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Mar 10

The ScriptEasy: Screenwriting Tip #1

I started this blog with the hope it could become a place to go for a brand spanking new screenwriter to learn easy tips and tricks as they developed their first screenplays. I envisioned these writers assembled in a SpeakEasy, relaxing with a favorite beverage, enjoying quiet and easy conversation about how to write a great story for the visual medium.

With this in mind, I offer up my first easy tip: If you are new to screenwriting and have every intention of taking the necessary time to create a blueprint for a full length motion picture (“talkies” as they would say during Prohibition), I encourage you to buy FinalDraft software. (A few sources: www.finaldraft.com or www.writersstore.com) Final Draft Software

Final Draft is the industry’s standard for writing scripts. Yes, you can get away with free versions of script writing software, and if you’re a hobbiest you should save your money and go that route. But for those of you who hope to enter your finished screenplay into contests or want to pitch it at writers’ conferences or do practically anything and everything to get your script sold, then you need tools for the craft. It’s like going to Kmart and picking up the value pack of paint brushes in the toy department and then hoping to paint a masterpiece.

You can use Final Draft to create movies, television pilots, and even stage plays. It automatically places your scene headers, descriptions and dialogue in the correct format so you don’t have to do any guesswork. After you write your first draft, it even creates scene cards for you to rearrange to your liking, creates character reports so you can find out quickly if one of your characters drops out of sight for too long and should speak up (or get combined into another role), and let’s you know if some scenes are too long vs. being too brief.

You can track your revisions and versions with ease. Best of all, since everyone else uses Final Draft, when you join a writers group or send your work for professional feedback, everyone talks the same language so you don’t waste time overcoming the “language barrier” prior to getting your actual story evaluated.

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