How To Write A Screenplay

Learn how to write a screenplay through detailed analysis of film.

How To Write a Screenplay

Before they come to America and take the world by storm in 1964, they spend this incredibly long period of time as a house band in a strip club…playing eight hour sets, seven days a week, for months at a stretch.

~Malcolm Gladwell on The Beatles

I’m a fan of Malcolm Gladwell. In his book Outliers, he equates success, not necessarily to talent, but more to practice: 10,000 hours of practice to be exact. That’s five years at a full-time job. If you polled today’s top working screenwriters on the amount of hours they devoted to the craft before success came knocking, I bet you’d find similar numbers.

Nothing beats completing detailed, written analysis of film to truly understand the craft of screenwriting. You can read all the books, attend all the conferences and seminars, but until you get down to the nitty gritty, you’re gonna stumble and fall. Read the scripts. Watch the movies. Break them down and find out what makes them tick. Most important, learn from the ones that energize your emotions and then dig into the stories you want to tell. I can’t stress this enough — Learn from the films you love.

Visit the Screenplay Analysis section for breakdowns on some of the films that I’ve grown to respect.