New writer trying the gain knowledge

Hi, I’m Uche.
Im 22 and still currently in college. I have wanted to write screenplays for a long time and never knew where to start. So I’m starting here!!! If anyone could tell me what step one is, like where I should start and the following steps to learning how to be a good screen play writer I’d love that!
 
Hey, thank you for the warm welcome.
yes that’s my real name,

And honestly, I’ve always loved writing and stuff, and I have so many dope story ideas in my head that need a way to get out.
 
All the above... Try to read at least one produced screenplay a week and understand that what you're going to find online are SHOOTING scripts so they're a little different. They have more transitions and camera input but the story is there. In addition to that? The only screenwriting book I've ever found to help establish a good foundation for beginning is this one:

Screenwriting for Neurotics: A Beginner's Guide to Writing a Feature-Length Screenplay from Start to Finish

*Note: You can learn a lot from simply reading produced screenplays but in my humble opinion? You'll learn FASTER if you read some good books on the subject.
 
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directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
The screenplay is the most difficult format for getting your story ideas out.
The format is so specific that novelists and short story writers have a difficult
time telling their story. The screenplay is more about format and what will be
seen on screen than anything else. Of course story is essential – it's just
second to format. Its entire existence is as a guide for others to make a movie.
That, of course, is the only reason to write a screenplay – to make a movie.

I suspect you have never read a screenplay. Am I right? Nothing wrong with that,
a screenplay isn't a medium that many people see.

That's why sfoster's advice is spot on. Read screenplays. Get a feel for the
format. That's step one.

What's the origin of your name? Very unusual.
 
The screenplay is the most difficult format for getting your story ideas out.
The format is so specific that novelists and short story writers have a difficult
time telling their story. The screenplay is more about format and what will be
seen on screen than anything else. Of course story is essential – it's just
second to format. Its entire existence is as a guide for others to make a movie.
That, of course, is the only reason to write a screenplay – to make a movie.

I suspect you have never read a screenplay. Am I right? Nothing wrong with that,
a screenplay isn't a medium that many people see.

That's why sfoster's advice is spot on. Read screenplays. Get a feel for the
format. That's step one.

What's the origin of your name? Very unusual.
Thank you very much, I’m Nigerian, it maybe unusual to you but to me it’s a very common name.
 
All the above... Try to read at least one produced screenplay a week and understand that what you're going to find online are SHOOTING scripts so they're a little different. They have more transitions and camera input but the story is there. In addition to that? The only screenwriting book I've ever found to help establish a good foundation for beginning is this one:

Screenwriting for Neurotics: A Beginner's Guide to Writing a Feature-Length Screenplay from Start to Finish

*Note: You can learn a lot from simply reading produced screenplays but in my humble opinion? You'll learn FASTER if you read some good books on the subject.
Thank you, also, how do you like reply’s on here? 😅
 
All the above... Try to read at least one produced screenplay a week and understand that what you're going to find online are SHOOTING scripts so they're a little different. They have more transitions and camera input but the story is there. In addition to that? The only screenwriting book I've ever found to help establish a good foundation for beginning is this one:

Screenwriting for Neurotics: A Beginner's Guide to Writing a Feature-Length Screenplay from Start to Finish

*Note: You can learn a lot from simply reading produced screenplays but in my humble opinion? You'll learn FASTER if you read some good books on the subject.
Do you have any websites or apps that I can find produced screenplay at?
 
Thank you, also, how do you like reply’s on here? 😅
I think everyone's trying to help and everyone tries to help in their own way... This way you get more than a few THINGS TO CONSIDER before even attempting to write a spec script ASSUMING that's what you want to do.

If I had it to do ALL OVER AGAIN? I would have STUCK by my first idea of simply LEARNING HOW TO WRITE a great script and then write it -- make it on my own dime.

Why?

Because to be honest? Hollywood sucks. LOL. It is what it is... It's cutthroat. People tell you things that never come true. You end up doing work for free. You end up missing out on opportunities because you signed with the wrong people.

