There are times when I worry that my screenwriting skills have plateaued. I've written a ton of specs, but when it comes to becoming a better writer, I often try to shake up my routine and perform some exercises that get me out of my comfort zone and help me hone my skills.
Screenwriting is a challenging and rewarding art form that requires a combination of technical skill and creative inspiration.
Whether you're a beginner or an experienced writer, these exercises can help you sharpen your skills, develop your creativity, and bring your stories to life on the screen.
So, let's get started and discover some screenwriting exercises that can transform you into a master storyteller.
'Training Day'Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures
What Are Some Screenwriting Exercises That Actually Make You a Better Storyteller?
Look, the idea of doing exercises sounds kind of dumb, and it is sort of dumb. To get better at writing, the thing you have to do is write more and more. It can get a little tedious just writing spec after spec.
Here are some things I do to shake it up:
Write a logline: A logline is a one-sentence summary of your screenplay. Writing a logline forces you to clarify the main idea and conflict of your story. You can write dozens of them just to get your creative juices flowing.
Rewrite an existing movie scene: Pick a scene from a movie you love and rewrite it in your own style. This exercise will help you analyze what makes a scene work and how you can apply those principles to your own writing. You can even try to change the genre or stakes to see how it fits other places.
Write a short script: Writing a short script can be a good way to practice your skills without committing to a full-length screenplay. Focus on creating a complete story with a beginning, middle, and end.
Develop characters: Choose a character from one of your favorite movies and write a backstory for them. This exercise will help you understand how character motivations drive the story. you can make an ongoing document of characters you want to put in your stories.
Write in a different genre: If you usually write dramas, try writing a comedy. This exercise will help you stretch your writing muscles and develop new skills.
Use prompts: Look up screenwriting prompts online and use them to generate ideas for new stories. Chase a few kernels and see what that gets you.
Collaborate with others: Work with other writers to develop a screenplay together. This exercise will help you learn how to work in a team and receive feedback on your writing. It can be fun to work with someone else and to brainstorm together.
'Wonder Woman 1984'Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures
Summing Up These Screenwriting Exercises
In conclusion, practicing screenwriting exercises can help you become a better storyteller by improving your skills in character development, plot construction, and genre adaptation.
By writing loglines, rewriting existing scenes, developing characters, and collaborating with others, you can enhance your writing abilities and gain a deeper understanding of the screenwriting process. Remember, the more you practice, the more you improve.
So, keep honing your skills and exploring your creativity. With dedication and perseverance, you can become an accomplished screenwriter.