those, only a relative handful are ever optioned or bought... go to my pal jimmy vines' website for the skinny on this... he's a full time working screenwriter who helps newbies in his spare time...

www.theworkingscreenwriter.com

and i help/mentor them [along with all other writer breeds] full time, so if you need help and he's not available, you can always drop me an email...

love and hugs, maia
[email protected]
 

Pacze Moj

Member
Sophocles is another decent program. As well, there are screenwriting templates for Word floating around the Internet.
 

wmd

Senior Member
Thanks for the link mammamaia.. It looks like it will help me in my research of screenplays.

Would you say it is harder to get a book published or a screenplay produced/optioned.

I would assume the best way to go is find an agent to rep your work, but is finding an agent for a screenplay the same as finding one for a novel?
 

mammamaia

Senior Member
Thanks for the link mammamaia.. It looks like it will help me in my research of screenplays.

...glad it'll help... you can't do better than pay attention to what a long time and full time practioner of a craft/art has to say...

Would you say it is harder to get a book published or a screenplay produced/optioned.

definitely the screenplay... you can always go to a pd or other pseudo-publisher to see your ms in book form, if no one thinks it's good enough to pay you for it... but you can't make your own feature-length movies, unless you've loads of loot and plenty of experience...

so, you have no alternative but to sell it to a producer... and even getting an agent to want to read the full script will take lots of time and plenty of rejections, if you're lucky enough and good enough to get that far... then, for the agent to be able to shop it around till it's optioned or sold, will take more time... and luck...

I would assume the best way to go is find an agent to rep your work, but is finding an agent for a screenplay the same as finding one for a novel?

basically, yes... but they won't necessarily be the same agencies... many who rep novelists don't rep screenwriters... and you really need to have an agent in the LA/hollywood area, to be successful as one... a few in ny are ok, but the center of the film universe is still hollywood and your agent [and you!] will have to 'take meetings' and if not in the area, can't do that...
 

Shawn

WF Veterans
Pacze Moj said:
Sophocles is another decent program. As well, there are screenwriting templates for Word floating around the Internet.

I use Final Draft... but that's just 'cause I'm fancy.

The best I've ever gotten with a script was a high school fall musical, though. ;) Yeah... I suck.
 

mammamaia

Senior Member
'fancy' isn't what fd is about... it's about being 'professional'!... so, if you want to write scripts as a career, it's worth the expense... if you're just writing for fun, you can get a ms word script template upgrade or even set up your own...
 

Shawn

WF Veterans
mammamaia said:
'fancy' isn't what fd is about... it's about being 'professional'!... so, if you want to write scripts as a career, it's worth the expense... if you're just writing for fun, you can get a ms word script template upgrade or even set up your own...

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know. FD is a nice tool to have for anyone who wants to put their script in a professional format.

Important thing with a script:

It's not like writing a novel or short story, you have to plan everything beforehand. Comic relief, jokes, wordplay, dialogue... everything. If you don't, you are going to be really lost and your script isn't going to make much sense.
 

mammamaia

Senior Member
It's not like writing a novel or short story, you have to plan everything beforehand. Comic relief, jokes, wordplay, dialogue... everything. If you don't, you are going to be really lost and your script isn't going to make much sense.

i beg to differ... to write a novel, you have to plan ahead and outline, to keep from getting tangled up in your plot/subplots and avoid plot holes...

a script does not have to be planned out any more thoroughly than a novel, though it can be outlined a bit differently, due to being divided into scenes, unlike the novel which is more narrative... many of the pros often work that way...

a seasoned screenwriter can write a script without doing all that planning you mention... if i know the characters and have the plot fairly well defined in my head, i can just let the script 'write itself' with a bare minimum of pre-planning...
 

Shawn

WF Veterans
mammamaia said:
a seasoned screenwriter can write a script without doing all that planning you mention... if i know the characters and have the plot fairly well defined in my head, i can just let the script 'write itself' with a bare minimum of pre-planning...

As stated before, I suck at screenwriting. :) I can't write a script without extensive pre-planning, but I can write lengthy prose without becoming tangled in it.

Then again, dealing with a belligerent Russian composer for music really doesn't help.