Writing a spec script and selling it is like playing the lottery... Only problem is that you just never know how close you might have come to making a deal... LOL. Don't get me wrong... Along the way, I made some very good money... I can't complain. But I did NOT get into this business to become a professional screenwriter... I wanted to make my own films. I wanted to create a family of filmmakers where we all knew each other's jobs and we made at least one movie a year that made enough money for everyone to live well. Pipe dream? Sure, but without a pipe dream, what do we have to look forward to?

During the first few years, I just thought I had become somewhat unlucky... i.e., rubbing elbows with all the wrong people... LOL. Nope. I've come to realize rubbing those elbows is more or less the right of passage one must go through to get to where they want to be.

On top of all that?

Eccentricity... It's EVERYWHERE in this business except the crew... LOL. Jesus. Sometimes you just think everyone's CRAZY... And a lot of them ARE.

I could tell you STORIES.

Today? Unless you can figure out how to make a movie on your own dime or someone along the way finds your script and decides it's their next passion project? You pretty much need to be able to think HIGH CONCEPT to break into the business. Of course, once you're on the inside? Then you'll have a little more leeway to do what you want.

I just always wanted to write and make my own stuff. I never even cared that much if it was successful as long as it could provide a living to everyone involved. In fact? I cannot tell you how many fairly big money producers I've talked to about this very same IDEA... i.e., write high concept stories, hire nothing but really good character actors who's ability to act far outweighs their RATE. Make these movies for a few million dollars and let them go on to make $20 to $50 million dollars at the box office.

While everyone always LOVES the IDEA? They laugh because the money just isn't there... Sure, sometimes you can get lucky but as I've been told (not that I agree), that model is not sustainable. Why? Because they tell me distributors just won't want to risk putting the movie out there without some kind of entity involved in the production that can put butts in theater seats. I know people that can walk into Bank of America TOMORROW and get $5 Mil to make a movie in a matter of hours... Yes, they have a division that finances movies. Unfortunately? The problem is distribution. Distribution today is much more difficult to obtain than in years previous to the financial meltdown.

You gotta have a hook... i.e., a name actor and or director... Sometimes (but rarely) a name producer or screenwriter. If your spec is high concept (which does not necessarily mean HIGH BUDGET), then the STORY is STAR but distributors also find this too risky.

But hey... Let's say you get through all the wickets and now finally sell your spec... Now what? Chances are if it sold for a mid to high six figures, they'll bring in one or more screenwriters to rewrite you. If one or more of these screenwriters rewrite you ENOUGH? You can lose your "screenplay by" credit and in Hollywood? You're only as good as your last credit (most of the time).

In other words? It's a LONG, HARD ROAD which is probably WHY directorik asked you WHY you want to write screenplays.

If you have so many dope stories in your head? You might want to consider writing them as books and self-publishing them on Amazon kindle. Why? Because you will get your stories OUT there instead of banging your head against the wall for say... 3 to 10 years (for some it's much longer) trying to sell a spec.

Today? What I see as the main problem for people wanting to break into this industry are their concepts. Most I see are derivative of stuff we've already seen. Occasionally, if your execution is OUTSTANDING? It can get you into the door but once you're in the door? Guess what they're gonna ask?

"What else ya got?"

Why?

Because they know they can't produce what you've written although the execution of it was outstanding... Assuming all your execution is outstanding? You will be asked about your other screenplays. If those too are concepts that we've seen before? They will bid you farewell most of the time... That's WHY a lot of script competition finalists and winners rarely get their screenplay(s) produced.

Most of the screenplays I read from people wanting to break in are simply NOT high concept enough... In fact? I used to have arguments about all this many MANY years ago when I was on this forum with a different account. People simply didn't want to believe it.

Well guess what?

It's more true NOW than it was back then.

Which doesn't mean you shouldn't write screenplays on spec... Just KNOW UP FRONT what you're TRULY IN FOR instead of having to learn a lot of it along the way. There are more than enough UPS and DOWNS in this business to keep you ON YOUR TOES... LOL. Why go into it with a concept that nobody is going to be interested in.

