Aspiring screenwriters often ask about how to start a script. It’s a valid question, as starting a screenplay script can seem daunting. Michael Jamin, a Hollywood screenwriter, provides insight into the process in a video on his YouTube channel and podcast. In this article, we’ll break down Jamin’s video and provide additional information to help you get started on your screenplay.

The Importance of Idea Development

Before you start writing, you need to have a solid idea. Jamin stresses that it’s crucial to determine whether your idea has enough substance to be stretched into a full script. Jamin says that in the writer’s room they use a whiteboard to break the story down into three acts and then they start laying out the beats and filling them in with scene by scene details. This process can take a week or longer, but it’s essential to ensure that your story has enough meat on the bone.

Writing an Outline

Once you have a fleshed-out idea, it’s time to write an outline. Jamin says this part of the process can sometimes take another week to craft a solid outline. The outline serves as a roadmap for your script, allowing you to flesh out the story further and ensure that it has a cohesive narrative structure. After all, it’s crucial to understand the story before starting to write the script, and the outline serves as a valuable tool to help you get there.

Writing the Script

With a solid idea and a detailed outline in place, it’s time to start writing the script. Jamin notes that it can take a week or two to write a half-hour television show script from the moment you start breaking down the story on the whiteboard to the point your script is completed. However, if you’re working alone, it could take longer. It’s worth noting that Jamin is referring to a team of professional writers breaking a story when he mentions taking a week to write a script. So, don’t be discouraged if it takes you longer as a solo writer.

professional writer writing a script

Ready to Start Writing Your Script?

Starting a screenplay script is a multi-step process that requires time, effort, and dedication. It’s essential to have a solid idea and take the time to break the story down into three acts and lay out the beats and scene by scene. Writing an outline is also crucial to ensure that your story has a cohesive narrative structure before writing the script. Once you have your outline, take your time and write the script, making sure it has the necessary elements to tell a compelling story.

If you’re an aspiring screenwriter looking to learn more about the craft, consider taking an online screenwriting course. Michael Jamin offers a course on his website that covers everything from idea development to writing the script. Taking a course can help you hone your skills and provide valuable insights into the screenwriting process.

Michael Jamin, Showrunner, TV Writer, Author

Phil Hudson

Phil Hudson is the Co-Host of Screenwriters Need To Hear This with Micahel Jamin. He's worked on TV & Film projects like Rhett and Link's Buddy System, Quasi, and Tacoma FD, where he is an Associate Producer. Phil has a Bachelor's of Fine Arts in Film - Story Development from Santa Fe University of Art & Design, where he was a Robert Redford Scholar.

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