The Entirety of Scriptwriting Technique in 3 Post-It Notes
by Bill Grundfest
Here it comes, aspiring screenwriters! Are you sitting down? If not, then sit down. If so, then lie down.
Here is everything you need to know to write like the pros, in three Post-It-Note Principles:
1. LOGLINE. You must create a compelling logline for your script (that's the TV Guide-sized description)
that says WHO — WANTS — WHAT. If your WHO is relatable/likeable/hateful/scary, what they WANT and
are ACTIVELY trying to get is something we emotionally care about, and a powerful WHAT stands in their
way, all in one sentence, you have a possibility of creating a script that works. Without all this, you have
zero chance and you may not move on.
2. CAUSALITY. The events in your story mustn't simply follow previous events, they must be CAUSED by
previous events. In turn, they must CAUSE future events. This is what makes a page-turner, or causes us as
viewers to lose track of time when we watch a movie or television show.
3. TOPS & BOTTOMS. What does everyone want at the top of your story and where do they end up
regarding that specific issue at the bottom of your story? What do they want at the beginning of an act and
where are they regarding that specific issue by the end of the act? The same question should be applied at
the top and bottom of each scene.
BONUS POST-IT NOTE! How to Take a Notion and Turn It into a Script.
There are five levels of development for each script. You may only go to the next level upon succeeding at
the previous one, and you must adhere to the three Post-It-Note Principles throughout.
1. Logline (see above)
2. Fat Paragraph that tells your overall story with beginning, middle and end
3. Three Fat Paragraphs, one for each act of the script
4. Beat Sheet with a logline for each scene that crystallizes it into one sentence
That's it. The rest is DOING IT. Check what you've done against the three fundamentals. Re-do. Lather.
It may be hard, but it's not complicated. Keep writing!
Bill Grundfest is a TV writer and producer who has won a Golden Globe Award® and received three Emmy®
nominations. He writes for major award shows including the Oscars®, Grammys® and Emmys, including the most
recent Emmy telecast. For more, visit his website at www.workshopforwriters.com.