Section 1: Read - Learning Objectives & Lesson Overview
By the end of this lesson, you should be able to:
Research historical events and brainstorm to think of a screenplay idea.
Write a screenplay idea based upon real or imagined experiences or events.
Develop and support your idea with details about sequential events, characters and dialogue to create a short film script.
Screenwriters get their ideas from many sources. Sometimes they think of ideas on their own. Often, however, they are inspired by other media like books or television. It is important to remember that “borrowing” an idea is not a bad thing. Humans are very good at learning from one another, and screenwriters are no exception.
Ideas for screenplays come at strange times and unusual places. Screenwriters have mentioned that they get their ideas from conversations with friends, a phrase in a book or movie, something they have seen while taking a walk, or even in dreams. When the ideas pop up, screenwriters try to write them down quickly so they don’t forget them. The same is true for events in a movie, characters, and dialogue. Some screenwriters keep a pencil and some paper with them nearly all the time so they can capture their ideas whilst they are fresh.
A list of sources for initial screenplay ideas is shown under the fist Task in Step 1 but there may even be some other sources that you can think of. The important thing to keep in mind is that screenwriters are good at thinking up ideas on their own, as well as borrowing ideas from other media.
Research plays a critical role in the proper development of a screenplay idea. Any time a writer can introduce their audience to a new, interesting world or perspective, the reader is more engaged. Researching allows the writer to discover rich details and nuances that might otherwise have been omitted, leaving the script more hollow and flat.
Key Terms and Concepts
Brainstorming is taking the research on history, events, other stories, or experiences to create more ideas.
Screenplays are ideas written into a story format.
A good screenplay is developed and supported with detail, introduces events sequentially, and creates characters and dialogue to create a short film script.