Common Acting Questions

Writting my movie on paper

by Timotheus Naftal N

(Windhoek, Namibia)


How do I put my ideas on a paper? Let say i have some good ideas of coming up with a movie or video, how do i start writing this ideas on paper before acting them in front of a camera?


If you want to be a screenwriter-actor, and possibly a writer-actor-director, it’s a good idea to follow the format screenwriters use. Movies have a very specific format so producers and directors can visualize the scene right away when they read it.

Every scene starts with a heading indicating whether it takes place inside or outside, the location, time of day and sometimes the camera angle. Descriptions are usually short and are limited to brief character introductions and actions. The majority of the page is taken up by dialogue for most scripts (of course, screenplays for action movies and other specific genres with less dialogue will have more descriptions).

Here’s a quick example of what a movie scene looks like on paper:


Ellen is a short woman with a short temper. She’s in her early 40s but looks much older. She pours herself a cup of coffee, spilling some.

What is the matter with me? Derek!

A sunny 15 year old boy with a bright smile looks up. He’s been flipping through a motorcycle magazine at the breakfast table.

Yes, mom? Relax, it’ll be a great day.

This is not formatted perfectly, but gives you an idea on how to do it. The best way to get the formatting right is to use a screenwriting software, like Final Draft, which is the screenwriting program most used here in Hollywood, it seems.

Before you start writing the scenes in the script, through, you’ll want to do the work any writer does: gathering all your ideas, developing your characters and building the skeleton of the story with conflict, a beginning, middle and end, etc.

You may want to take an screenwriting class or just take a shot at it on your own. You can also develop scenes by doing improvisations with other actor friends.

Hopes this helps. Good luck with your first film!

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