How to Write a Screenplay for Movies

Writing screenplay is a tough part in filmmaking. If you want to learn Screenplay writing, you or your screenplay need four things.

  1. Screenplay writing software
  2. 3 Act Structure (You need to learn)
  3. Screenplay formatting  (You need to learn)
  4. Sample Screenplays (From the other Hollywood movies)

In this article i am talking about 3 Act Structure to create good screenplay. Don’t worry i already wrote another articles to find good screenplay writing software (some of them free), tips to format screenplay and free screenplay downloading sites.

Please read the whole article before you jump to write your screenplay. Because this is the method i found from best Hollywood screenplay writers to write my screenplays. If you want to write screenplay for movies please read full article.

Basic Preparation

Now a days making movie is a business. So you need to consider your movie budget, before start your screenplay. Being as a filmmaker, you are selling your story to an audience. So connect with your audience. If you are not care about characters, anticipating, plot twits, story conclusions, then the movie is not good. If your screenplay is not good, you movie will fail. So you need to spend lot of  time to make one good screenplay.

If you have a basic idea about story, characters, situations, plots then develop a story in your head. You need to have clear idea about “How your story begins” , “What is the middle point” and “How your Story end”.

Writing screenplay is not like writing novels. Writing screenplay is like writing poems. Simple dialogue need to provide lot of meaning about situation.

Screenplays are created based on what happens next?. So the root of every scene must have or comes through suspense, mystery and revelation. You want to make audience feel happiness, sadness, anger, courage, love, determination, empathy, heroism, hope, inspiration and vicariously experience through the screen.

  • Stage Play emphasize dialogue
  • Novels  emphasize description
  • Screenplays emphasize visuals

Suspense – Your story must have suspense. Suspense  – Guess what? , Guess who?. Good Story = Suspenseful story.

Drama – Drama covers everything including  comedy, art of suspense. Drama is a story about somebody who wants something.

Conflict – Conflict simply means you want to do something. But something or some one is keep you from doing it.

Characters  – Dramatic narrative is all about people. How they act? and how they react?. Do not spend too much time to develop a character.

Three Act Structure

This is a basic method which is used in Hollywood and world wide to write a good screenplay. All kind of films such as small or big budget film, romantic comedy, emotional drama, suspense thriller, horror, action, science fiction movies follow the same structure.

First finalize the ending of the story before start your first scene. You can not maintain your story with out fixed destination or ending. This is a important rule in 3 act structure.

You need to split your story as a 3 parts.

  • Act One : The Buildup
  • Act Two : The Adventure
  • Act Three : The Resolution

Three act structure can be applied any movie that longer than 10+minutes. Mostly the author finish screenwriting in 1 to 8 months.

Matrix film is a good example about 3 act structure screenplay writing.

screenplay 3 act structure

Image courtesy :


First decide event or end.

What is the event?

A character + Action = subject +verb = who+what

Learning or feeling something is not an event. Doing something is an event.

Act One : The Buildup (beginning)

Introduce your  movie characters, their life include age, job, relationship and money(finance position). Show life before twist. Show contrast.


Drama is all about desire. what people want? what they do in order to get they want?

Desire divide into two single groups.

  • change or no change


Make every character little special. Even if they(Actor) do little one scene, give better dialogue on memorable actions.

All of our main characters must introduced in first half.

Act Two :  The Adventure (middle)

Act Three: The Resolution (end)

Provide emotionally satisfying ending.

Twist Ending – Twist ending does not change the structure of your story.

I am suggest you to watch some video from YouTube to understand “what your story need?”

Take writing seriously. Write every day.

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