Guest Author - Caroline Coleman
You might have already learnt all the techniques for writing a great screenplay. However, you will not get anywhere unless you have a story to present to to the audience. This is what you should focus your creative thinking and writing on first. Then, you can come up with the scenes and dialogues to bring your story to life.
In the core of every good story stands a conflict. You have to present two opposing forces that struggle against each other. Given this principle, you can come up with a more specific line of conflict. Maybe the two sides want one and the same thing or maybe they have to clash inevitably due to their opposing ways of thinking. Keep in mind that a good conflict is always a balanced one. You cannot give any of the sides an unfair advantage that will hint of the ending and make your audience bored.
One really important element to include in the story is the inner conflict of the protagonist. There must be an inner ghost or a wound that creates this sort of second level of opposition. This creates a much more dramatic effect and captivates audiences automatically. There are all sorts of inner conflicts that you can come up with. One of the simplest and most relevant concepts these days is the struggle between work and being with your family. This is just an example, but it illustrates the main idea.
In general, you have to focus a great part of your work for the screenplay on creating your characters. The audience not only has to like them or dislike them, but to love them or hate them passionately. Your protagonist does not have to be extraordinary, but to have a rare mixture of qualities. The villain should not be simply evil. May be they are going though an emotional struggle as well. May be they have a good heart, but something has happen to them.
The good story for a movie always has a hook. Simply put, this is something that will capture the attention of the audience and make them interested in the story before it has even begun. It might not be very easy for you to come up with a hook, but you can readily get inspiration from your favorite movies. You can readily ask yourself the question, �what if something happened�.
Last, but not least, you have to choose a genre for the story, which you will show. This is will increase the marketability of your screenplay.
For more great information on writing screenplays, I would highly recommend the following books: