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WHAT IS A MOVIE SCREENPLAY? Explained in Simple Words

Updated: Jan 5, 2020

I. What is the script/ screenplay: - It’s a written work for films, television. A script is a document that outlines every visual, behavioral and lingual element required to tell a story. Because the film is a highly collaborative medium and the directors, actors, technical team and production team, based on the outline of the story they interpret the story in their way when it is made.

II. It is important to remember that the film is a visual medium. Normally we don’t tell a story to the audience, we write ‘Screenplay Visually’. The screenplay is written about what the audience will see and what they will hear. The major aspect of screenplay writing is discipline, how you show character on the screen. So while writing we should write down pictures, speeches, and sounds, rest should be left on the filmmakers. The script is like a blue point of the building. If the plan is not proper, the building may fall. Similar way the script act while film making.


a) To attract and hold somebody’s attention and emotion.

b) Character building.

c) Curiosity and creating hold in the story.


SCRIPT: - Script starts with an idea for example - We want to prepare a recipe and we add on all the required ingredients to make it tasty and finally enjoy the food that we have made. Similar way, the idea means story ideas, to get an idea individuals need to have various experiences, imaginations or listen to various issues & stories in the surrounding from where he can pick the idea of script/screenplay.


a) Character: - we need to build a strong character.

b) Problem: - Character struggle to get what he wants to achieve.

c) Goal: - Finally his goal, what he wants.


a) Character: - Amarendra Bahubali.

b) Problem: - Trying to find his identity.

c) Goal: - To get back on the throne from where his enemy destroyed him ones and his family.

Example 2:- MOVIE DANGAL

a) Character: - A wrestler failed to win gold for his country

b) Problem: - Having all female children, need to have a boy to fulfill his dream.

c) Goal: - Making his daughter ready to compete in a wrestling competition to win gold for the country.


One day one of the Nitesh's friends called him up from abroad to hang on and discuss the content he was having. His friend showed him the paper article where two sisters winning gold for the nation. Nitesh was so excited and decided to research and write the story on the idea. Initially, both the friends and team visited the native place of the girls in Haryana, where they interacted and interviewed both the girls. Nitesh found that both the girls praising his father in every sentence “PAPA NE KIYA- PAPA NE KIYA”. After reaching Mumbai he thought father is the lead character in the story and life of the girls. Then they started writing on there, it took near about 4 years to complete and finally planned to approach Aamir Khan for the lead role. Aamir Khan listened to the narrations and told the story is good with emotions. But his reply was “right now I can’t do as I have to complete Dhoom-3, 3 Idiots and P.K. Sudden change to father character is difficult at present” and advised that it’s a risk to make a film on such topics. After one year Aamir Khan called Nitesh in Delhi, already Aamir Khan had taken 16 hrs flight from Alley and didn’t slept for the past two days. Nitesh requests him to take rest, will narrate the script later on. Aamir told me that I sleep while narration will not make this movie. Aamir khan not even took a break and listen to the narration for about 4 hrs continuously and with tears in his eyes due to father and daughter relation. Then the movie was on pre-production in the next 3 months.


Script is like gold. If your story clicks then it will earn for you and your filmmakers. Script length average features between 95-125 pates. Hollywood script these days run on longer than 114 pages. Normally comedy script is typically shorter, dramas are longer.


1) Scene Heading

2) Action

3) Character Name

4) Dialogue

5) Parenthetical

6) Extension

7) Transition

8) Shot


Normally 5 minutes are required to pitch the story. However, due to lack of time and appointment one-liner can help. Once it is properly stated, then complete screenplay is imagined.

FACT / STORY:- During 70’s Salim- Javed were the writer duo with their formula. After working with both Ramesh Sippy in “Sita Aur Geeta” wanted to make India's biggest ever movie. Again he approached Salim-Javed with condition that Amitabh Bachchan to be the part of the story, had already a ready script later made “MAJBOOK” by Raveena Tondon's father Ravi Tondon was a hit but Ramesh Sippy was not interested could not see the bigger character. Later writer duo narrated a one liner story “(Retd. Police officer, whose family was killed and his hands were cut by the dacoit. To take revenge he hired two pity criminals. Ramesh Sippy imagined the whole scene and created 6 characters out of his imagination and advice to write the complete script & screenplay on this idea. Already many such experiments were made earlier. But “SHOLAY” found to be a BLOCKBUSTER HIT movie for the decade.

Written by

Imran Deshnoor,

Script Writer and Cinematographer,

Deshnoor Entertainment Owner.

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