All screenplays on the simplyscripts.com and simplyscripts.net domain are copyrighted to their respective authors. All rights reserved. This screenplaymay not be used or reproduced for any purpose including educational purposes without the expressed written permission of the author.
I am very interested in learning how to write scripts for TV shows, especially family shows. I actually have a writing degree, but I never learned how to do script writing because the school I went to didn't offer it. If anybody has some tips for me to help me get started, I'd really appreciate it. Thanks!
My first tips would be to read and write as much as you can (and get the proper software)
Read both pro and spec scripts, read texts on scriptwriting, read blogs and watch vlogs.
Proper software does most of the heavy lifting for you in terms of format (margins and the like). Once you have that then go crazy and write some scripts, then you can post them and hopefully get some free reviews. (Reviews can seem brutal at first, but once you learn to emotionally distance yourself from your work you soon realize that criticism isn't personal and is only given to help - even if you disagree with it)
Personally, I found it easier to start with short screenplays before moving onto features or pilots - but that's up to you.
Writing for TV is something I’ve never considered myself, so kudos for wanting to go that path. A quick ‘tidbit’ to get you started:
If you’re writing comedy, then be sure to end all scene transitions with a joke, NOT ‘two nuns walk into a bar’ type joke, just something funny or absurd to tie up the scene… all scenes. Watch ‘Family Guy’, they do this well.
If you’re writing drama, then end all scenes with tension.
If you’re writing horror, then end all scenes with something emotionally or physically disturbing, just make the viewer’s skin crawl.
If you’re writing ‘Political Theater’, then be absolutely sure to end all scenes with two monkeys slapping each other with their own feces… or eating bananas. Hope this helps, best of luck.
Thanks for the replies! I am particularly interested in writing scripts for family shows. I remember some of the great family sitcoms of the 90s,like Full House, Family Matters, etc., and there's also been some shows I've watched on the Disney Channel that I like, too. I am especially interested in writing for Disney someday. I've watched a LOT of these sitcoms, so I have some idea of how shows are supposed to go, and find myself analyzing them on a regular basis. I also enjoy watching old family dramas like Little House on the Prairie, the Waltons, stuff along those lines. I feel like we could use more family-friendly shows these days, and since I enjoy watching all these kind of shows so much, I think I would enjoy writing them just as well!
The Simply Scripts TV Scripts and Teleplays Page link is below. ! ... For what's new on the site or click on a letter under "TV Scripts by letter". Scripts are listed by the first noun in the title. - Enjoy! (paraphrasing from Don - Admin)
I'd highly recommend starting with the very basics. My suggestion would be for you to read "The Screenwriter's Bible" by David Trottier.
I regularly reference that book for formatting questions, but it's also an excellent introduction to the mindset behind screenwriting.
This is a very specific skillset that takes time to develop. There's a logic to it that needs to be learned, and once you get the mechanics down, you let the creativity take over. Mechanics/mindset first, creativity second.
Like every art, there are techniques to learn. Don't skip that step.
Mostly, just write and get feedback. As mentioned above, there is a skill to receiving notes. You have to learn to get past the pain of it in order to continue growing as a writer. This is an excellent site for helping learn to that skill. Just know: the first time you get notes, it's gonna hurt. Bad. But, you HAVE to learn to take criticism/notes. If you can't take notes, you literally can't make it as a writer. (Maybe 1 in a million could, but we're all looking for better odds than that.)
Good luck and look forward to reading some of your scripts.
60 Feet Under - Low budget, contained thriller/Feature The Hand of God - Low budget, semi-contained thriller/Feature
Many shorts available for production: comedy, thriller, drama, light horror
Welcome Jody -- one thing I would suggest before going off and buying screenwriting software life Final Draft or Movie Magic Screenwriter, you might look at a free software program, like CeltX or StudioBinder or Writer Duet. You'll learn screenplay formatting much more quickly with one of those and can focus more on story and dialogue.
Also this is a very helpful group. We're happy to answer any questions you have and help guide you along during your screenwriting journey.
ONE VERY IMPORTANT THING TO UNDERSTAND (I think it's the most important thing): Do not take criticism of any of your writing as criticism of you personally. Some people on here are better at providing feedback than others, but most everyone is focused on helping you get better as a writer.
I would also start small -- try some short scripts to get your feet wet before venturing into features. Just helps you to not lose your desire and ambition to continue writing. Good luck!