A friend of mine asked me by email how one goes about writing a screenplay. I answered his question with this silly little list:
- Start with an idea. Often this sounds like: “What if this happened?” Where “this” is the crazy idea.
- Give the idea a hero.
- Give the hero a goal.
- Set up obstacles to that goal.
- Write an outline (which is basically just a list of “things that happen”).
- Flesh out the outline with more details in for each of the “things that happen.”
- Run the outline by someone who understands story. Revise accordingly.
- Repeat Step #7 until the outline is really good.
- Imagine the “things than happen” in your head and then write down what you “see” and “hear” in proper script format.
- Run the script by someone who understands story. Revise accordingly.
- 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?