A practical solution for scriptwriters

I’ve made a discovery and I want to share it along with my process of writing scripts. I always start with a high concept and then I find characters who inhabit that world. I say find because this is literally what occurs with all my characters. They appear and begin to take shape. I share this ability with the great Harold Pinter and there ends a great relationship. I then discover aspects of these characters in my story. Every bit of information about my characters helps me form profiles and find out where the characters meet and interact and where they conflict and separate. I then start to develop a picture of the problems my characters face and the conflict and mismatch between their goals and objectives. Then I return to the high concept.

I begin to form all the beats of the story and make them connect otherwise it is a dysfunctional story. I know I do not like watching these films as an audience member so I owe it to myself and others to ensure my story and structure meet and develop with consistent characters. My problem however, has always been my ability to see the macro alongside the micro using title cards. It is so unwieldy for me because I cannot see the entire story. I tried and failed regularly until a screenwriting tutor told me a little secret. Four columns on a few pages contains your entire story. This means you can see everything. Every time you need to change something you can see the impact on the characters and the entire story. You can plug plot holes, define character problems and traits etc. The best thing is you can introduce changes immediately and it does not matter what word processing software you use.

This little suggestion changed my screenwriting and storytelling life and this is why I wanted to share this with other writers.


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