I have now finished the first draft of my new short film screenplay, ‘Bunking’.
This contemporary thriller sprang from an intriguing seed of inspiration found in an anonymous story from Chinese folklore. It revolves around a peasant’s desperate escape from assault and a chilling twist of mistaken identity.
Each project starts with an idea that captivates you and lingers in your thoughts. It’s the beginning of the screenwriting process for bringing something to life. This initial idea often reveals the core theme, or it might just be a distinct image, a gripping plot twist, an irresistible character. You choose.
My Screenwriting Process:
1. Outlining and Research
- Starting with a Plot: In this case, I began with a plot idea, around which I could build a suitable story world.
- Developing Characters and Setting: Integral to this phase is researching the setting and developing your character profiles.
- Shaping the Narrative: Otherwise known as outlining, which is crucial, though it remains flexible and open to changes as the script develops.
- Enjoying the Creative Freedom: Drafting is where the real fun lies, letting imagination take the reins.
- Focus on the Story: I don’t stress over formatting or stylistic elements at this stage; it’s all about getting the story structure down.
- Pen and Paper Approach: I find there’s a unique joy in physically writing out the story, feeling each word take shape.
3. Polishing and Editing
- The First Official Draft: After the initial drafting, I move on to polishing, which essentially becomes the first complete draft.
- Editing and Typing Up: This stage involves refining and typing up the script, preparing it for feedback.
4. Feedback and Revision
- Waiting for Notes: Once the screenplay is sent out, I refrain from making further changes until feedback is received.
- Collating Suggestions: It’s more efficient to collate all the feedback and make revisions in a single pass.
- Focusing on New Projects: The wait can be long, so I divert my energy to new writing projects.
Every screenwriting journey is unique; the process continually evolves. Embracing change and collaboration is necessary in an environment where different voices and visions come into play.
However, the most fun is often to be had early on, in the quiet moments alone with your imagination, drafting and shaping one’s ideal vision of cinematic reality.
The creative journey of a screenwriter is one from a simple idea into a screenplay you hope will captivate your reader and later audiences in the cinema.