The Winning Script
3 Important Fundamentals
Written By Alan C. Hueth
I love to win. My youngster up to 20-ish years was full of sports competitions. It included baseball, basketball, and football. But football was my favorite sport. I played ten years–starting in Pop Warner football in third grade and continuing into college. The sportsmanship and brotherhood of football were great. But I hated to lose. Why? Because of the hard work and sacrifices that were involved in the previous weeks or months before the loss. And I knew that the next week of practices were going to be challenging.
Fortunately, I was never on a losing team in football. And during those years, I was on three championship teams. Those victories required excelling in the fundamentals. The fundamentals of football include the physical, the mental, and the emotional. The physical includes strength and speed. The mental includes the knowledge of how to block and tackle, run, throw, and catch. And the emotional includes self-control. This means “not getting angry and out-of-control” to the point of making penalties. The degree to which I mastered these fundamentals was the degree to which I and my team-mates won.
In the same way, a winning script has three fundamental characteristics.
First, the script is written in a way that makes it easy for the production crew and actors to be successful. The script is written in a professional format, and the dialogue/narration and scenic descriptions are clear and invite creativity and confidence for all involved.
Second, the script is emotionally engaging from the first to last scene. Every scene includes content that reveals characters’ values, traits, and behaviors that move the story forward through clear character beats and plot points.
And thirdly, a winning high school, college, or professional script is a script that makes the film so good that people want to see it in the theatre, on TV, and/or get the film into a film festival or multiple film festivals.
Alan C. Hueth is an Emeritus Professor of Communication Studies at Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU). He has worked as a consultant, writer, producer, director, editor, and shooter on over 300 contract, cablecast, and broadcast programs. He is the winner of two Telly’s, a Broadcast Education Association award, and several cable television awards. Hueth’s PLNU scriptwriting students have written scripts for 26 films and TV shows in 52 student and professional festivals and won 20 awards in a thirteen-year span. Key concepts on how to master the fundamentals leading to ‘winning scripts’ are detailed in Alan’s book, “Scriptwriting for Film, Television, and New Media.”