Project Horror #2: Writing the Script

In my last post I explained that I am producing a horror short in the coming months and I want to bring you all on the journey with me. Today I want to talk about the scriptwriting process.

I had never written a script before so I was apprehensive about how easy it would be to put ideas on to paper. I had several pages of notes scattered around my desk detailing the storyline as well as key aspects of the set or sound that I wanted to be used to sell certain moments, but when those ideas need to be focused into a script I realised just how much detail was going to be needed throughout in order to get my point across.

From my experience, I can say that if you are going to write a script on a half-baked idea, then the process will really get you to think about every aspect of your scene and exactly how you want your audience to understand this story you are telling. Everything from sounds, costumes, movements, framing, pacing and scene focus, to what the actor in the scene is thinking and how the audience will know that. Be prepared to do battle with your idea. You will soon find out if it can stand up to the scrutiny you will put it through to get it on to the page.

I used a program called Celtx to write the script. It’s a free word processing program that auto-formats the text as you type to match the industry-standard script layout. This saved me a ton of time I’d otherwise have spent in Word trying to mimic the style, and it helped me keep in the flow of writing without having to constantly worry about formatting. The final script can be exported as a PDF so anyone can read it, which has been great to get friends to peer review it. I highly recommend using something like this if you are writing a script.

Having a properly formatted script means anyone who picks up my script can straight away understand how to read it. Script formatting also gives plenty of white space on the page which will definitely come in handy once I get on to set and start making corrections or adding footnotes. Hollywood script formatting is also well known for a page of script translating to roughly a minute of screen time, which is very useful for working out how long a scene is going to be, and therefore what kind of preparations will need to be made.

I’m going to be a massive tease and show you the first few lines of my script…

Project Horror Script
The first few lines of the horror short

That’s all for this post. I’m in the process of getting the camera gear I want to use for filming, as well as figuring out who I can use as my actors. Steady progress.

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