FOUR FUNDAMENTAL FILM SCRIPT PRINCIPLES
In everything there are fundamental principles to be outlined and with film scripts it’s no different. These principles are true and applicable to the most novice to the most seasoned filmmaker. When followed, these Four Fundamental Film Script Principles, will better prepare you for filming your script and guide you throughout its filming process.
1) WRITE THE SCRIPT: It’s the first thing you must do. It’ll take time, lots of time. But it’ll be worth it, it’ll be your blueprint, your treasure map, the foundation to making your film. Without it, may we say, don’t even get started. Imagine building a house without a blueprint, without a foundation? Now do you see the tragedy that lies ahead?
In the course of history some films have been improvised and some have even had success. But improvising a film is not the most recommendable way to go about making a film. There certainly are instances for improvisation within the script, but not without one…our humble opinion.
2) REWRITE THE SCRIPT: You’ve wrote the script, awesome! But guess what? It needs to be rewritten, and maybe a few times. Hitting a home run on the first pitch with a script isn’t improbable, but it’s highly unlikely. Look, you become a better writer not only by writing, but also by rewriting. And not only do you become a better writer, your script gets better. You’ll only have to try it and see. Go back and read over that script that you never rewrote and you’ll be amazed at how much improvement you’ll find it in need of.
Rewriting is of extreme importance, but be careful not to lose the essence of your story and development of your characters with the rewrite(s). It’s probably the only pitfall in rewriting and to be avoided.
3) REHEARSE THE SCRIPT: You wrote the script and rewrote the script. Now you mustn’t forget, rehearse the script. Rehearse the script with your actors, do table readings. Don’t go into principal photography without doing so.
However, don’t over rehearse. You don’t want filming to commence and your actors are delivering their lines robotically and emotionless. But at the same time you don’t want them to be oblivious as to what expectations are of their delivery. Rehearsal also helps you see how well the actors mesh and it’ll save you valuable time during filming. That is, little to no rehearsal will be needed. You can then focus on other demands.
4) STICK TO THE SCRIPT: You have your script that you wrote, rewrote and rehearsed. Now, stick to it! This is not the time to figure out the million other ways the dialogue could have been written. That should have been figured out throughout writing the script, rewriting the script and rehearsing the script. Sticking to the script or run the risk of deviating from you route and then not knowing how to find your way.
As with every rule there are exceptions. But we highly recommend avoiding the exception to this rule by thoroughly making sure you execute the first three.
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