How To Start A Screenplay by Chapman University Professor Paul Joseph Gulino

Film Courage: When a student does begin a screenplay, how should they start?

Paul Joseph Gulino, Associate Professor at Chapman University Dodge College of Film and Media Arts: How should they start? I can tell you how I start because they will have their own approaches. If they are beginning a screenplay, if they have a treatment already then obviously they should just pour it on the page. What do they see? Hallucinate, what is it? Set aside the critical element. Is it this or is it accomplishing this tool or that? Follow this and hallucinate what is happening. Imagine what it is and write it down. That is how they begin.

When I am writing a draft of a script I don’t format it in any way, it’s just the dialogue. Just a long list of the dialogue just so it will keep flowing and if it is not and the key is to make it feel like it’s fully alive. And people don’t live with properly formatted dialogue, things just flow.

So when they are just starting out, it’s just…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).


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