A few days ago I received my copy of David Trottier's Screenwriter's Bible and since then I've been working my way through it. I'm only two chapters in and already I've learned so much about screenwriting.
One important thing I'm learning about writing a screenplay (after much internet research) is that there are two types of screenplays: a shooting script and a spec script. The shooting script is what the film makers use as a guide to creating a film. The spec script is the thing that a writer sends to a producer through an agent or another intermediary to get the story noticed.
All screenplays, like novels or short stories, have a beginning, a middle and an end. Shooting scripts are anywhere from 90-120 pages and contain shot notations, camera angles and completed dialogue. A spec script is a little shorter but it mainly gives a visual representation of your plot using heavy imagery. It helps a producer see your story. If the story doesn't grab the producer in the first two pages then it probably won't be optioned.
I don't want to give away any of the nuggets found in the book because I want you to go out and buy it if you are considering writing a screenplay. It is indeed the "bible" of screenplay writing because Trottier's formatting is industry standard. Even seasoned screenwriters who have multiple screenplays optioned go back to Trottier's screenwriting bible.
Screenwriting is a lot of fun if you are a film buff and love writing like myself. It is rewarding to finish something in half the time you would produce a novel and the chances of getting it in front of an audience is much greater than getting it in front of a reader.
I'll be posting more articles about some of the things I've learned on my journey to a (hopefully) optioned screenplay. If you want to follow me, click the RSS feed below and I'll post weekly progress posts as I go. You can also follow me on all of the social media below.