Questions for screenwriters!

CharlotteWrites

New member
Hey, screenwriters! I’m new here and wanting to learn more about the screenwriting community.

I am part of the Page Turner Awards team, and we have a really exciting Screenplay Award this year. The judging panel features lots of high-profile film producers who are looking for work to option and includes Paul Michael Glaser of Starsky and Hutch!

We’ve started a screenwriting forum on our website, where screenwriters can connect and collaborate. We want to make this useful for screenwriting community, so perhaps you can help with some of the questions.

What advice would you give to writers who are looking to turn their novel into a screenplay? What courses/webinars can you recommend for an aspiring screenwriter? What award prizes would be most valuable to you and your career development?

Thanks for your help and looking forward to meeting you.
Regards
Charlotte
 

Maura B.

The Last Black Unicorn
Staff member
Hello @CharlotteWrites and welcome to our community!

The first advice I would give to someone who wants to turn their novel into a screenplay is to read books that have been already adapted into screenplays. You can learn a lot from observing how others did, what they did good and what they did wrong. Then you need to watch the film adaptation. Sure, most people say that the book is better than the movie but this is only because you do not have enough time in a movie to have all the little details that a book has. Other thing that frustrates viewers is when the movie has a completely different plot than the book, because they just want to see the book on their screens, not a different story. From what I have seen, the best movie adaptation was The Fault in Our Stars (The Fault in Our Stars (2014) - IMDb).

Then you need to start looking over your own story, at your novel. You take your story and you break it up into scenes and acts. Map out your storyline and major plot points in an outline.

Good luck!
 

CharlotteWrites

New member
To use the forums you need an account with us. Our forums are new so we haven't had much discussion yet, so don't worry about logging in too much! I just wanted you to be able to see that we've shared your kind advice, thank you!
 
The main thing is to remember, unlike a scene in a novel, in a movie scene, the camera comes in late and leaves early.
Secondly, consolidate. Characters, locations, everything. If, in the novel, the character goes to three different restaurants with three different waiters but the restaurants themselves are not pivotal to the story, in the screenplay they become one restaurant and one waiter.
And just because a character has a dog in the novel doesn't mean he needs one in the movie. Same with kids. A producer looks at parts for dogs and kids and thinks about how much Trainers and Babysitters cost. So unless they're essential to the plot, leave them out of the script, or at the least minimize thier usage.
Lastly, remember that you think a novel, but you see a movie.
 

CharlotteWrites

New member
Thanks for that great advice - such a great way to frame it as thinking a novel and seeing a movie. Are you a screenwriter or an author yourself?
 

Kim Welch

Senior Member
Staff member
I am just finishing one of Sid Field's Screenplay books "The Foundations of Screenwriting" There is a chapter on adaptions. He said a novel and a screen play are apples to oranges and you are right. You have to cut massively from a novel. A screenplay is about 120 pages long. Each scene needs to move the story forward, set up the story, establish the dramatic need of the main character, create the conflict, and resolve the conflict. Out of three restaurants in a novel you might not have any restaurants in the screenplay adaptation. It's a whole different concept. Some adaptations like "The Presidents Men" Don't even go all the way through the book. He says and I think he is right, that you should treat it as a new screenplay when adapting a book. A whole different animal.
 
Last edited:
Thanks for that great advice - such a great way to frame it as thinking a novel and seeing a movie. Are you a screenwriter or an author yourself?
I am a Studio Systems trained Screenwriter who has worked as an uncredited Fix-it Writer for the last decade, as well as Director of Development and one of the Producers for a new production company in Hollywood. We were about cast our first film when the pandemic hit, and now we're waiting it out.
Secret Life Production – Excellence in Story Telling
I also have a nonfiction book on Amazon
 
Top