The Screenplay Part 3: Highway to Highway, Water to Water

Things I have learnt about the planning process

  • Have Coffee on tap
  • Have some epic music playing to keep you focused
  • Having a film playing WILL distract me
  • I have to be patient, I haven’t written much on the actual planning of my script, rather notes being made how I can plan it successfully



During my latest part of the planning stage, I have been learning about “The passive Active”. This is when the main character becomes lost among the action and stronger supporting characters. Is William acting or reacting to the action of my story? Does he initiate action? Is the action revealing who my character is?

These are all interesting questions I would have to keep in mind when planning out my story. Finding the right medium between clarity and confusion, making his actions and dialogue to subtle or to convoluted would damage Williams’s character and ultimately damage my story.

Perhaps the most interesting bit of reading I have done is the beginnings and ending chapter. How do I open my screenplay? I know now that I have to grab the reader’s attention in 10 minutes (10 pages). In this opening act I should establish:

  • Who is William
  • What is the dramatic premise
  • What is the dramatic situation

I also have found that to know my start, I must KNOW MY END. You don’t throw a bunch of random ingredients into something in order to make a meal; you must first know what you are making.

Think of all those films that end how they start, an image, an idea, perhaps even the exact situation the character was in at the beginning.



My ending will be born from the resolution of the film. Does William die at the end? Are all the problems solved in the resolution?

“It is the resolution that contains the seed of the ending, and if planted and nurtured correctly, it can bloom into a fully fledged dramatic ending”

I am about a third of the way through Syd Fields book, I have made many notes and yet I still have not begun the planning of my actual screenplay. I am still aching to map out the blueprints of my story, write character biographies for the characters that will populate my screenplay. I already have some ideas that seem to want to stick around in my head. Mainly the main plot point of the film and that I should open how I mean to end, maybe with a simple image. Open with a Highway, close with some crossroads, open with a small stream, close with a sprawling ocean…


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