No matter what language you speak, writing is a universal way to communicate your thoughts and feelings. Scriptwriting is a specialized form of writing that can be used to create films, TV shows, and plays.
If you’re a Filipino looking to pursue a career in scriptwriting, opportunities to learn are abundant. With the right tools and training, you can take your shot at creating a masterpiece.
So what are you waiting for? Start learning about scriptwriting today:
1. Pick Your Weapon and Start Writing
First, if you want to be a scriptwriter, you need to write – now. Unless you take this crucial step, your ambition remains a dream.
Fortunately, you’re born at a time when writing assistant tools are available. These include ProWritingAid, Grammarly, and Final Draft, a popular screenwriting software.
When you don’t want these, you can always rely on the good-old Microsoft Word or Scrivener, as well as download and use premade guides and templates found everywhere on the Internet.
Contrary to popular belief, your writing process doesn’t need to be complicated either. Don’t worry too much about what you write, especially if it’s just the first draft. Granted, the first ones will be rough, but it’s all part of the process.
It’s okay to write with mistakes and typos as long as you delete them later on. The most important thing is getting your ideas out on paper (or, technically, electronically), even if what you’re writing isn’t perfect.
2. Get Inspiration from Other Works of Art
The best source of inspiration for a Filipino scriptwriter is other works of art. Studying characters, plots, settings, and themes in successful Tagalog movies streaming at Apple TV and novels can help give you ideas that you can use in your own writing.
Even paintings, sculptures, and monuments can be excellent sources of inspiration. Usually, all you need is that spark that motivates you to write and tell a story.
Keep in mind, however, that getting inspiration is different from plagiarizing other people’s work. It is also not enough to create a great story. More than anything, it needs to be something your audience can relate to. Otherwise, it won’t make any impact.
Learn how they set up their characters, where they took their plot, and what kind of atmosphere they conveyed through their settings. Then use these examples as guidelines for your scriptwriting.
3. Learn How Other Scriptwriters Craft Their Stories
Even if you already have the characters, setting, and plot, you will still feel like a headless chicken because you don’t really know where to begin. How do you weave all these elements together into a cohesive compelling story?
One of the best strategies is to learn from the masters – read other people’s scripts. What are the elements they incorporated in their stories? How did they express them?
Find out scriptwriters who are experts or specialize in your genre and check out some of their previous work. See if you can download them online, or if you’re brave enough, introduce yourself and ask for a copy. Who knows, you may land yourself a mentor.
Meanwhile, if you’re still exploring niches, buy various screenwriting books or head to libraries. They usually carry books about different genres and how to write for them.
4. Study Creative Writing Classes at School
If you’re still in school, make the most of your time there by taking creative writing classes. You can learn how to structure your stories and convey your emotions through effective dialogue.
One of the excellent courses you can take is film and novel analysis. Here, you can dissect other people’s work and give yourself insights on how to construct plots, settings, characters, themes, and dialogues.
If you’ve already graduated or are out of school, you can attend online classes and seminars to learn how to break down stories and analyze them for techniques, structure, and themes.
5. Write with Conflict in Mind
What makes an engaging script? Beyond the setting and plot is the conflict arc. After all, your characters need motivation and definition while your audience demands a reason to root for the antagonists or even the protagonists of the story. They also need something in the story to cling to.
As you start writing, ask yourself if your characters have inner or outer issues that they’re dealing with on a personal level. Then experiment with conflict.
Your story should have a problem for your characters to solve, so think about what could happen within the first few scenes of your screenplay or teleplay. Something dramatic could occur that would set off an entire series of events, causing trouble for everyone involved. It can also be as subtle as a few words spoken in anger enough to set your story in motion.
As a writer, you can easily get discouraged especially when your story doesn’t go according to plan. However, these things happen in the writing process, and it’s actually part of the fun – thinking up new solutions for obstacles you encounter. Don’t get disheartened and use these tips to make the activity easier for you.