If you want to actually sell the screenplay version of your book, as opposed to writing it for you own entertainment, you can increase the chances of success if you use these insider screenwriting tips.
In case you’re not completely motivated to get it right, think of the possibilities. As of this writing, 28,881 movies have been based on books. Enough said? So here goes:
CREATE A COMPELLING LOGLINE – A logline is a one or two-sentence description of your screenplay. Most Hollywood execs are extremely busy people. If you want to sell them your screenplay, you need to quickly convey to them what your story is about. Hence the need for the logline. At it’s most basic level, the logline should indicate who the protagonist is, what they want and who or what stands in their way.
START THE STORY QUICKLY – You must interest the reader quickly. If you don’t have them interested within the first 10 pages, they will stop reading and move on to the next screenplay in the pile. Often, faster than this.
KEEP DESCRIPTIONS SHORT – Screenwriting is meant to be lean writing. Write short descriptions of the setting and action.
KEEP DIALOGUE SHORT – All of the dialogue must move the story forward in some way and it must be much shorter than is typical in many novels.
USE SHORT PARAGRAPHS AND SENTENCES – Hollywood readers like to see a lot of white space on the page. Long sections of text are difficult to read and sometimes intimidating. Make the task of reading your script look easy and inviting.
KEEP SCENES SHORT – Today’s movies tend to have short scenes, which increase the pace of the story.
REVEAL INFORMATION SLOWLY – Give your reader only enough information to understand the situation, who the characters are and what they are doing. One big mistake of new screenwriters is to reveal too much information too soon. When you reveal it in only small amounts, it helps to create a sense of mystery. It makes the reader want to keep turning the pages to learn more.
LEAVE DIRECTING TO THE DIRECTORS – One annoying tendency of many novice screenwriters is to want to call camera angles and suggest particular songs to play in the background. They also want to indicate how the actors should deliver their lines. Let the experts do their jobs. It is insulting for you to tell professionals how to do them. It also turns people off and marks you as an amateur.
About Danek S. Kaus
Danek S. Kaus is a produced screenwriter with two more films in development, one based on a book adaptation. Three of his screenplays have been optioned. To lean how he can help you turn your book into a movie visit his screenwriting site [http://yourbookintoamovie.com]
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