Just my two cents... My TRUTHFUL two cents.
 
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Do you have any websites or apps that I can find produced screenplay at?
Apps? Do you mean screenwriting software?

If so... Let me Google that for YOU.

As for screenplays... Again, let me Google THAT for you.

*NOTE: If you're working with Windows? I like Trelby. It'll definitely get you going. And although, I'm not a Mac user? I've been told DramaQueen FREE is nice for Macs. I highly recommend something FREE for now just to see if you really end up liking screenwriting. If you DO? Then go ahead and splurge for Final Draft, Movie Magic Screenwriter, or my favorite... Script Studio.
 
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mlesemann

Staff Member
Moderator
f I had it to do ALL OVER AGAIN? I would have STUCK by my first idea of simply LEARNING HOW TO WRITE a great script and then write it -- make it on my own dime.
That's what I did and have no regrets - two ultra-low budget features. I'm proud of them, and they'll be around long after I'm gone (Ok, assuming digital and streaming survive somehow....).

Now I'm writing screenplays for other people. Upside: I get paid for it and I like doing it. Downside: I depend on THEM to get them made, which is a crap shoot at best, so I assume MAYBE one will get made.
 
Unfortunately OR fortunately for me, I wrote a spec and a friend in the business loved it... I wrote it to MAKE it myself. This friend asked me if he could show it to a few people and the rest is history... I became a professional screenwriter. I honestly figured I could parlay that into a directing gig at some point but nope... I ended up mostly working on other people's stuff. It paid and still does pay very well but it was NOT my original plan.

Now that I've navigated the professional waters so to speak for damn... Over 15 years or so? I'm no longer impressed with the industry... AT ALL. Not as a screenwriter, anyway.

For those of you truly considering getting into this kind of work? Just understand that it takes years of work just to get to a somewhat professional level of writing unless of course, you're blessed with a lot of natural talent. But even then? You'll have to get people to read your stuff. Most are going to pass no matter how well executed it is. That's just the way of this world. You can't take it personal. It is what it is.

One can only hope that eventually... Indie films will come back around to a trending status for those of us who like to write Indie stories. I always wanted to write Indie stuff.

Unfortunately, today? It's either writing for a studio or a producer who has a deal with a studio. That usually equates to HIGH CONCEPT. Nothing wrong with high concept... In fact, I would rather write a high concept spec over anything else these days. Having said that? High concepts are difficult. You can't pull them out of your ass... LOL. It can take as long to come up with a good high concept that has a chance of selling as it does to write the damn thing.

Yes... There are the occasional exceptions to the rule... I have several friends who write direct to video stuff which is in a completely different world where the script ain't the most important part of the production. Who you get to star in the thing is. LOL. I also have a couple of acquaintances who write screenplays for Lifetime productions. Another different animal.

Occasionally... The idea for an Indie film does come down the pike but thus far? Something happened along the way to keep the production from happening. Usually distribution.

Then of course, peppered in there all over the place are producers that thought you were the second coming who couldn't get a project off the ground. Being pigeonholed for fixing certain kinds of writing... I'm often called, "The Dark Guy" because when they want really dark? I can give it to them. After that, "I'm called "The Military Guy" because I can fix military stuff. I've even been called "The Spy Guy" because I've fixed a few scenes on movies you may have heard of.

All cool... All paid work. But NOT MY MOVIE... LOL. And something I never once planned on doing.

The good news? If you can call it that? Is once you do get into the business? Keep writing specs. A lot of writers I know stopped writing specs and just take on work for hire gigs. They get very dependent on those gigs but once you're in the system? It's easy to get your specs read but again... High concept rules the roost for the most part.

I only mention all this for anyone thinking of getting into the business. If that sounds like something you'd like to do? Go for it. If not? Maybe try writing books or writing screenplays that you're going to make yourself.

*NOTE: My apologies to the OP for venting a bit. LOL. Wild Turkey does that to me.
 
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