Updated date:

What is Scriptwriting & Narratives?

Author:

Student in Mass Communication with a keen interest in Production process.

Introduction

what-is-scriptwriting-narratives

As seen in the last article, what do filmmakers do in pre-production, the script writer holds one of the most important position in a production crew.

Its so important, it is known as the left hand of the Director. They create the movement of the film and how it should go, from dialogue, to the camera angles.

So today, as part of the Film Production series, we will talk about script writing and Narratives and understand more about what goes into script writing.

Here's an example of a script & video from Baby Driver (2017)

What is Script Writing?

what-is-scriptwriting-narratives

Script writing is a script written into text for a play, film or broadcast. Script writing is an important aspect to production as without a script, filmmakers will not be able to execute the production.

Most scriptwriters sell their script to productions which will later be called, production script.

An Example Of A Pulp Fiction Script From 1994

Script from Pulp Fiction in 1994

Script from Pulp Fiction in 1994

How to Write a Script?

You need to understand the script/flow

The script outlines all the elements and where to place them throughout the movie/series, for instance, the audio is placed after the car blows up, the visual art is put up during a spaceship ride and the behavior of the character is placed whenever there is a conflict happening.

You need to inspire yourself

Inspire yourself when writing a script by looking at other scripts on the internet, or if you are already a good writer, watch some movies and see how its script goes.

There is no right or wrong in script writing but a good sample of what you want to do will be a great starter.

You need to prepare an outline

Once you already know what you feel like doing, prepare an outline of that story. Preparing an outline can help you with the structure of the story, focus especially on the conflict as it is the drama point.

A typical script format should be 1 minute worth of screen time per page. An average length of a 2-hour movie script is 120 pages.

You need to write the story based on the "3 acts" structure

From there, you can write your story based on the 3 acts, introduce the character in the first act, create the pre-climax and climax point in the second act and create the slowdown period during the 3rd act to put the icing on the cake.

You need to add sequences

Sequences can be a great addition alongside the main story, sequences are typically an independent part from the main story which connects to the main story in some way the script writer determines.

Sometimes, this sequences can build up to the climax of the main story.

Sample Script by NYFA

An example of a basic script with Video elements on the left and Audio elements on the right

An example of a basic script with Video elements on the left and Audio elements on the right

Plan the scenes

At this point, you can start planning your scenes, write it down in an organized manner so that you know which part is which. Besides that, this is where you need to put your locations, your audio points and visual points.

Writing dialogue

Now you've done all the hard planing work, you need to create the dialogue for the character, their tone and body language must match your view to the movie. This creates a character so that the viewers will be able to dissect how this character is.

Cut the dead weight parts

If you feel your film is quite draggy or there are some points that does not suit the film, do cut off these parts if deemed so. Its best to cut it early because draggy scenes will drive the audience down.

Show your finished work to a few people

If you've heard of the term "proofreading" it too applies in production sense. Its best to show your script to a few others so that they can give you insights on what to change.

Revise and review

Now finally, once you're done with all the steps above, there is one more step to do before you can showcase your masterpiece, which is to read the script out loud. This step can help you with understanding deeper what you've wrote for the film and if deemed so, you can make changes at this point.

what-is-scriptwriting-narratives

The Three Act structure starts with Act 1, which is the setup of the production. It is the introduction of the story.

In common films, most Act 1 starts with the background of the characters, like, what they do?, who are they? and how are they here?

The Second act consists of the major story line of the event, lets say, the film is set in a horror setting, this is when the ghost will pop up and start the scary part. In the scale it shows that it is in between this act and act 3 where it hits its peak point.

The third act is the execution of the film, basically the peak of the show where the characters get to the point and the ending of the film.

Some say that act 3 is where directors and script writers try to end the movie with a high note, by giving the viewers something to bring home after the movie.

A proper flow of a 3 act structure

A proper flow of a 3 act structure

What is a Narrative?

So what is a Narrative? Narrative is similar to narration, it tells a story of what is going on in the film/story.

Basically its normally done in a Chronological order of someone's life, for instance, Emily's story about her life in Paris.

Narratives are used in films to tell a story from the beginning to the end. Narratives are accounts of a chronological order of event occurring through out the film/story in the space and time, for instance, a timeline of a movie.

Narratives create that chronological order of the production, every single detail is important, which is why, attention to detail is important as a narrative, to tell the story, what are the causes and effects of the events leading to that story.

Structure of a Narrative

what-is-scriptwriting-narratives

There are 5 elements in a three act structure, these are:


- Setup: To establish the settings, timing, characters and the world of the film. For instance, The Avengers:Endgame was set in a timeline 5 years after 2018, with most of the original characters left from the first movie surviving the onslaught Thanos created.


- Rising action: This is commonly seen in the first act, it is when the character and the conflict is introduced. In most story lines, it is the tension between the protagonist and the antagonist. Many events will happen during these times to build the climax. For example, in Cobra Kai, the conflict starts when the protagonist and the antagonist met after a long time not seeing each other.

- Climax: The climax is known as the peak of the show, it is when the story slowly rises up and unfold itself. Regardless if it is good or bad, the story is about the protagonist's future. For instance, the climax of Cobra Kai shows rivalry between the protagonist and the antagonist heated to its peak.

- Falling action: Falling action is the action that has happened in the film, a fight scene from Cobra Kai for example which sorted out the rivalry between the protagonist and the antagonist which is supposed to give the resolution to the story.

- Resolution/New harmony: The story comes to an end and there is a new beginning, but sometimes, the story can create a plot twist. This is seen commonly in series that span to many seasons.

© 2020 Nigel Koay

Comments

Nigel Koay (author) from Malaysia on November 12, 2020:

Hey Lakshmi, thank you for your kind words, hope you've learnt something from this article.

Lakshmi from Chennai on November 09, 2020:

Hi, the article gives detailed insight into scriptwriting and narration!great work!.