Gosh, your experience card always trumps mine. :)
 

Pacze Moj

Member
It's also important to remember that the screenplay isn't, in its written self, a finished work in the way a novel is a finished work. A screenplay's merely an outline, a plan, for a future film. I don't think anyone (in their right mind, of course!) reads screenplays for fun. Most who do read them, read them because they want to learn to write them.

However, in my experience, writing screenplays has helped my prose writing a ton: planning and organizing a plot, giving it structure, with regard to narrative; and, in the actual writing, succinctness and clarity. In other words, learning some screenwriting, even if you don't succeed at selling any of your scripts, will probably help all your subsequent writing -- of any kind.
 

mammamaia

Senior Member
:smile: I can't write a script without extensive pre-planning, but I can write lengthy prose without becoming tangled in it.

as in novels?... with no outline at any point???

Then again, dealing with a belligerent Russian composer for music really doesn't help.

???

Gosh, your experience card always trumps mine. :smile:

sorry 'bout that... maybe when you get to my age, yours will have trumped mine? ;-)

In other words, learning some screenwriting, even if you don't succeed at selling any of your scripts, will probably help all your subsequent writing -- of any kind.

it may have for you, but i don't see how, since as i noted above, screenwriting is the most specialized of all the writing arts and the spare style required to write spec scripts successfully doesn't really relate to writing good prose...

plus, i doubt learning 'some screenwriting' makes any sense ...if you don't learn it all, you're not actually screenwriting... i've mentored probably thousands of aspiring screenwriters over the years and can testify to the fact that just 'some' learning of the craft is much worse than none! ;-(

but if you've made it work for you, who am i to argue the fact?...
 

Pacze Moj

Member
mammamaia said:
it may have for you, but i don't see how, since as i noted above, screenwriting is the most specialized of all the writing arts and the spare style required to write spec scripts successfully doesn't really relate to writing good prose...
Writing in a spare style forces the writer to pick and choose his or her words. As I'm sure you well know, screenwriters are forever stressing over which verb to use so as to avoid having to use an adverb, or how to say in eleven words what they've been saying in fifteen to shave precious lines off a twelfth draft so that it finally runs in under 95 pages!

:p

I think learning that style of writing, and learning to stress over those individual words and thinking about what they mean, helps cut some of the fat when writing in other formats. You probably don't want to write a novel in the same style you'd write a screenplay, and you may, probably will, choose to use more words, nicer language; but, at least you'll know that you could have written War and Peace 582 pages shorter! And you'll be able to identify that fat, and decide where and when you want to use it.

mammamaia said:
plus, i doubt learning 'some screenwriting' makes any sense ...if you don't learn it all, you're not actually screenwriting... i've mentored probably thousands of aspiring screenwriters over the years and can testify to the fact that just 'some' learning of the craft is much worse than none! ;-(
It doesn't make any sense if you want to pursue screenwriting (if you do, you'll learn all eventually), but, if you decide to pursue screenwriting, learn some things about it, and then decide to stop pursuing screenwriting, what you've learned will, most likely, not go to waste:

Learning 3-Act structure will, for example, help you with plotting (at the very least it will make you aware of structure, which is something!); learning to write in the spare style you mentioned will help you with writing leaner and meaner in general, and might do wonders for poetry, lyrics; learning narrative economy (packing as much information into each action, description ,and line of dialogue as possible) will, again, help with, most forms of writing, be they fiction or non-fiction; etc.

However, the most important skill that screenwriting teaches is how to edit -- and especially how to edit one's own writing. To steal some Douglas Adams ideas: If writing is rewriting, screenwriting is doubly so!

IMO, precisely because screenwriting's such a specialized field, it'll help a writer. Maybe in the same way that learning to race in F1 might help one's general day-to-day driving... Sure, you won't use or need all the skills you learn, but, on the whole, it will make you better-equipped to handle the drive to grocery store.
 

mammamaia

Senior Member
i can see you are happy to have learned from doing this, and you certainly make many good points in support of same, but as it takes years to be any good at screenwriting, i doubt many prose writers will want to take that long a detour... plus, i've found that the hardest thing for beginners to learn, taking by far the longest to sink in, is how to write with the sparity and clarity that is the hallmark of good screenwriting...

we're in agreement on principle, differ only on practicality, it seems...

hugs, m
 
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