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Producer Resources

Screenplay Writing Explained In 7 Infographics

By Stephanie Palmer

 

Screenplay Writing 7 Infographics For screenwriters

 

Screenplay writing is a visual art form, so let’s approach the topic visually.

 

Here are 7 of the most succinct and compelling infographics about screenplay writing.

Screenplay Writing Lesson #1:

Look At The Big Picture

When you get serious about screenplay writing, you’ll realize that at some point, your script is likely to end up in the hands of a script reader.

 

This infographic is the work of an anonymous professional reader who read 300 screenplays from five studios and compiled the issues.

 

While this isn’t the same as rigorous scientific data, I find it interesting and is congruent with my experience reading countless scripts submitted to studios.

 

Where is your project original and where does it meet conventional expectations?

 

Screenplay-Writing-Recurring-Problems-Studio-Reader-Blackboard

Original source: Imgur

Screenplay Writing Lesson #2:

Choose Your Genre

One of the most crucial aspects of screenplay writing is genre.

 

This is especially important if you have not sold your first project yet.

 

Screenplays must fit into a particular genre because genre translates to audience and budget (and therefore, to a payday for you).

 

Luckily, there are many genres and subgenres to choose from.

 

Where does your script fit?

 

subgenreinfographic-650x3406

Original source: tydylf

Screenplay Writing Lesson #3:

Use Mythical Structure

When it comes to screenplay writing, structure is what separates the professionals from everyone else.

 

As you may know, the basis for screenplay structure is mythology.

 

Comparative mythologist Joseph Campbell researched and wrote a ground-breaking book called Hero Of A Thousand Faces. By comparing the myths from different cultures all around the world, Campbell discovered that all stories share a similar structure.

 

He calls his composite master story structure, the “monomyth.”

 

Does your story hit these beats?

 

Joseph-Campbells-Monomyth-Infographic-650x488

Original source: royalsocietyofaccountplanning.blogspot.com

Screenplay Writing Lesson #4:

Use Blake Snyder’s Structure

There are many versions of Campbell’s monomyth.

 

My favorite is Blake Snyder’s version. Snyder’s story structure diagram is easy to understand and emphasizes certain key aspects of screenplay writing.

 

For example, Snyder’s structure demonstrates the congruency between certain sequences of beats, e.g., it’s easy to see that Debate -> Break Into 2 is a pattern that’s repeated with Long Dark Night Of The Soul -> Break Into 3, and illustrates the importance of the Midpoint.

 

Does your story fit this structure – and if not, do you know why?

 

Save-The-Cat-Infographic-650x502

Original source: Save The Cat!

Screenplay Writing Lesson #5:

Use Pixar’s Process

The most successful movie-making entity right now is Pixar.

 

Just about every movie they make is a hit.

 

The inside scoop on Pixar’s development process was dished by Emma Coats, a director and former storyboard artist at Pixar who created a now-famous list of 22 Rules For Phenomenal Storytelling. Dino Ignacio, a UX Director created a series of image macros of the 22 rules using images from Pixar movies.

 

How many of these rules did you use when constructing your script?

 

Pixar-22-Rules-of-Storytelling-Infographic1

Original source: Imgur

Screenplay Writing Lesson #6:

Learn Scene Structure

Just as screenplay writing requires understanding screenplay structure, writing any scene requires understanding scene structure.

 

John August (Go, Big Fish, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory) has created a simple one-sheet for scene writing.

 

Do you follow this process when writing scenes?

 

John August How To Write A Scene infographic for Screenplay Writers

Original source: JohnAugust.com

Screenplay Writing Lesson #7:

Honor The Tropes Of The Genre

Yes, the idea behind this infographic is that screenplays are full of cliches, tropes, and events that have become so common that they are laughable.

 

However, the truth is that these cliches became cliches for good reasons.

 

See if your script contains any of these cliches, and then think about how you might tweak them so you’ve got “the same thing, only different.”

 

Screenwriting-Cliches

Original source: Cheezburger
 


About the Author

Stephanie Palmer, a former MGM Pictures executive and best-selling author of Good in a Room, has been featured by NBC, ABC, CBS, Los Angeles Times, NPR, Variety and many more. To connect with Stephanie: goodinaroom.com, facebook.com/GoodInARoom, @goodinaroom
 


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