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An Introduction to Screenwriting

University of East Anglia

An Introduction to Screenwriting

by University of East Anglia

An Introduction to Screenwriting

University of East Anglia

5 min
3 key insights
Visual, audio & text

While there are many different approaches to writing a screenplay, understanding how your story is structured, the mechanics of creating a scene, and how to develop three-dimensional characters is indispensable to both new and experienced screenwriters.

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An Introduction to Screenwriting

by University of East Anglia

An Introduction to Screenwriting

University of East Anglia

Overview

Screenwriting is about applying new and unique ideas within well-known story patterns. A screenplay is built on 'dramatic action', which refers to a character's movement with consequence. This action creates causality that propels the protagonist as they fall and then usually succeed and grow.

As opposed to a novel, a screenplay cannot reveal the character's inner life through prose. Therefore, it must use action and dialogue to create three-dimensional characters. A screenplay is a slim form of art. So much of screenwriting is about trimming down everything that doesn't reveal character or push the story forward. Writing a screenplay is like building a house. You start with the foundations, then you put up structural walls, and then lastly you add detailed specificity within.

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Favorite Quote

"I think there should always be an element of mystery. There should always be an omission - something left out. They should be fathomable, relatable, understandable on one level and then tantalizingly unfathomable on another."

Tom Benn, writer and tutor

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An Introduction to Screenwriting

University of East Anglia

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