Once you have a good idea for a story, you have to give it a structure. The simplest structure is to define the beginning and the end where the beginning poses a question and the end answers that question.
For example, in “10 Cloverfield Lane,” the beginning question is whether the hero will get out of the shelter or not. The end answers that question and shows us how she succeeds.
In “Room,” the beginning question is whether the hero will escape her imprisonment in a garden shed. The end answers that question and shows how she succeeds. In this case, she physically escapes from her dungeon at the halfway point, but she isn’t truly free of its effect on her until the end.
In “Deadpool,” the beginning question is whether Deadpool will find and kill the man responsible for torturing him. In the end, Deadpool finally finds and kills the man responsible.
In “Eddie the Eagle,” the beginning question is whether the hero can ever be an Olympic athlete or not. In the end, the hero shows he can be an Olympic athlete.
Even bad movies often follow this simple structure. In “The 5th Wave,” the hero wants to protect her younger brother. In the end, she rescues her younger brother from the aliens.
In “Die Hard,” the beginning question is whether the hero will get back with his wife or not. In the end, he gets back with his wife.
In “The Hateful Eight,” the beginning question is whether a bounty hunter will bring a female fugitive to justice or not. In the end, the female fugitive is finally brought to justice.
In “The Walk,” the beginning question is whether the hero will get to tightrope walk between the World Trade towers. In the end, he finally tightrope walks between the World Trade towers.
In “Little Miss Sunshine,” the beginning question is whether the hero will get to compete in the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant. In the end, she finally gets to compete.
Before you jump right into writing your screenplay using special script word processors like Final Draft or Movie Magic, make sure you’ve defined the basic structure of any story. Pose a question and then answer it in the end. It’s a simple structure that all stories absolutely must follow. The beginning question teases the audience and poses a problem. The rest of the story is about the hero solving that problem and the end finally shows us how the hero solved that initial problem.
All stories are about one main problem that defines the spine of the entire story. If this beginning question is not clear, then no amount of special effects can ever make up for this. The beginning question is the backbone of your entire story and everything must be related to that story either helping the hero solve this initial question or blocking the hero’s attempt to solve this initial question. By defining an initial question and answering it in the end, you can define the most important structure of your entire story.