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Writing a Great Screenplay

The outcome was a film that Woody was very unhappy with but could do nothing about. Although at this time he had little to no experience in directing films, Woody vowed that he would never write another script unless he was the director of the film as well. Woody Allen is of course one of the most well known director/actor/writers of today.
To Sum it Up
The writer must remember that the act of scriptwriting, like any kind of writing that comes from the heart, must provide its own reward. Some screenwriters are given an idea, they write a script, sell it and move on. They never see the script again and never view the film, its' all a business to them. 

Other writers take their work very personally because much of it comes from personal experience. Either way you look at it, it is important for the writer to realize that their story, if produced, is going to be shown to millions and changes in the script are inevitable and unavoidable. This is something they can not take personally.

The fundamental function of a screenplay is not as a piece of literature, but as a guide for the work to follow. The first draft is a blueprint, something to base future work off of. A finished novel, poem or a magazine article is a completed or nearly completed piece of work. 

A finished screenplay on the other hand is only the beginning of weeks and weeks of work to be done.
"The best thing you can do is write something you truly believe in," explains Jonathan Tolins (playwright / screenwriter). "If you spend your time trying to create what you think sells, you're dead in the water. In my case, it was only when I wrote something from the heart, something extremely personal, that people in the industry took notice. And then, lo and behold, they began to think of me for all sorts of things. They even took a second look at my old scripts they previously had thrown in the trash. You must write for yourself first."

"As soon as they finish the first script, they should start on their second one, as soon as they finish the second one, they should start on their third," Howard Sanders (United Talent Agency) suggests. "They should write and write and write. What happens too often is that a writer turns in the script to the agent and then sits on his hands and waits for the agent to call and say 'Guess what? I sold your script for a million dollars.' It doesn't work that way."

Some basic points to consider when beginning a new script are first and foremost to define your goals. What is it that you want to accomplish by writing this screenplay? Pick your genre and stick to it. Don't decide to write comedy because that's what seems popular at the time and then turn around and try to write a drama. Perfection comes from practice and will never be accomplished when you continually change directions. "You can tell if somebody is funny in three pages," states Bob Hohman, "You recognize it when you see it. It's just sincere and genuine."

Study the classics. The American Film Institute has put out lists of the 100 greatest actors, comedies, and films of all time
Always write to form. Neatness counts. Some people will not even look at a script if the form is bad. Always have a lot of material to work from. Brainstorm ideas, write down thoughts you have, whether they are a brief sentence or paragraphs long. All this information may prove useful at some point in your writing.

Finally, study the classics. The American Film Institute has put out lists of the 100 greatest actors, comedies, and films of all time. Look at the way the story is portrayed, what is being said, how the story unravels and how it makes you feel or what it makes you think. Digital videodisks (DVD's) are another great source to view. Many DVD's contain interviews with writers, directors and producers in which they discuss the script itself. The Bravo Television Network has a show called Inside the Actors Studio, in which they have interviews with actors, directors, and screenwriters discussing their craft and the art of filmmaking. There are also hundreds of books and websites on screenwriting and published scripts

FilmMakers recommendation

ACTION CUT - This is the most unique series of learning tools in the film industry that provides an in-depth look inside the directing craft on a step-by-step, shot-by-shot professional level of production from the written page through the moviemaking process to the final film.

From Script to Screen: The Collaborative Art of Filmmaking, Second Edition by Linda Seger, Edward Jay Whetmore

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William Goldman: Four Screenplays with Essays

Woody Allen on Woody Allen
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Peterson's Breaking into Film: Making Your Career Search a Blockbuster (Breaking Into)
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