To Write a Screenplay: Here is how to write a Screenplay that can sell fast



A screenplay is just a build-up of a written story, arranged in a format in which its elements have a unique rule of organization.


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Elements of a Screenplay
NB: Just below every element that will be listed here, you will find an illustration on how and where to apply it in a screenplay.

The screenplay;
Title; Secrets in two homes,
Written by: Winston Oge "Winny Greazy"; is just a concise screenplay. It contains all the main elements of a screenplay.
Its excerpts are used for these illustrations.

Here are the elements:



  • SCENE HEADING

Formating: Aligned flush left from the edge of the paper. It’s also known as Slug line)

EXT. LAZON STREET – NIGHT
INT. MATILDA’S HOUSE – LIVING ROOM – NIGHT
EXT. IN CAR - DAY





  • ACTION 

Formating: Aligned flush left from the edge of the paper
        
Suddenly, we see an SUV appear from one end of the street and drives slowly until it stops in front of a building with the description, NO 7 on its front gate.
After about five seconds, we hear the voice of a mature woman crying out from inside of the SUV. The sound of her cry fades slowly until we can no longer hear it.
The SUV’s back door opens forcefully. Two able bodied men; DIGA and BRUCE, who have handkerchiefs partly covering their faces, jump down and pull MATILDA out.





  • CHARACTER NAME 

Formating: Indented 3.5'' from left margin

Mrs. Garcia quickly describes her destination to the driver.

MRS GARCIA
Ferry district, Lazon Street, house number 7.
Please drive as fast as possible




  • DIALOGUE 

Formating: Indented 2.0'' from the left margin

We see the inspector of police, INSPECPTOR HECTOR, relaxing in his seat.
Matilda and Frank are sitting before him.

HECTOR
Matilda you have nothing to worry about.
Your father has discussed your fiancé with me.
We are on top of the situation

MATILDA
Inspector I'm not taking this any longer.
The abductors have refused to call back for negotiations and you are still telling me you've discussed it with my father

HECTOR
Yes, I have




  • EXTENSIONS [off-screen (O.S.), voice over (V.O)]
Formating: Off-screen (O.S.) placed directly to the right of the character name. 
An Off-Screen voice can be heard from a character out of the camera range, or from another room altogether)

Suddenly, the front exit door opens, and Matilda gasps, drops the phone recklessly and starts running to the inner room.

FRANK (O.S.)
It's me, Matilda!
It's me Frank!

[Voice over (V.O.) 
Formating: Placed directly to the right of the character name. A Voice Over is used in a narration or when the character thinks aloud during reflection]

Matilda is lying in the bed, fully awake but she looks unconscious.

MATILDA (V.O.)
Lugard you have to forgive me.
Just this night and it will never happen again, I promise.





  • TRANSITION [(cut to), (back to)

Formating: They often follow action and always precede Scene heading. They are used to indicate transitions to scenes that are related]

Mrs. Garcia wakes up suddenly and sits up.
She looks around the room in fear.
She rubs her eyes with her hand; and then stands up off the bed, moves to the desk, picks up the desk phone and dials a number.

CUT TO:

INT. MATILDA’S HOUSE – BEDROOM – NIGHT (SAME NIGHT)

The desk phone beside the bed rings.
Matilda opens her eyes.
The phone rings again and she hops out of the bed quickly, looking very curious to answer.
She picks it up and answers.

MATILDA
Hello.
Mama!

BACK TO:

INT. GARCIA’S HOUSE – BEDROOM – NIGHT (SAME NIGHT)

Mrs. Garcia is holding unto the phone firmly, looking very anxious.

MRS GARCIA
Matilda

  


  • SHOT [(angle on)

Formating: Aligned flush left from the edge of the paper. It tells the reader the focal point within a scene has changed]

ABLE D
No!!
Not anymore!
If you try any silly thing, I will shoot him!

ANGLE ON – ABLE D’s PISTOL
his finger poised on the trigger.
Everybody is now panicky.

MR TYLER
No, no, you must not!

MRS TYLER
Please don't!





  • DUAL DIALOGUE 

Formating: Just like in normal dialogue. 
It is used when two of your characters speak simultaneously

Suddenly, the front exit door opens and Mrs. Garcia hurries in.
Everybody’s attention turns to her.

MRS TYLER
Mrs. Garcia!

MATILDA        FRANK
Mama!           What happened to you!

Matilda stands and quickly moves to her.

MATILDA
Mama, are you alright?





  • ADLIBS 

Formating: Just like in normal dialogue. Used for a crowd

The women including some of the marketers now start shouting at Matilda and Frank in annoyance.

CROWD
Learner! Beginner! Do you want to kill people this afternoon?! Devil! Blood sucker!

