CP14 | Script Writing #1

Now that my second and final draft of the step outline was complete I started working on writing the actual script. I used an online site called Celtex which automatically formatted the script to the correct standard, this included laying out the characters, dialogue, action, and scene headers. Although Celtex was really useful in formatting the script I struggled when it came to the actual writing. I had difficulty in introducing my characters so I looked online for guides on how to do this. I found a website called Mentorless (2011) which gave a list of examples from other screenplays on how they introduced characters. A good example was from the film People Like Us (2012) (below);


“Into frame comes… SAM HARPER. Late 20’s, good looks, restless intelligence. Last year’s Brioni suite off the rack, but still a Bironi. He walks through the yard with BEN, a less well-dressed VP OF SALES. Ben’s distracted, this isn’t a meeting he has time for –”

By looking at this introduction it is clear that only a brief description of the character is needed, which states their age, what they look like and what they are doing. I also checked out how the character Lester Burnham was introduced in American Beauty (1999);


“LESTER BURNHAM lies sleeping amidst expensive bed linens, face down, wearing PAJAMAS. An irritating ALARM CLOCK RINGS. Lester gropes blindly to shut it off.”

In this example even less detail is given to introduce the character, so for my own script to introduce the characters I listed their age, what they were wearing and what they were doing. I tried to achieve this in as little words as possible by using Elliot Grove’s advice of burying details in the scene by character movements; for Sebastian I buried the detail of his stubbly beard through his movement towards the microphone, and Gareth his laid back attitude by him having his feet up on the desk. Following on from this I had difficulty in introducing minor characters like the Vietcong soldiers who enter the bunker; as they weren’t as important as the Americans I wasn’t sure if they needed a whole introduction or not. I looked online on the website Writers Store and found a page titles Minor Characters Don’t need Major Introductions; this site expressed how minor characters only need to be listed e.g. HOMELESS MAN. This was further supported by the Inglorious Basterds (2009) screenplay which describes the enemy characters as TWO OTHER NAZI SOLDIERS, therefore for my own script I shall just list the Vietcong soldiers as VIETCONG SOLDIERS.

Whilst writing I also stumbled across an issue when it came to using sounds; my sequence uses a lot of sound effects such as the gun shots and the fire alarm so I was unsure how to describe these. After checking online I found site which explained how to incorporate sound effects – it claimed that when incorporating a sounds they should be capitalized e.g. PEDESTRIANS SCREAM, this is also the case for objects that you want readers to ‘see’ e.g. The car crashes into the LAMPPOST. The use of capitalizing in this form will be useful when it comes to objects that need explicitly referencing in my script such as Ho Dinh’s cigarette, the fire alarm, and Sebastian’s family photo.

American Beauty. 1999. [Film]. dir. Sam Mendes. USA: Dreamworks

Dailyscript. no date. American Beauty Screenplay.  [Online]. [Accessed: 10 April 2017]. Available from:  http://www.dailyscript.com/scripts/AmericanBeauty_final.html

Going Into The Story. 2010. Question: What about capitalizing sounds in spect scripts?. [Online]. [Accessed 10 April 2017]. Available from: https://gointothestory.blcklst.com/question-what-about-capitalizing-sounds-in-spect-scripts-c4e589c5fbeb?gi=a48e1d74e940

Inglorious Basterds. 2009. [Film]. Quentin Tarantino. dir. USA: Universal Pictures

Mentorless. 2011. How to Introduce a Character in a Script. [Online]. [Accessed 10 April 2017]. Available from: http://www.mentorless.com/2012/10/31/how-to-introduce-a-character-in-a-script/

People Like Us. 2012. [Film]. Alex Kurtzman. dir. USA:Dreamworks


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