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Sample Coverage Shown Below
"[Remember], A synopsis is not a pitch, or a cliffhanger-style teaser, but rather a hard block of text which just tells the reader what happens in the script."
More coming soon, but here's an incredible article about screenplay coverage:
When we write in screenplay format, we need to keep in mind the key formatting elements;
Adding a title page is something you should do once you're going to share your screenplay. We can do this in Celtx with ease. Here are some images (in order) that show you how to add and edit a title page in Celtx.
When you start out writing screenplays, you should devote time to reading scripts of films that have already been produced. Read through the scripts and watch the films, looking specifically to see how producers and studio executives have translated the written material. For example, read the screenplay for Finding Forrester (2000) and then watch the movie to compare your initial vision to that of producers.
Finding Forrester (2000)
"Movies produce an emotional response in audiences. We can be amused, frightened, excited; we can experience sorrow, pity, tension, patriotism, revulsion."
-- Alberta Education, Using Film in the Classroom
Breaking Down a Film:
Consider the discussion questions for Finding Forrester (2000) below.
These questions are broad and may be applied to any film you're analyzing.
React & Replay: Think and analyze the emotions you feel while watching a film. Break down several scenes to figure out what you're thinking. Then search for the moments that you believe you're reacting the most strongly to in the film. Try to figure out why!
"The way you write a screenplay is that you close your eyes and run the movie in your head and then you write it down." -- Salman Rushdie
Writing a screenplay is a unique and eye-opening experience. However, once you're done writing, it is essential that you to take the world you've created and bring it to life.
The Making of Jaws
Adapting a Book for the Screen
*Article printed as it appears on http://filmmakeriq.com/lessons/film-screening-jaws/ (as of September 28, 2015).
For the adaptation, Spielberg wanted to stick with the novel’s basic concept, while removing Benchley’s many subplots. He declared that his favorite part of the book was the shark hunt on the last 120 pages, and told Zanuck when he accepted the job, “I’d like to do the picture if I could change the first two acts and base the first two acts on original screenplay material, and then be very true to the book for the last third.” [...].
Spielberg wanted “some levity” in Jaws, jokes that would avoid making it “a dark sea hunt,” so he turned to his friend Carl Gottlieb, a comedy writer-actor then working on the sitcom The Odd Couple. Spielberg sent Gottlieb a script, asking what the writer would change and if there was a role he would be interested in performing. Gottlieb sent Spielberg three pages of notes, and picked the part of Meadows, the politically connected editor of the local paper. He passed the audition one week before Spielberg took him to meet the producers regarding a writing job.
While the deal was initially for a “one-week dialogue polish”, Gottlieb eventually became the primary screenwriter, rewriting the entire script during a nine-week period of principal photography. The script for each scene was typically finished the night before it was shot, after Gottlieb had dinner with Spielberg and members of the cast and crew to decide what would go into the film. Many pieces of dialogue originated from the actors’ improvisations during these meals; a few were created on set, most notably Roy Scheider’s ad-lib of the line “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.” John Milius contributed dialogue polishes, and Sugarland Express writers Matthew Robbins and Hal Barwood also made uncredited contributions. Spielberg has claimed that he prepared his own draft, although it is unclear to what degree the other screenwriters drew on his material. One specific alteration he called for in the story was to change the cause of the shark’s death from extensive wounds to a scuba tank explosion, as he felt audiences would respond better to a “big rousing ending.” The director estimated the final script had a total of 27 scenes that were not in the book.
Benchley had written Jaws after reading about sport fisherman Frank Mundus’s capture of an enormous shark in 1964. According to Gottlieb, Quint was loosely based on Mundus, whose book Sportfishing for Sharks he read for research. Sackler came up with the backstory of Quint as a survivor of the World War II USS Indianapolis disaster. The question of who deserves the most credit for writing Quint’s celebrated monologue about the Indianapolis has caused substantial controversy. Spielberg described it as a collaboration between Sackler, Milius, and actor Robert Shaw, who was also a playwright. [...].
Star Wars, IV (1977)
Tetooine Desert Scenes from Star Wars, IV (1977)
The Evolution of a Story and a Screenplay
*Article printed as it appears on http://starwarz.com/_ (as of September 28, 2015).
"A rough screenplay was completed [...] in May 1974, and still carried the title The Star Wars. It was the first of four major drafts and several revised versions. Lucas’ main inspiration was THX 1138, the film he had done in 1971. He wanted to use its idea of technology in opposition to mankind and add the elements of a fairy tale. His intention was to recapture the amazement he had felt when he saw the first American space flights on TV, but at the same time he wanted to return to more traditional, positive values of the kind he had experienced while growing up in the 1950s.
“I wanted to make a kids’ film that would strengthen contemporary mythology and introduce a kind of basic morality.” -- George Lucas
Each week [Lucas] bought a large selection of comic books and science-fiction magazines, and even though he felt it was important to make a timeless adventure rather than a science-fiction film, he looked through everything from Buck Rogers to 2001: A Space Odyssey. He wanted his settings to be different from those of any previous films, but still be realistic enough that the audience could identify themselves with the story. He wrote eight hours a day, five days a week [...]. He carried around a small notebook at all times, where he could write down different ideas which came to mind. He played around with the amount of description and dialogue he should use in an attempt to get the right rhythm in his writing. When the screenplay draft was finished, however, Lucas still thought it was a mess.
The Adventures of the Starkiller (Episode One): “The Star Wars” was the title of Lucas’ second draft which was delivered on January 28, 1975. This was a more character-driven story with more character development, which was important since Lucas wanted the film to make an emotional impact. Lucas had realized that his first screenplay would not fit into one movie, so he put a large part of the rough draft aside when writing the second. Since he now had material for three films, he decided that he would use the deleted parts if he ever got the opportunity to do any sequels. In his striving to create his own perfectly coherent universe, Lucas began writing an outline about the characters, where they came from, and what would happen to them after the film itself ended. This backup story would later result in his vision of a nine part saga spanning more than fifty-five years. He let his friends (among them director Francis Ford Coppola) read the scripts and tape-recorded their comments in order to get some advice. However, the suggestions from his wife Marcia (a film editor who later won an Oscar for Star Wars) were the ones he took most seriously, even though her criticism sometimes made him angry.
The third major screenplay which was finished on August 1, 1975 was called The Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Starkiller, and by this time, most of the plot was established. Lucas felt quite comfortable with his characters, but he still thought that the dialogue needed improvement, and was very concerned that his story might never make it to the silver screen.
Lucas’ revised fourth draft was the one which was used when filming began in Tunisia on March 25, 1976. A slightly edited version of this draft, entitled Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope – From the Journal of the Whills, was published in 1979 as the official screenplay of the film (the final editing of that public version – erroneously dated to January 15, 1976 – was done after Star Wars went into production, probably after the film’s May 1977 release). Lucas had consulted his co-writers from American Graffiti (Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz) to sharpen the dialogue, which he felt lacked humour and bounce, and although he rejected most of what they came up with, their new ideas gave Lucas renewed confidence in his work. Another inspiration for the later Star Wars drafts was Ralph McQuarrie, an illustrator who was hired to do production sketches and paintings for the film. He helped Lucas to envision his characters by drawing them for him and pointing out what would make them look better on film.
Lucas had written the kind of story he had set out to write, and from now on his problem would be adapting it to the screen – and surviving the directing."
Dear Santa (2013)