How To Start A Screenplay by Shannan E. Johnson

Film Courage: How should a writer start a screenplay?

Writer/Instructor and Script Consultant Shannan E. Johnson (The Professional Pen): There are several different ways you can start a screenplay. A lot of that goes back to whatever your idea is that’s probably the thing that is going to come to you first. But you should definitely then try to figure out what all the rest of those elements are. Figuring out what the world is, knowing what the tone is. A lot of people may not think about tone but tone matters. Tone is that feeling that makes it different from slapstick comedy, regular comedy, romantic comedy, into kind of a comedic drama that is now more regular drama that ends up now this gritty, thriller thing. It’s kind of like the nuance between the genres, what that tone is.

Then knowing who your characters are, knowing who is going to go on this journey, figuring out why we should care about them, figuring out how we are going to relate to them and relating to them doesn’t have to mean…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).






About Shannan:

After grad school I became a junior creative executive at NBCUniversal at the Syfy Channel. I was there for the rebrand. Remember Sci Fi? Yeah, not really. Anywho, it was my job to help writers and producers take their ideas from pitch to production. I co-exec’d on Alphas, Being Human, Haven, Sanctuary, Warehouse 13, and more Syfy dramedies. This is how I honed my skill in all stages of the screenwriting process…(read more here).


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