If you can’t write a shot, you can’t write a scene, you can’t write a script. Learn to write shots.

I read 400 amateur scripts in 2014-15. My take: Beginners struggle to write scripts. They struggle at this because they struggle to write scenes. They struggle at this because they struggle to write shots. It’s the most basic element of screenwriting, and yet many can’t write one.

If you look at a movie, it’s just a collection of shots. Dynamic things happen in those shots, but if you look at it on the editing timeline, it’s just one master image after another.

You know how some reviews say “There wasn’t a false moment in the story?” I’ve read a lot of stories that didn’t have a true moment. They were written in a way that never specified anything, as if the writer was writing around gaps in imagination, around a need to commit to specifics.

Image is the easy part, and yet it’s ignored. We see a lot of posts here about three act structure or character arc, but very few about how to write crisp clear images. I’m beginning to suspect that starting beginners with image might be a better way to teach writing.

RELATED https://thestorycoach.net/2015/04/01/you-can-learn-a-lot-about-screenwriting-by-looking-at-storyboards/


Published by Matt Lazarus

WGA screenwriter offering in-depth writing instruction, notes, critique, and assistance.

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