Billy Wilder, the cinema legend who wrote and directed such classics as Sunset Boulevard, Some Like it Hot, Double Indemnity, among others, delivered what might be the best piece of screenwriting advice ever uttered: "Grab 'em by the throat and never let 'em go."
It's worth considering that visceral chestnut when you sit down to write your screenplay for Four Stories. Roman and his panel of judges want screenplays that will capture their imaginations, stories that are impossible to put down. With that in mind, another of Wilder's maxims is also worth mentioning: "Develop a clean line of action for your leading character."
But we're getting ahead of ourselves. Before we start laying down resources, tips, and methods of screenwriting, let's review the basics of Four Stories.
- First off, your screenplay can be a maximum of ten-minutes long. Download a screenwriting program—if you don't already have one—and format your screenplay correctly. One page corresponds to about one minute of onscreen action. So keep it to ten pages.
- Remember that your film must be set in a stylish W Hotels destination and feature the Intel-inspired Ultrabook™ as a central character. We know it's unusual for a computer to star in a movie. But the Ultrabook isn't an ordinary computer. It's slim; it's sleek; it's a star. And more than that, its performance and portability makes a great companion, a device that can inform, create, and help your characters collaborate.
- Short films are different than feature-length narratives. Be imaginative, but keep it simple. Let's break this down to some rules to keep in mind.
Rules of Three
- Dramatic structure consists of three elements: A world, a character, and a problem.
You already know the world that your script will exist in, a W Hotels destination, and you already know one of your characters, the Intel-inspired Ultrabook. But you need to create another compelling character to guide your story. And you need to find out what problem or conflict your character faces and overcomes.
- Every scene has three acts: A beginning, a middle, and an end.
Don't discount the importance of structure even within a scene. Sure it's a short film, but if each scene doesn't have an internal structure, the script will not hold together.
Cut the Fat
-Every scene must move the story forward or illuminate character. So don't waste precious space on unnecessary detail, side stories or random musings.
Embrace the Happy Ending
- There's no use bumming us out.
Writing Is Rewriting
- A first draft is easy to spot. Write, then re-write… then re-write again. The editing process is as important as the inspiration it takes to write a good story. Show your screenplay to your friends, listen to their feedback, and amend.
It's the Story That Counts
- John Sayles, the writer and director behind the films Lone Star, Eight Men Out, and Matewan, cut to the quick about the process of screenwriting: "When I was really young I didn't know that there was such a thing as a screenwriter. I wrote stories."
here some other great Blogs and resources for screenwriters: