iUniverse presents Tips for Screenwriting — Part 4

iUniverse has thus far brought you three installments on screenwriting. We have focused on the structure and process of writing a screenplay, though today the focus will be on some of the broader concerns involved in writing a screenplay. These are aspects that are of great importance when movie producers look at your script.


Pirates of the Caribbean is the most expensive franchise in film history, with “On Stranger Tides” costing nearly $400 million!

One major difference between writing a movie and writing a screenplay is cost. A novel is not necessarily meant to be made in a film, and the costs of settings, actors, and special effects are not an issue. However, in screenwriting, the opposite is true: everything that will be on the Big Screen will have a cost.

The word “budget” is one that screenwriters will hear constantly from producers, so it is best to keep this in mind when writing. Below, iUniverse offers tips on how to keep your story lean on costs and hence more attractive to movie houses.

Location: Any location that requires transportation and hotel rooms for an entire film crew and cast will be a sizeable expense, and you will be surprised at how expensive it can be to film in your own city or town. Our suggestion is to use locations that will have free access as much as possible. These include most public areas, though there will be paperwork and some restrictions.

Actors: Avoid the temptation to make a certain role dependent on one actor. It is extremely difficult for a studio to get a specific person at a given time. One further note is to minimize your use of child actors, as there tend to be huge scheduling conflicts with school and private tutoring, as well as all types of legal paperwork.

Weather: Weather is unpredictable and also difficult and costly to manufacture. Try your best to not make it a feature of the story or even a reference. “Cold” and “hot” are easier than snow and rain!

iUniverse always enjoys the opportunity to help future screenwriters improve their craft. Do keep in mind the importance of budgets to film houses at present, and there will be a better chance for your script to be well received.

Can you think of any other concerns when planning a movie?

Make sure to check out the iUniverse site for more advice and blogs, as well as iUniverse Facebook and iUniverse Twitter.

Do you have a topic in mind?

The iUniverse Blog encourages discussion between iUniverse authors and is designed as a platform for you to let us know about your book’s success, your book events and other news you think will be of interest to your fellow writers. iUniverse authors are invited to participate in the iUniverse Blog as guest bloggers. Please contact us if you would like to be an iUniverse guest blogger.

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