How many times have you sat in a movie theater watching events unfold on the screen and thought, “I could write a better story.” Perhaps you can! You’ll never know until you try.
Screenwriting is an art and science that is distinctly different from the creation of novels and stories. Movies are a visual medium, and from the first day you start learning screenwriting, you will hear over and over again: “show, don’t tell.” It is often difficult for story writers to make the transition to writing movies. In a short story or novel, the feelings, thoughts, emotions, and sensory impressions of the characters can be described in great detail. In a script, you must create visual actions that evoke those same thoughts and emotions. Dialog must be kept to a minimum. You will not be able to sell a screenplay where the actors spend hours talking about their inner thoughts and emotions. The actors and director need to be trusted to convey their conflicts in actions, not words. In the best dramatic screenplays, every word of dialog exists to drive the story forward. There is no small talk.