Let’s say you have an idea. A good one. Plus you’ve got all the finer worked out when it comes to characterisation, pacing and plot structure. All you need to do is make a start on the script – except you can’t.
Then it hits you. “What medium or format is my story best suited to?”
The choice you make at this critical juncture will inform all your scripting decisions going forward so it’s important to consider your options and answer carefully.
But why does formatting even figure into the screenwriting process right at the outset? You’ll have to read on to find out! Let’s get started.
Your Script is Introduction to the Industry
Every script, whether in the form of a short film, feature or TV series, has something to say. How that central message is communicated to its audience (and before that, any gatekeepers) matters.
First Impressions count for a lot in the film industry and there are different formatting specifications for screenplays and teleplays that you should become familiar with if you want to successfully navigate the pitfalls of screenwriting.
For now it’s enough to know that a script reader will be paying close attention to see if your script checks all of the preconceived boxes, and for any reason to set it down within the first 10 pages.
So avoid making any formatting or spelling mistakes — which many screenwriting programs will do for you nowadays. Do that and you are doing everything that’s expected of you to give your script the best chance at getting optioned.
The Function of Your Script Should Follow Form
If you’ve thought about the ending of your story you should know how many pages, acts or episodes it will take to get from Point A (the beginning) to Point C (the end) and hit all the right beats at the right time throughout.
You should also consider whether your ending will be open or closed, what the implications of each would be and how this would affect your overall decision.
Working backwards is a good way to figure how long you’ll need to tell your story, and therefore, which medium and script format you’ll require.
Different Script formats Are Developed Differently
You have a thousand and one different options when it comes to selling your script as a short, feature or TV series and each pitch you put forward should be tailored to the room.
Producers and the like expect as much and this is where we can help. Our script development service is designed to promote and sell your script on its strengths.
That aside, hopefully this article will have helped you to move on from the ideation phase and into the actual writing aspect of completing your script.
But if there are gaps in your knowledge about the filmmaking or screenwriting process feel free to have a look around our blog archive for further advice.
Now get out there and get writing!