Scriptwriting for Television

Scriptwriting
Whether you like it or not, your show will be judged based on your script.

If you want to begin scriptwriting for television, then one of the things you need to learn is writing as screenplay. Screenplays are specially formatted so that each page takes up roughly one minute of screen time. This format is the industry standard, and deviating from it will often end with your screenplay in the trash. The best way to avoid this is to use script software, such as Celtx, Writer Duets, or Final Draft.

Taking the screenplay further, you may be ready to write a full script. But before you dive right into it, here are a few more guidelines which you need to remember. Whether you’re writing about something as seemingly simple as Madame Tussaud in Amsterdam or something as complex as serial killers, you will need these guidelines.

Guidelines in Scriptwriting

First, remember to do the proper and complete research. If possible, read as many screenplays in your genre as you can. Go online and check out scripts from every show similar to yours. Watching TV is a great way to understand plotting, but if you’re going to write scripts you need to understand the art of the script. Take notes as you read about style, plotting, and substance.

Second, you need to understand the value of having a good pilot episode. Your pilot episode is the first one, and so you’re going to have to make it as interesting as possible. You will need to take into account the fact that in your pilot, you’ll be introducing the main problem of your show or story, as well as introducing your main characters. Keeping this in mind, make sure that your pilot starts off with the bang that you need.

Third, outline your plot using TV act structure. TV shows, despite their originality and diversity, have a pretty rigid structure. Because most TV comes with commercials, these little breaks are convenient places to end each Act. Think of an act as a collection of scenes that tells the mini story of an episode. Between each set of commercials, you have the progression of the story, ending in a big moment, change, or climax that excites the viewer to keep watching when the commercials end.

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