How to Write Movie Scripts

We all have grown up watching movies, be it Bollywood, Hollywood or regional cinema you must have watched a lot of movies. A thought must have crossed your mind at some point in time about how interesting it is to write these movies. It is a very fascinating thing to do, write movie scripts but how exactly are these scripts written is their particular way to go about it. Creative writing is something that changes from person to person, but there are certain steps that you can follow if you wish to write a script. Although let me make it clear, writing a script for a film is not an objective process that you will learn by understanding the steps you need to have creativity and imagination to be able to write a script.

How to Write movie scripts

What is a movie script?

First of all, let’s understand the meaning of the word “script”. The script is a format which presents an audiovisual story for a particular medium. It can be a drama script, a video script or a full-length feature film script. A script consists of characters, situations, dialogues and descriptions but a movie script is much more than that. It has a detailed description of how things would look on camera and it is defined as “a screenplay”. In simple words, a screenplay is a more detailed version of the script. It should be understood that script and screenplay are not the same things but popularly still script is used more often.

Steps of writing a movie script –

1. Concept

It is a thought or idea that you have at the primary stage of writing a story, not the start of scripting, but the base of the script that eventually gets made through the process. It is very simple yet very difficult to think about as there can be thousands of interesting ideas but very few can transform into a great story. If you don’t find the right concept your whole hard work of creating a story doesn’t take you anywhere. You can go on writing various concepts though before finalising one idea as it doesn’t take much time to create concepts.

2. Outline

It is the next step that follows the concept. It is something that requires imagination and observation. You need to create a situation where this concept will be presented in the best possible way. The outline is a short description that creates a summary of the entire story that is written by the writer. It allows the writer to build scenes around it, it is a very important step in creating a world based on your concept.

3. Three-act structure

When you write an outline it creates your basic story now you need to go further into detail. This includes the beginning, middle and end, as you must have seen every movie has a beginning, middle and end. This can be in chronological order or reverse order, that is your story can have a linear storytelling pattern having a beginning, middle and end in the right sequence or it can start from the end or middle and travel back to the beginning. It all depends on the writer and how he or she wishes to tell their story. In the beginning, the story starts to open up, and as it moves forward it reaches an important point in the middle, making people wonder what will happen next. Then the end which is also referred to as the climax tells the viewer the ending point of your story.

4. Treatment

Treatment of the story is very important while writing a script. It is a way in which the writer imagined the story to be told to the viewers. When you watch any movie you quickly identify whether it is a comedy film or tragedy or it is a social drama. Treatment is a style of the film where each writer has his way of telling the same story, the same story told by ten writers seems to be different because they use different treatments. You can do one exercise, Take similar stories and watch those stories made by different writers and directors.

5. Scripting

This is a very actual script term that comes into the picture. When you have a concept and you develop a story around it, then you decide its beginning, middle and end, you give it the desired treatment now it’s time to create a script. Scripting is a step where the story gets divided into scenes, each scene being of a few minutes it takes the story further by some percentage. It has characters, situations and descriptions of how situations will occur. Scripting is where you get some idea of how this story will turn out to be when it comes in the form of a film.

6. Screenplay

Now once you are done with scripting it’s time to go into more detail and add a final step to it, that step being the screenplay. Even though some people like to write a detailed screenplay first and then add dialogues to it just before the shoot, some like to write a script and decide on a screenplay on the spot. They finalise how to shoot the scene on the spot by creating a scene and deciding the different possibilities based on their intuition. Once you complete the screenplay your formal process of writing is completed. Then you work on the assessment of the written script.

7. Assessment

When you complete the scripting, you need to do an initial assessment. It’s not a process that can be done in one go. You need to work on the script again and again because you want to make it better with each version. This assessment stage is important for this purpose, you should read your script in front of your friends, and make sure that you get reactions from people with different tastes. Whoever you are taking reactions from asks them to be brutally honest if they don’t tell you what you are getting wrong you won’t improve it. It will lead to the final product being mediocre. You can’t let it be as it is made from a lot of hard work so you want it to be good.

8. Format of the script

The format of the script is very important as it creates a formal look to it. There are some standard conventions for writing a movie script; these conventions are followed by all the writers who work in the industry. The standard format of the script is 8.5 ” to 11″ paper, with top and bottom margins are 5″ to 1″, left and right margins of 1.2 to 1.6 and 5″ to 1″ respectively. The standard font for scripts is Courier 12 its one page is approximately one minute of screen time so it is their preferred font.

How can you learn about writing movie scripts?

1. Online courses –

Nowadays there are a lot of online courses that present you with tutorials on writing a movie script. These lectures are conducted by professional writers from the industry. There are platforms like masterclass and front row which have courses that can help you in writing scripts. Masterclass has experts from the Hollywood film industry talking about the process of screenwriting while the front row has writers from Bollywood guiding you in scripting. If you can spend more than a thousand rupees per month you can opt course from the masterclass. If you can’t afford it you can always opt for a front row course which has a one-time fee of thousand of rupees. Other than these courses on how to write a script there are many video tutorials on youtube where you can understand the basics of script writing without paying anything.

You can go online and read scripts of popular films from at least Hollywood and Bollywood. As many scripts of these industries are available free of cost online. There are websites like film companion where you can get Hindi film scripts and websites like studio binder where you can get scripts for Hollywood films.


If you look at the process of writing a script in simple terms there are two important parts to it. The first part is it is a creative process hence it requires you to follow your thought process at the same time it has its technical aspects and procedures which one needs to follow one after the other. These aspects have been explained in detail above, if you follow these steps and work with your creative intuitions you can create wonders as a screenwriter

Share with your friends

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *