12 tips for the young scriptwriter

  1. Plan! Start with an idea you’ve always wanted to explore/have questions about.
  2. Build a strong concept through reading about your idea, interviewing people, talking to a mentor about it.
  3. Do more research based on the different perspectives you have encountered in your planning, read plays that speak to your concept.
  4. Identify themes that could feature in the story you want to tell.
  5. Identify characters stating the reason for their existence in the story (motivations and objectives).
  6. Draw up character biographies adding more layers to your characters (these layers could differ depending on the style of writing).
  7. Identify actions and events that will set up conflicts of actions and conflicting objectives and motivations between characters (these actions will turn into your scenes). Use VERBS!
  8. Identify possible scenes to be explored where the actions and conflicts identified above can be further developed.
  9. Identify a structure of scenes. Remember you need the following basics: introduction/exposition; motoric moment/beginning of action; development of crises/rising action; climax/turning point; denouement/resolution.
  10. Write the first draft based on the structure of #9.
  11. Read it over twice and make alterations if necessary. Add the missing links and do more research of there are big gaps. (It may be of value to find a peer to proof read your script once you are satisfied with the draft. If money is tight, ask a friend to read and guage their understanding – after all they are the ones who will eventually watch your work. If neither of the above are possible options, put the play down for a week and then pick it up and proof read it yourself.)
  12. Once you are satisfied with the notes you’ve received or made, you can finally pen your first final draft and look for a director/producer to stage the work or a publisher to work towards your manuscript.

    Further reading: Aristotle and Stanislavski’s theories of play composition. Kesler’s model dramaturgy. Suggestions welcome. Let’s write better plays!

    (P.S. These are suggestions, not to be taken as hard truths. Do your own research and share the knowledge you amass.)

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    Trevor Hall – The Lion’s Mane

    I woke up in the lion’s mane/Kissing silhouettes of mountains dancing in the moonlight/Am I awake or is this a dream?/Or am I awaking into a state of wakefulness buried deep in my deepest dreaming sleep?/You can almost guess what happened next/I swallowed an Apple seed and gave birth to Angel wings which lifted me to the top of this orange grove/Where I saw a man trying to count all the oranges/And all the trees/And all the leaves/Turns out this man was me

    Losing count and starting over/Losing count and starting over/Chasing my own tail until I got dizzy and fell asleep in the clouds

    I woke up in the lion’s mane/On a single lane rolled deep within God’s dreadlocks/Where I gave my banana to the blind man only to realize who was really blind/My eyes couldn’t decide/My eyes couldn’t divide/My eyes couldn’t see that this blind man was me/We then continued to a village of meeting rivers where mother earth washed me down and gave me a new sight where my soul was restored/And I could see all the gens hiding on the oceans floor/Well I dove in there/I actually did a cannonball/And swam deeper and deeper/As things got clearer and clearer/And when I saw the sharks I wasn’t afraid/For this time enshrined in my heart was the almighty’s name/I think my sanity has gone insane/I woke up in the lion’s mane//

    A bridge to my island 

    I’ve burnt every single bridge I ever tried to build/ alone stuck on an island condemned by all of my arson/ Ironic, that the one that feels the burn is always me/ it seems the bridges break before they even start to mean/ anything to the desired destination that they seek/

    Longer and longer still go up in flames c’est last vie/ you’d swear it’s just a hobby for me cos i never learn/ the lessons stretching out to leave this vast expanse of land/ reminding all the seas below that we’re just dry as sand/ surrounding us from all sides making claims that we all safe/ but when the fire starts the reality is soon revealed/ burning piles of mortar martyred right above ocean/ without even a bucket to scoop and trigger our salvation/ another bridge is burnt without the slightest hesitation/ 

    And very soon this island won’t be able to connect/ to any civilization promising escape from my prison/ island turns to raft slowly drifting the horizon/ very soon, like the Sun, the raft will slowly disappear//

    What was cooked first: the drumstick or the egg?

    We saved you from yourselves. What did you expect after all the work we did? Did you think we we’re just going to pack up and leave? Leave all that hard work behind? You say you built this country but who provided the plans? The organization? The incentivization? We did. We taught you how to make the most of your land and now you would have us leave. Now that you’re civilized you want us to go? Give us our ships, money, contracts, title deeds and mirrors back and you have a deal. Every single one of you that has benefitted from our so called intrusion give back what you learned and the fruits thereof. It’s impossible you see. The land has already accepted us here, we would be rejected in our homes if we returned from whence we came. Let us rather live and let live. The way we see it it’s like the old chicken and egg argument. It doesn’t matter who was first, what matters is that on the breakfast plate there’s an egg and a drumstick.

    Passive Activism or Active Pacifism…

    We live in an age where we have substituted activist for pacifist. Black pride lives no longer than a has-been reaction to an over the top flare up of honesty. Our pacifism turns into cyber activism as we spew revolution from a touch screen, tapping away at our frustrations as the black letters smudge the screen to our satisfaction. Self pacification.

    Black wall street built and destroyed in less than a generation. We were happy just as long as Columbus gave us some sort of commendation. Suffice to say it is our blood that has built the longest lasting civilizations, it seems we are the only ones to keep our humanity on concrete foundation. Human to everyone but our own. Go out of our way to hide the fine China from rowdy family but when the pastor comes over, it’s woooh Lord. All wealth breaks loose.

    We will go to great lengths to make sure the enemy thinks we are doing alright despite the bitter taste of their passive aggression. Instead of demanding our own table, we will make our children eat with the dogs and make our enemies feel at home in our dominion.

    Activists have done away with traditional values of helping people by any means necessary. The remedy now is a quick and painless solution. Pacify the situation. Neutralize and sterilize the incumbent revolution. The number of likes you get is congruent with your level of validation.