So you want to be a script writer?

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Welcome to the Silm Film Project Script Writing Team! We welcome contributions from anyone who is interested in participating here. So, how do you get involved?

Everyone is welcome to participate here on the forums when episodes are discussed. We're currently in pre-production for Season 5, but once we get to the Episode Discussion part of the Season, we'll then be ready to begin the Script Discussions. Watch the Season 5 subforum for announcements from our script editor Nick Palazzo of when that will begin, but be aware that we are months away from starting Season 5 script discussions at this point.

But...there are still opportunities for script writing available right now!

Seasons 1-3 of Silm Film have been planned to the point of Episode Outlines, but with only a few exceptions, these episodes have not yet been turned into scripts. So, I would like to give everyone involved in the project the opportunity to 'claim' an episode, and try your hand at writing a script for it! At a minimum, it is expected that potential script writers would listen to the Silm Film Session discussing that episode to see what the Exec Team had planned or intended, and then to base the script on the Outline provided for that episode here in this forum. If possible, it would likely be a good idea to listen to the Script Discussion for that episode as well (be aware that such discussions are often about 4 hours long).

So, how does that work? Post here, laying claim to an episode. Your claim will last for a year and a day, and can be renewed if you are still working on the script for that episode. In other words - no deadline pressure! Create a script document using Google Docs, and (when you are ready to share) post it on the relevant episode's script discussion thread. You may share the link as 'read only,' or allow others to comment on your google doc, so that other people involved in the project can leave notes on your script. Try to follow standard screenplay format.

If you would like to take part, but don't want to start with an entire episode, feel free to collaborate with someone to be co-authors on a script!

Completed scripts that follow the guidelines of the project and the established episode outline will then be passed along from the Script Team to the Exec Team (Corey, Trish, and Dave) for review as Silm Film scripts at some point in the future!


I hope this is a way to allow people to get involved in Script Writing here without the pressure of a deadline, and I hope that (eventually) we will have completed scripts for all episodes of the Silmarillion Film Project!

MASTERLIST

Season 1 - Note that these episodes may be less well defined than later seasons, and may require more planning work on the part of the script-writer.

Episode 1: Claimed by Nick Palazzo (May 3, 2020)
Episode 2: Claimed by Rhiannon Cire, with collaboration from Octoburn (May 6, 2020)
Episode 3:
Episode 4:
Episode 5:
Episode 6: Claimed by Håkan Walles (May 5, 2020)
Episode 7:
Episode 8:
Episode 9:
Episode 10:
Episode 11:
Episode 12:
Episode 13:

Season 2

Episode 1:
Episode 2:
Episode 3:
Episode 4:
Episode 5:
Episode 6:
Episode 7:
Episode 8:
Episode 9:
Episode 10:
Episode 11: Claimed by Marie Prosser (May 3, 2020)
Episode 12:
Episode 13:

Season 3

Episode 1: Claimed by MJ Blue, with collaboration from Nick Palazzo and Rhiannon Cire (May 6, 2020)
Episode 2:
Episode 3:
Episode 4:
Episode 5:
Episode 6:
Episode 7:
Episode 8:
Episode 9:
Episode 10:
Episode 11:
Episode 12: Claimed by Etholod and MithLuin [Marie Prosser] (May 5, 2020)
Episode 13:

Updated: May 5, 2020 (with 'claims' based on people announcing that they are working on a script somewhere on the boards - for all future claims, please post in this thread!)

Once the script is completed, this list will be updated to reflect that. Claims expire one year and one day after placed. Claims may be renewed. If an expired claim has not been renewed, the episode will become available for someone else to claim.
 
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MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Relevant Links

Season 1: PDF's of the Script Outlines from Season 1 (Currently contains only Episodes 1-7)

Season 2: Links to all relevant discussions for each episode, with Episode Outline linked. (Currently only covers Episodes 1-6)

Season 3: Links to Script Outlines for all 13 episodes in the first 2 posts!
 
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MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
And here is a 'getting started' post on writing screenplays from Atanvarno that I would like to share with everyone!

Atanvarno said:
Screenwriting is easy.

There's six kinds of text in a screenplay:
  1. Scene heading (or slugline)
  2. Action
  3. Character cue
  4. Dialogue
  5. Transition
  6. Paranthetical
Sluglines are in CAPS and start with INT. or EXT. (interior or exterior), then they say where the scene happens, then a dash followed by time of day (to establish lighting) or a more general time hint (CONTINUOUS, MOMENTS LATER, NEXT DAY, etc)

Code:
EXT. LOTHLÓRIEN - DAY

INT. ELROND'S HOUSE - LATER
Flashbacks, dream sequences, montages, etc. can be recorded in the slugline.

Code:
FLASHBACK. EXT. CARADHRAS PASS - DAY
For our purposes, rather than label everything outside of the frame as a flashback, it is useful to put in the slugline which plot the scene is part of.