Matilda quickly starts the car and drives forward suddenly, hooting constantly.
The women and some others on Matilda's way quickly give the way.
Matilda drives off with speed.

CROWD
Demons! Go and crash yourselves! Go and die!

 




  • MONTAGES 

Formating: Formatted as a single shot. 
It’s a series of scenes related and building to one conclusion

Mrs. Garcia lays LITTLE LUGARD on the bed and begins to change his diapers.

MONTAGE

a) Little Lugard rolls over in his playpen. Mrs. Garcia smiles happily.

b) Little Lugard crawls around the room. Mrs. Garcia watches him amazingly.

c) Holding unto the coffee table, Little Lugard stands up and start toddling. Mrs. Garcia shouts up in joy.

d) Mrs. Garcia hugs TEENAGE LUGARD passionately.
He lifts his travel bag and waves at his mother.
She stands in the balcony and happily watches him leave through the gate.

END OF MONTAGE






  • POETRY/LYRICS/RHYMES 

Formating: Just like normal dialogue. Song lyrics are written in all caps. Others are often in short lines)

The door opens and Frank steps in.
He is putting on just his inner wears, boxers and singlet.
He looks at Matilda and smiles.
He then starts singing.

FRANK
DO YOU KNOW WHAT HAPPENS WHEN TWO GOOD FRIENDS ARE ALL ALONE?
DO YOU KNOW WHAT HAPPENS WHEN TWO LOVERS ARE IN ONE ROOM?

IF YOU DON'T KNOW, JUST WAIT LET ME TELL YOU;
THEY HOLD EACH OTHER, THEY KISS EACH OTHER, THEY SHARE THEIR DREAMS, THEY DANCE AND THEN THEY MAKE GOOD LOVE.

GOOD LOVE! GOOD LOVE! GOOD LOVE!

Matilda smiles broadly.

MATILDA
Wow!
Good song

FRANK
Yes, baby
 





  • INTERCUTS 

Formating: Just like in scene heading. Used instead of repeating scene headings, or cutting back and forth between two scenes. Often used during a phone call session)

INT. MATILDA’S HOUSE – BEDROOM – NIGHT

The phone rings again and Matilda hops out of the bed quickly, looking very curious to answer.
She picks it up and answers.

MATILDA
Hello.
Mama!

INT. GARCIA’S HOUSE – BEDROOM – NIGHT

Mrs. Garcia is holding unto the phone firmly, looking very anxious.

MRS GARCIA
Matilda

INTERCUT BETWEEN MRS GARCIA AND MATILDA

MATILDA
Yes Mama

MRS GARCIA
I want to speak with Lugard.
Is he sleeping?

Matilda looks puzzled.

MRS GARCIA
I had a bad dream a moment ago




  • FLASHBACKS

Formating: Aligned flush left from the edge of the paper)

INT. GARCIA’S HOUSE – BEDROOM - NIGHT

Mrs. Garcia's bedroom is dark.
She is sitting on a chair close to the wall.
She is in a thoughtful mood, but she is not weeping.
She still has traces of the wounds she had from the accident.

BEGIN FLASHBACK

EXT. HOUSE – BALCONY - DAY

Mrs. Garcia hugs TEENAGE LUGARD passionately.
He lifts his travel bag and waves at his mother.
She stands in the balcony and happily watches him leave through the gate.

END FLASHBACK

INT. GARCIA’S HOUSE – BEDROOM – NIGHT (SAME NIGHT)

Mrs. Garcia sighs, stands up wearily and exits.




  • DREAM SEQUENCE

Formating: Aligned flush left from the edge of the paper

BEGIN DREAM SEQUENCE:

EXT. ROAD - NIGHT

Indistinctively, we see a man running exhaustively from one dark end of the lonely road.
Finally, we see him clearly. He is LUGARD.
But suddenly, we see four able bodied men running very closely and fiercely after him.
They have among them; rods, knives and long sticks.

Lugard, 31, is struggling to maintain enough gaps between him and them as he looks back continuously.
He has bruises on his face.
He looks tattered.

The able bodied men continue the massive chase on him until the gaps between them and him is no more.
Lugard turns back swiftly. Seeming to lose hope, he groans and then slows down and steers to the corner of the road where he now jumps into the gutter.
The men follow quickly and pounce on him.
They hit him with the rods and sticks.
Lugard cries out so painfully.

END DREAM SEQUENCE:

INT. GARCIA’S HOUSE – BEDROOM – NIGHT (SAME NIGHT)

We see MRS GARCIA lying in her bed with her eyes closed.
She then speaks out in pains.

MRS GARCIA
Don't kill my son!
Don't kill my son!
Lugard!!

She wakes up suddenly and sits up.
She looks around the room in fear.




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