comment 0

What Are the Essential Elements That Make Screenplay Work?

Having time to develop your story is a blessing, especially when you are driven by inspiration and the urge to tell the story in the purest of its form.

Aslong as you can stay connected to that need, don’t overanalyse your story; it might work to your disadvantage. Let the writing flow.

However, when you become stuck or get to the point when you know that something isn’t working and have difficulties identifying where the problem is, it’s time for you to check if all the screenplay’s dramatic elements work together in your story.

Photo by Lukas Blazek on Unsplash

Follow the checklist of questions below to see if the dramatic elements are congruent:

  1. Who is your main character? Is your main character consistent in their actions? Is your main character interesting enough for your audience to become emotionally involved in their story? (I always think about the blogs I read and follow. I’m interested in those blogs because I’ve been able to connect to the person on the other side of the blog, and this is what you need from your audience, the ability to see themselves in your character’s shoes.)
  2. What are the stakes in your story? Does your audience care about the character’s goals? How did you portray/depict the goals? (If the audience doesn’t care about the characters goals, it means that the goals aren’t convincing enough.)
  3. What are the risks your character has to take? Are the risks high enough? Is it even worth it? (The risk the character needs to take to reach their goals.)
  4. What are the primary obstacles on the character’s way? What will have to happen before your character gets from point A to B? What are you going to throw at your character (ideally, three fundamental obstacles should do the trick)? Your character’s obstacles to reach their goal will teach them something about themselves, life and change them in a significant/dramatic way.

For the screenplay to work dramatically, your main character must want something and want it badly. Your character believes strongly that once they get this something, or get somewhere in life, their life will be better, and/or more exciting for them. However, life will be much more difficult for them, if they fail to reach their goal or destination. The obstacles you present to your character are meant to help them learn something or discover/realize something that will lead them towards their end goal. Without the obstacles, you’re risking that the story will be uninteresting/flat.

All those elements not only have to work together, but your audience needs to care very deeply about each component of the story to become emotionally involved in what you have to say.


1.Watch your favourite movies and see how those dramatic elements work or don’t together.

2. Make notes of those elements and check how they relate to your screenplay.

While you are here, you might also be interested in Creative Distribution.

Leave a Reply