Code:
EXT. THIRD AGE. LOTHLÓRIEN - DAY
Action is the catch-all. It describes whatever is on the screen, in the soundtrack that isn't dialogue. The important thing is to keep it in the present active tense. When a character is first introduced in action text their name is in CAPS, normal thereafter.

Character Cues introduce dialogue with the character's name in CAPS. These are indented. The name can be followed by "(V.O.)" for voice overs, "(O.S.)" for off screen (if the character is physically present, but not shown -- behind someone else or on the other end of a phone). If a single character's dialogue is broken up by action text, it was traditional to mark continuations with "(CONT.)"; that is largely redundant so is falling out of favor.

Dialogue is what it sounds like. It's indented both left and right (less than the cue). It's always introduced by a character cue.

Transitions are in CAPS, always followed by a colon and right aligned. These are technical notes of how to get between scenes. The standard way is CUT TO:. Since this is so frequent as to be redundant, it's omitted (so a slugline is understood to always have a CUT TO: before it, unless there's a different transition).

There's a few notable exceptions -- the first transition before the first slugline is FADE IN:, likewise at the top of TV episode acts. Again, this is so common that it is redundant, so I omit it. At the end of an TV act, you typically use FADE OUT:, but it's not general enough that it can be omitted. SMASH CUT:, CUT TO:, SLOW FADE: all have their place at the end of an act.

Parentheticals go between a character cue and dialogue and relay extra information about the dialogue. Since most actors are training to not read parentheticals, their use should be avoided where possible. Most of what you want to put in a parenthetical can be put into action text. The one common actor direction is to clearly mark sarcasm. The other use is for technical information, commonly subtitles.

In TV writing there is a seventh kind of text. This starts and ends acts. It is in CAPS and is underlined. The only ones that should be used in a TV script are:
Code:
TEASER
TITLES
ACT [NUMBER]
END OF ACT [NUMBER]
DÉNOUEMENT
CREDITS
A page break goes before the start of an act/dénouement.

That's all there is to it.

Screenwriting software is available which takes care of the formatting. The professional quality ones cost a lot, though. I advocate saving money and using Fountain markup in a plain text file to write with. You can then use a free tool to see how it will look and non professional quality software to make a PDF.

With all that in mind, here's something in Fountain:

Code:
>_TEASER_<

EXT. THIRD AGE. LOTHLÓRIEN - DAY

From high up, the woods of Lothlórien are golden and beautiful.

ARWEN, sad and troubled, stands on a high flet. She looks out to the darkness of southern Mirkwood and Dol Guldor in the distance.

She shifts her gaze west to the Misty Mountains.

.FLASHBACK. EXT. THIRD AGE. CARADHRAS PASS - DAY

CELEBRÍAN and a party of other elves from Imladris work their way through the steep and sheer pass.

A bestial cry. Orcs descend on Celebrían's party in a sudden ambush.

Surprised, the elves are not able to form up and the orcs get into the midst of them.

The orcs and elves fight and several elves fall.

Seeing their victory, the orcs subdue Celebrían and the remaining survivors. They drag the unconcious elves away.

>FADE BACK:

Arwen's eyes are full of sorrow, mourning for her mother. From behind, CELEBORN approaches her.

CELEBORN
There you are!

He looks and follows Arwen's gaze.

CELEBORN
You've chosen a beautiful spot.

Arwen masters her grief and turns to Celeborn.

ARWEN
Grandfather.

CELEBORN
You have been quiet lately.

ARWEN
I have felt the need to be alone more often these days.

CELEBORN
What is troubling you?

Arwen gestures to Dol Goldur.

ARWEN
The shadow is difficult to escape lately.

Celeborn sighs and nods.

CELEBORN
The shadow has always been with us, since the beginning.

ARWEN
You make it sound as though there is nothing to be done!

Celeborn smiles.

CELEBORN
It may seem that way at times. I mean that we have always had to contend with it. There is no elf who ever lived who was able to avoid facing the darkness.

ARWEN
I know. I know this darkness is nothing new. But... it seems more urgent now. And I miss my mother's guidance.

CELEBORN
It was always urgent. Even in the beginning of days, on the shores of Cuiviénen.

Arwen gives him a doubtful look.

ARWEN
But there were no orcs in those days. I remember the stories my mother told me when I was young, about the elves awakening for the first time on the shores of the lake and seeing the starlight mirrored in the waters there. I always imagined it a place of beauty.

CELEBORN
And so it was, but we also had fears and dangers to face in those days...

EXT. FIRST AGE. FOREST OF CUIVIÉNEN - STARLIGHT

The starlit forest near the shores of Cuiviénen is idyllic. A gentle wind and the background sounds of nature. In a clearing, young CELEBORN lays on his back, languid.

