Writing action scenes in scripts from movies

Share Why It Matters If your goal is to land an agent, pique the interest of a producer, or cause an actor to proclaim, "I have to play this role", you have no choice but to come out with guns blazing from Page One. Agents, producers, actors, contest script readers -- or whomever you are lucky enough to get your script in front of -- will give you ten minutes of their time. In fact, I firmly believe they'll give you five.

Writing action scenes in scripts from movies

There is nothing else that gives you the practical experience of how it all comes together than reading a film script that has actually been produced. And not just the spec screenplay that was originally sold, although those are excellent resource points, but the actual movie script that mirrors the final film.

But what are the best film scripts to read, and why? Alan Ball Alan Ball graduated from Florida State University with a degree in theater arts, went on to write for the theater and then television, penning the hit comedies Grace Under Fire and Cybil. Although there are elements of comedy in American Beauty, for which he won the Oscar for best screenplay init is overall a drama, and in our opinion a modern masterpiece of screenwriting.

The script opens with Jane staring into the camera — a handheld device operated by an unseen man — nonchalantly discussing killing her father. We then cut to said father — a loser named Lester Burnham — and follow him as he begins another miserable day at the office, all the while hearing his Voice Over from beyond the grave.

In fact, the opening twenty-five pages are a masterclass in how to establish character, stakes and genre as the screenplay pulls you into a web of lies set in a suburban hell.

Gustin Nash from the novel by C. Nash broke onto the scene after writing nine spec screenplays with a comedy he wrote in four weeks called Charlie Bartlett. Here are the opening few paragraphs: From there on in, the script is a comedy riot of teenage angst and sexual yearning, with a nice side helping of surrealism thrown in for good measure.

Read it and see how consistent the tone is throughout — funny and absurd, yet with an emotional heart and great characters — and see the level your comedy spec needs to aspire to.

For example, see how they partly achieve this by giving Indy a personal motivation to his quest in the shape of Marion. Kasdan achieves this by utilizing seven specific sequences, each one taking Indy alternately closer and further away from his goal — the Ark of the Covenant.

Just studying this scene alone will tell you all you need to know about hiding on-the-nose dialogue. Humor can be a powerful weapon in any genre but reading this script will give you an idea of just how powerful. Like Alan Ball, the Coens like to mess around with sluglines, and in this case by almost dispensing with them entirely.

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Again, stick to the conventions on this one, but other than that copy, crib and steal as much as you can from two masters of modern cinema. This specific horror screenplay is great because of the way the Hayes brothers make us feel the tension, the mood, the dread and the pacing throughout.

The Conjuring also makes use of some interesting formatting, using CAPS and bold and underlining in ways that are so subtle, and so manipulative to our reading experience, it is like a visceral punch in the gut. You feel the visuals in this screenplay.

You feel the air move as the hands come out beside you and clap from the darkness. This is a masterful script when it comes to delivering a screenplay a director can cinematically see, because it is all there on the page.

Read more about how to leverage suspense in your writing style in this post. It also plays on the deepest fears of each character. No — they dig in deep, analyze the scene with a fine tooth comb, go over every possible angle.

This is what you should be doing with a screenplay. Yes there are many screenwriting books out there on the craft, and screenwriting courses you can take which help to nail down finer tunings, as well as script coverage which adds another layer of knowledge for your screenwriting mastery.

But the best movie scripts themselves have everything right there on the page. So read all of these movie scripts, study them, reverse engineer them, break them down, and then use what you learned and apply it in your own writing.May 07,  · How to Write a Script.

Scripts are good setups for writing and maneuvering a show. Whether you're writing it for an upcoming show, or just trying to see how your talents can be shown, to write a script, follow these guidelines%().

writing action scenes in scripts from movies

There is no universal way of writing action scenes. As with all formatting advice, the goal is to clearly express your vision without taking the reader out of the screenplay. However that is best accomplished for your scene is the right way to write it. With a good Action script you can write your own ticket.


But Action is the most deceptively challenging genre in Hollywood. What may seem simple and straightforward on the movie screen actually requires careful planning and extremely creative solutions from the screenwriter.

Action films are deceptive in a number of ways. Many people think Action movies lack character, plot and theme, but they're mistaken. In writing action scenes, the pace must speed up, to match that of the scene. In order to do this, keep descriptions of anything besides the action to a minimum.

For instance, this is not the place for long descriptions of a setting or a character. And the final shooting script if mist scripts will usually, but not always, have the scene by scene by scene and sometimes the shot by shot description of the film.

Character Worksheets Patrick Regan1 year ago 1 1 min read Is there anything more fun than an epic fight scene? And when written well, they can say as much as any other scene in the most serious dramas.
WRITING FIGHT SCENES: A Kick in the Head - Script Magazine Smith July 21, When I began writing my first crime novel, I knew it would be a challenge. But there was one aspect of writing that I was sure would be much easier than the rest:
There is no universal way of writing action scenes. | leslutinsduphoenix.com Miscellaneous rants, raves, musings, adventures and misadventures of a working Los Angeles screenwriter. Several days ago I completed a critique on an action script.
Writer's Digest Magazine His body flops with a wet, fleshy THUD onto the ground.
5 Of The Best Movie Scripts To Learn From In Each Genre Subscribe to our FREE email newsletter and download free character development worksheets!

But in the big action films, that is not possible. Like the overall movie itself, writing a scene in a script should include a set up, complication, and resolution.

This is particularly true of the most important scenes in the story, i.e. the Call to Action, Big Event, Midpoint etc.

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