What is the best way to go about writing a screenplay?

There really can’t be hard and fast rules on this one because different writers have different processes. However, the one thing I DO advocate is something that many writers do not want to do.


So often, many aspiring writers will come up with an idea. They’ll cobble together a plot of some sort, come up with a character, conflict and opponent and voila – they dive right into a draft.

My advice – plan. Once you have a bullet proof concept, take a day or two to think about it. Do a little research. Take the concept for a test drive and try it out on a couple of friends – not other aspiring writers. That’s a mistake. Maybe watch a couple of movies that are in your genre.

Instead of doing what everybody else does, write an outline.

What’s the central conflict?

What’s the end point that your lead character comes to? What are the major set-backs or break thrus your main character will experience?  Who are the allies? Who or what is the opponent?

I’ve been working with writers for a number of years and I know writing an outline is hard, which is why so many DON’T want to do it.

But I believe there is not a writer ALIVE who couldn’t do a “better” job (whether that only means a “faster” job, or something else) by just knuckling down and writing that outline!

It doesn’t have to be a 40 page treatment – three or four pages, tops. And the good news? – double spacing if you like.

So often, many writers who are trying to get in the door hate planning. Many want to dive head-long into a draft.

They don’t want to think about audience; nor road test their concepts; they don’t want to write outlines and certainly don’t want to write pitches.

But if you plan and write an outline, you will havebombproof central concept. Your script will have a powerful focus – beginning to end.

You’ll be able to target your pitches better. Your writing is more likely to be elevated above your standard default style.

You will seem like you know what you’re talking about to Industry People.

Readers will tell you that they see better specs when the writer has created the outline before the draft.


Hey, thanks for checking out this episode of ON LOCATION. Please check out the rest of the web site and remember I offer a free ten minute consultation with absolutely no obligation.