ELWË bursts out of the tree line, running for his life in panic. He sees Celeborn on the ground in his path and swerves to avoid him. Elwë shouts out a warning.

ELWË
(Primitive Elvish, no subtitles.)
Ā-roktā!

[[Note: **rohta** is modern Quenya for "to run". This comes from the root **ROK**. The verbal ending **-ta** comes from the primitive **-tā**. So the Primitive Elvish verb "to run" was certainly **roktā**. Primitive Elvish used a particle, **ā**, to mark the imperative. Its placement is variable, so to avoid **roktā-ā**, which would probably collapse to just **roktā**, the particle goes in front. It's impossible to know with any degree of certainty, but I would place the stress on the o.]]

CUT TO:

>_TITLES_<

===
Copy and paste that into a .txt file and use the tool linked above, and that's all you need for screenwriting.
The major issue (and it's one I still have to catch myself with) is to always, always use the present active tense, which can be quite the transition when you're used to writing with the past tense.

The other thing to be aware of, but it also applies as general good fiction writing, is to keep action descriptions as sparse as possible. Dialogue follows the same rule but more so - it should have more in common with haiku (in terms of length) than naturalistic speech.

Also, a good rule of thumb is no more than four lines of action should be together without being broken up with dialogue. Likewise, back and forth dialogue should be broken up with lines of action.
 
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Rhiannon

Well-Known Member
I would like to claim Episodes 1, 2, 8, 9, 10, and 11 from Season 3.

After I finish the Episode 2 script, I plan to continue working my way through Season 1. I won't claim any of the other episodes in that season until I actually start scripts for them. If anyone is interested, I would love a co-writer for Season 1.

Also, if anyone wants any specific script-writing advice, feel free to post your questions or send me a private message.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Rhiannon, I have you down for Season 1, Episode 2!

Maybe it would be best if you claim one episode at a time? From your post, you seem eager to work on much of our backlog, which is great! And certainly, as you move on to a new episode you can claim that as well. But if you aren't planning to work on 18 episodes at once (which I would not recommend!), then it's probably not a good idea to claim them all right now.
 

Octoburn

Active Member
If anyone is interested, I would love a co-writer for Season 1.
I may have to take you up on that! I was going to try to write a script for a 2-hour combined episode of 1&2 (because I honestly had a hard time getting behind Episode 1 by itself) but this little announcement seems to have nixed that idea. I do find myself with less and less time for "side" writing projects like this, because of my day job as well as attempting to resuscitate a floundering writing career. But, if you'd like to attempt collaborating, let me know when and how you'd like to get started. :D
 

Rhiannon

Well-Known Member
I may have to take you up on that! I was going to try to write a script for a 2-hour combined episode of 1&2 (because I honestly had a hard time getting behind Episode 1 by itself) but this little announcement seems to have nixed that idea. I do find myself with less and less time for "side" writing projects like this, because of my day job as well as attempting to resuscitate a floundering writing career. But, if you'd like to attempt collaborating, let me know when and how you'd like to get started. :D
Awesome! I'll get in touch with you.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
I may have to take you up on that! I was going to try to write a script for a 2-hour combined episode of 1&2 (because I honestly had a hard time getting behind Episode 1 by itself) but this little announcement seems to have nixed that idea. I do find myself with less and less time for "side" writing projects like this, because of my day job as well as attempting to resuscitate a floundering writing career. But, if you'd like to attempt collaborating, let me know when and how you'd like to get started. :D
Sorry :). The Episode 1 script is hardly complete, but it is extant to some degree. I just haven't had time to play with it much since I wrote several years ago.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
I'd love to take part, however, I don't feel I have the prowess and/or capability to be able to do so, That being said, I would love to collaborate with someone on the season 3 scripts, particularly the later episodes. I'd love to help in any way possible.

Thanks

-Etholod
Would you have any interest in Episode 12 of Season 3? I would be happy to collaborate with you on that one, if you like!
 

MJ Blue

New Member
Greetings, everyone. I suppose this is as good a first post as any. Like @Etholod, I'd love to get involved, but I'm not confident I have the skill to tackle an entire episode by myself, so I'd love to collaborate with someone on an episode - preferably one from season 2 or 3, but I'll take anything!
Thanks!
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
Greetings, everyone. I suppose this is as good a first post as any. Like @Etholod, I'd love to get involved, but I'm not confident I have the skill to tackle an entire episode by myself, so I'd love to collaborate with someone on an episode - preferably one from season 2 or 3, but I'll take anything!
Thanks!
I'm pretty short on time, but if you pick one out and share a Google Doc with me, I can leave comments to offer some guidance as you go. Will that help?
 

Rhiannon

Well-Known Member
So... I've already started on Episode 1 of Season 3. I'm not very far along in it yet, so I'd be happy to join the collaboration and share what I have so far.
 
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