Tuesday, March 6, 2018

How to write a script based on a book



 Writing a film based on a novel sounds hard, unless you wrote the book as a movie. Not that I am an expert...
When I wrote the novel Marquel, I saw it as a movie.
The chapters are plotted in the progression of a suspense film, short and enough info to keep you guessing.
I was taught plotting by my mentor, the late master of the pulps, Harry Whittington. Harry approved the outline and sample chapters of Marquel before he passed away.
My chapters are film scenes with just enough background, emotion and dialogue to keep the reader engaged. Well, I hope so.
I work with my completed novel in Microsoft Word open, along with Final Draft Screenwriting software open.
I’m pretty much toggle between them.
Knowing that a book and film need to grab you from the opening doesn’t mean they’ll have the same initial start. A film might introduce a scene later in the book. Regardless, both book and film should interest the audience immediately.
I cut and paste sections I want to work on from Word into Final Draft. Naturally, it will be a bit jumbled moving from one program to the other.
Films have a specific format and the software is easy to use once you’ve read enough scripts and learned the structure.
However, I still mess up.
I put in camera shots and direction that shouldn’t be there. I get complaints in script coverage about formatting. So, I’m still learning.
Each page is a minute of screen time, so I edit down everything that isn’t dialogue. I pretty much wipe out all the descriptive stuff and get to the bare bones of the discussions my characters are having.
From there I add in the scene headings, action and such.
It takes time to learn how to set up the introduction to a scene, but reading award winning film scripts helps you get the hang of it.
I’m not going to explain what gets capitalized and such, I’m just talking translating book text to a script.
Good storytelling is key in book and film, however in film there is a three-act structure that Hollywood expects. Masterclasses and workshops will help you become more familiar. 

-Next, Taking Masterclasses

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