How to Improve Your Screenwriting Skills

Learning anything new is more about time management than intelligence. The harder you work at something, the better you’ll get so one way to get better at screenwriting is to copy what others have done.

One way to improve your screenwriting skill is to watch a favorite movie and try to duplicate the scene in screenplay format. Then look at the actual screenplay to see how well you did compared to the real screenplay.

If you’re a beginner, you’ll likely miss all sorts of nuances that the professional screenplay contained. Then go back and write that entire scene, word for word, based on the original screenplay.

By trying to duplicate a scene, you can see what you know about screenwriting. By writing an entire scene, word for word, based on the actual screenplay, you can get a better sense for how professionals write.

The main idea is to make screenplay formatting so familiar that you can focus more on telling a story rather than getting bogged down on the specifics of formatting.

When you study produced screenplays, you can see what the professionals do to create a scene visually and make it compelling to the reader. Remember, your reader is the audience so you must grab and hold their attention right from the start.

Try this exercise with a scene from the beginning, middle, and end of a favorite movie. That way you can see how to introduce a character, how to create tension, and how to conclude a story.

Screenplay formatting is a necessary barrier to telling a story so you must get to the point where formatting is so easy and familiar to you that you no longer need to consciously focus on it but can instead devote your attention to telling your story.

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