Action lines – back to basics.

Reading a short screenplay I wrote a few years ago, what’s holding it back is the way I’ve written its action lines. So, back to basics – an action line check list.

Part one, the English lesson:

  • Screenplays are written in present tense.
  • Try not to use as, while, are, then or is.
  • Avoid verbs ending in “ing“.
  • Use adverbs sparingly.

Part two, the content lesson:

  • Only write what you can see or hear.
  • Never give camera directions or write “we see…”.

Part three, the specific lesson:

  • Each action paragraph should be 3 lines or less.
  • Make each action line a single visual direction.

Any thoughts on part one and two or additions to part three, please pass them on!