10 Steps To Creating A Movie Script

1. Concept

You will need a unique concept.  Something original.  Something high concept.  A good example of an elevator pitch that is high concept is (Alien crash lands on each and befriends a boy who helps him get home.  ET)  Even an art film should have a high concept.  Think about Once Upon A Time In America.

2. Title

Don’t ignore this step.  You need a catchy title to help aid your log line and use it to build your elevator pitch.  No matter how small your film you still need a good pitch to get people involved and interested.

3. Three Acts

All movie scripts have 3 acts.  A beginning Middle and End.  Act 1 is your introduction.  Act 2 is your journey and act  3 is the conclusion.  Be sure you know how your story starts and ends.  And don’t forget the middle.  That is crucial for developing a good story that is not 250 pages long.

4. Characters

Good characters want something this is their need.  They also change over the course of the story.  In order to build a great character you need to understand their point of view and attitude towards things.

5. Subplots

This area is often ignored.  The typical Hollywood movie doesn’t have a lot of depth.  Think about subplots that build and enlighten your audience to your larger theme.  Subplots should reveal something about your plot and your characters.  It tells who they are through action.

6. Plot Diagram

Once you have some ideas about how your going to tell your story plot out the scenes.  Every script should have 40 scenes.  You can start making a list and filling out your story.  The more action and subplots you use the easier it will be to fill out the plot diagram.  What you don’t want to do is start writing and then come up with ideas as you go.  You want to carefully craft your story and plot it out before you get started.

7. Beat Sheet

Break down your story into beats.  This is the concept of Blake Snyder from “Save the Cat” There are 15 important beats that every movie script has you want to plot these out before you start writing.

8.  Treatment

I always start with a long detailed treatment.  Basically this is a scene outline of exactly what happens in each scene.  You can use this as a guide. but you need to know your story before you write this.  If you write it as a scene outline you don’t have to go in sequential order. Once you finish your treatment I always go back and write a 4 page version. This is what I let friends read to give me feedback.  I look at the treatment as a way to get feedback and do most of my rewrites here.

9. Movie Script

If you have been successful during all the previous steps this is the easy part.  It will write itself. You need to know your story.

10. Rewrite Movie Script

You want your movie script to be perfect so you need to do rewrites.  Keep in mind the larger the structural change to the story the more invasive the rewrite will be.  Hopefully your story was crafted in a way that you don’t need more characters or scenes but are just adding in texture.  If you need a major structural change to the plot arc you might want to start back at a previous step before you engage the rewrite.

More Detailed information on my site How To Write A Movie Script!


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