8 Types of Scripts Every Nollywood Screenwriter Needs To Know

The script is the livewire of any movie. Good movies, in fact, begin from the scripting level. This is why script writing is a very lucrative job in any movie industry. Script writing is one of the first steps for creating a video project. A script is very essential whether a video project is a feature length motion picture, a short training video or even an account of a family vacation. It is the road map of a movie. A script is a document that describes the video, which includes descriptions of the various shots and any dialogue/voice overs. To become a good script writer or to pursue a career in script writing you need to know the kinds of scripts that exist, apart from the usual ones – raw and shooting script.

Screenwriters are always advised to have two key types of screenplays in their arsenal. Spec scripts and original screenplays. Apart from spec and original scripts, there are other kinds of script you should be aware of as a professional script writer. Here are 8 types of scripts that every self-respecting scriptwriter needs to know, as written by Gideon Sarantinos and posted on SCRIPTFIRM.

 

1) ORIGINAL SCRIPT

This refers to any screenplay that is wholly born from a writer’s original idea. It is not based on any underlying work.

2) SPEC SCRIPT

The term “Spec” stands for “speculation.” This is a kind of script written in the hope that the writer might either sell that script or impress someone enough to get a paying job. A spec script is written to show off your writing skill in the area of screenplay writing. You do this to attract attention to your talent as a scriptwriter. The spec script is written without pay in the hopes of securing a paid writing assignment or getting employed as a staffed writer on a TV show.

These are scripts based on existing properties such as a film franchise or TV series. Spec TV scripts are vital to ensure that writers can adequately capture the tone, voice and characters of a particular TV show or a movie franchise.

The remaining categories refer to spec scripts too:

3) OFF BOOK SCRIPT

This type of script is for screenwriters who want to get a little more daring and show off their individual flair. It is a slight deviation from the established format of the show. It will probably get you noticed, but it will never be produced. For instance, imagine if Ray Donovan (Showtime) went to church (to pray) or Bojack Horseman (Netflix) went to an AA meeting. These scenarios are possible, although unlikely.

4) STUNT SCRIPT

Gideon Sarantinos says this is a high risk, outlandish attempt at getting noticed as a screenwriter. It’s gimmicky and deliberately breaks all the screenwriting rules. If you’re writing a TV spec script, do everything you’re not supposed to such as writing a script for a cancelled show, being boorish, and generally writing a script that is so off the wall, it will get you noticed. Following on from the previous examples, a stunt script for Ray Donavan might be an episode of Ray becoming a born again Christian or Bojack Horseman volunteering in an orphanage.

5) ON THE BUBBLE SCRIPT

This is generally a TV term used to define a show awaiting its renewing fate. It can refer to mature TV series that have been running for several years or a newer show that has failed to gain the required traction. Screenwriters are generally advised to avoid writing these scripts even if they are of high quality. They may suggest you that you either don’t know the current TV landscape or you haven’t written a spec script for a few years.

6) CANON SCRIPT

A canon is a group of texts considered an authority on a subject. It is derived from the Greek word for rule. In the screenwriting terms, canon scripts refer to typical or the best scripts in a genre.

7) STANDALONE SCRIPT

This is better described as a backup script. The standalone script is a feature of series/ serialized TV, sometimes called a reserve or backup script. it captures the mood, tone, feel and voice of the show, but it doesn’t follow the established story trajectory. Standalone scripts are essentially emergency scripts that are produced when there is an issue with the main script such as scripts not being turned in on time, production problems, a last minute rewrite, the producer changes their mind on the story or they simply don’t like the current script.

8) PITCH SCRIPT

This is another very interesting kind of script you should learn how to write. First of all, what does ‘pitch’ mean in filmmaking? A pitch script is a concise verbal (and sometimes visual) presentation of an idea for a film or TV series which a screenwriter or film director makes to a film producer or studio executive with the primary aim of attracting development finance to pay for the writing of the screenplay. So the pitch script is written to present a movie idea to a producer so the producer can then pay for the development of the pitch into a full script, if the pitch idea is interesting. The pitch script helps producers decide on a story direction and a screenwriter. The pitch script may not be a completed script at all. It could be outlines, treatments or synopses. The fact is that the content has to be interesting enough to convince a producer to pay the script writer to develop the pitch script into a complete movie script.

Finally!

The script ideas presented above by Gideon Sarantinos play various roles as explained in the writeup. Every script writer, in Nollywood, Hollywood, Bollywood or any other movie industry should know how to write these scripts to increase their chances of excelling in the screenwriting profession.

(Material sourced from SCRIPTFIRM)

The Author

Chinenye Nwabueze

Nwabueze is a communication researcher with several years of lecturing experience in Nigerian universities.

1 Comment

Add a Comment
  1. Interesting topic and concise explanations. I am well interested in the topic because I just tarted newly as a movie and documentary maker.I would want this kind of discussion always. Thank you Prof. Nwabueze

Leave a Reply to Obasi Aloy Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *