Screenwriting Masterclass: 5 Things to Consider Before Writing Your Next Script

Screenwriting Masterclass: 5 Things to Consider Before Writing Your Next Script

A movie script, also referred to as a screenplay, is the heart and soul of every production. However simple it may seem, understanding the tricks and techniques that make screenwriting thick can be daunting. Asides from comprehending the script format and structure, there are key fundamentals that screenwriters must tick off their list in order to deliver a compelling and appealing script for movies.

Although the writer’s skill and creativity play major roles in screenwriting, experts say movie scripts are expected to be about 120 pages and range from 70-180 pages depending on other factors.

In this edition of screenwriting masterclass session, Nigerian director and producer, Uche Agbo talks of five key elements that are very crucial to consider before the screenwriting process comes into play.

Here are the highlights to the screenwriting masterclass: 5 things to consider before writing your next Script:

1. Characterisation

Ensure that characters on a story must never be random or without purpose . If you must introduce a character or exit one, ensure it is for a purpose and must move the story one forward. A character must give depth, have a background and have a future. There is no need to add a character that must make impact.

2. Dialogue 

Dialogue should be used only when necessary. Every writer must put into considerations that dialogues should support action not the other way round. Just like it is said, ‘a film should favour the deaf more than it favours the blind. Writers are expected to approach screenwriting for films with economy of words. It is expected to show rather than tell. So, lesser words and more action does the trick in screenwriting.

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Screenwriting Masterclass: 5 Things to Consider Before Writing Your Next Script
Uche Agbo on set of a movie

3. Subtext

Subtext is the underlying meaning that you put in a scripts intentionally for the viewer of the movie to factor out what i truly playing out. It is also known as ‘the lines between the lines’ or the unsaid meaning in a dialogue. The subtext is essential as it keeps the audience guessing, and it enhances the suspense as well as it builds story development. Subtexts creates more depths in screenwriting and story-telling generally.

4. Suspense

Suspense is critical to screenwriting. You can achieve that with subtext. Ensure you keep your audience on the edge. Use a split mechanism to achieve that. Direct them to one side and turn up on the other though not arbitrarily. The suspense technique is very essential for any genre of movie and is used to keep the viewer out of the scheme of things until it is revealed.

5. Pace

Pace is also very important. Although it is largely dependent on the directors but to help them, remove every scene that your script can deal without. If you are done with a script, look at those scenes that if you delete, it won’t affect your story, delete them. It adds pace.

Here is the full Video of Screenwriting Masterclass: 5 Things to Consider Before Writing Your Next Script:

About the Author, Uche Agbo

Uche Agbo is a filmmaker/media practitioner and entrepreneur. He is the Chief Executive Officer of OKIKE MEDIA, a content creation and Public Relation Agency in Lagos, with subsidiaries such as Abuja Film Academy, Enugu Film Academy, Nollywood Insider, and Okike TV, a Youtube all-round Entertainment channel.

Uche is also the Founder and Executive Director of the Coal City Film Festival (CCFF). He is currently the National Secretary of Directors’ Guild of Nigeria (DGN), the umbrella body housing all the Film and Television Directors in Nigeria.

Mr Agbo holds both a First Degree and Masters Degree in Theatre Arts and Theatre and Film Studies respectively, from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria. He is a writer, Film and Television Director, Producer and Media/Entertainment Consultant.

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