How to Write a Screenplay

Writing a screenplay is an exercise in creativity and formulation.  The screenplay process includes the idea, formula, writing, formatting, and character development to make it a screenplay that can be used to create a film or documentary.  There is a formula to screenplays.  

If you are writing a full feature film screenplay, each page is equivalent to one minute of film.  Most full-featured films are anywhere from 90 to 120 minutes, thus the screenplay must be 90 to 120 pages in length.  If you are writing for a 30 to 60 minute TV show, the screenplay should be 30 to 60 pages in length.  If the TV show must account for commercials, the screenplay will be less in length.

There is a formula to writing a screenplay.  Generally, the screenplay is written in present tense.  The character names are placed above the dialogue.  The action text is written by itself.  There is a line for each scene that specifies the location and time of the scene.  There are generally three acts with several scenes each.  Noises are capitalized.  There is a specific formatting and indention to the screenplay.  

Here is an example of a page of the screenplay from my first film, Bad Billy Brown, of the formatting for the screenplay.

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I have always enjoyed studying ancient cultures, legends, folklore and mythology and have observed that most ancient stories are very similar across all cultures including stories of floods and giants and little people. I visit many of the places I write about. The cover art of many of my books includes my own photography with some imagery illustrated into the photograph.