How To Write A Screenplay!

A friend of mine asked via email how one goes about writing a screenplay. I answered his question with this silly little list:

  1. Start with an idea. Often this sounds like: “What if this happened?” Where “this” is the crazy idea.
  2. Give the idea a hero.
  3. Give the hero a goal.
  4. Set up obstacles to that goal.
  5. Write an outline (which is basically just a list of “things that happen”).
  6. Flesh out the outline with more details in for each of the “things that happen.”
  7. Run the outline by someone who understands story. Revise accordingly.
  8. Repeat Step #7 until the outline is really good.
  9. Imagine the “things than happen” in your head and then write down what you “see” and “hear” in proper script format.
  10. Run the script by someone who understands story. Revise accordingly.
  11. Repeat Step #10 until the script is really good.

Then what? Well, then the real work begins.

Is this how you go about writing? What would your list look like?

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