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Script Writing Tips

In college, I took an acting class in which you could bring in any scene from any script you saw fit. I took full advantage of this by bringing in over 75 different scenes from my favorite movies over the course of one academic year. Shortly after this, I took a screenwriting class, wrote my first play and a few years down the line I ran my own web series. From this script experience, I've put together a few script writing tips that could help you in penning your fourth or your fortieth screen or stage play.

1. Talk and Listen

A major personality shift during my adolescence put me in the fantastic position of having been both a primary listener and a primary talker during my lifetime. When I was younger, I was too scared to pipe up in conversations and as a result I came well versed in how many different people speak. When I got to college, I over compensated by talking so much it would never be a surprise to me for people to ask me to shut up. To truly understand dialogue, you need to do a lot of talking and a lot of listening. This is the only way your dialogue will be realistic.

2. Read and Watch the Good and the Bad

My screenwriting teacher would frequently go to see almost every movie out in theaters, no matter how it was reviewed. He said that he often learned more from watching and reading bad scripts than he did from concentrating on the good ones. You may be able to avoid some screenwriting faux pas by learning what those who came before you did horribly.

3. Read Your Script to Non-Screenwriters

The hardest part that many writers have is conveying their ideas to normal people. By making sure to read your script out loud to people who don't normally read scripts, you won't be getting technical feedback. You'll be making sure that your script hits the obvious points that you may have forgotten about writing into it. This will help you to keep your style while avoiding a million notes you'd receive from "professionals" that could water down the kind of writer you want to be.


There are plenty of classes and books about the proper way to write a screenplay and how your characters should be developed, blah, blah, blah. I say that in order to preserve your originality, try writing your scripts by following the three script writing tips above and see where you end up. 

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Written by Bryan Cohen

Bryan Cohen is the author of more than 30 books, many of which focus on creative writing and blasting through that pesky writer's block. His books have sold more than 20,000 copies. You can find him on and Facebook.

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