Effective Action Writing for Screenwriters

Action Writing for Screenwriters from Pipeline Artists - Symposium on Vimeo.

"Action," meaning the scene descriptions, not "action genre." Now that we've cleared that up …

In order to write great action description in a scene that maximizes "white on the page," you have to translate the images in your head into very specific word choices. 

Why is "white on the page" important? Not only does it show your command of prose, but it also makes your script a "fast read"—which is critical for capturing the attention of producers and managers.

Maybe you’re brand new to screenwriting and don’t know where to start. Maybe you’ve been writing for a while, but you’re looking for more effective action-writing tools. Maybe you’re a professional writer, but you need to take your action writing to the next level. 

Merridith Allen will teach you how to write the kind of screen action that makes it impossible for a reader to put your script down. 

First, a discussion on what screen action is, and is not. 

Then, in-session practice, using the most effective imagery, language, and formatting to create stellar visual moments. (This session includes real-time writing exercises and discussion of the results, showcasing how Merridith's advice is effectively used.)

Finally, a discussion on how to use these visual moments to choreograph action sequences and scenes that jump off the page. 

This event will include: 

  • Tools to transform mundane description into great action
  • How to use the foundational tools to build sequences and acts
  • Examples of stellar action writing and practical application of action writing tools
  • Q&A
  • BONUS: all attendees will receive a $25 credit to any 2023 Script Pipeline competition!

[Recorded December 7, 2022]

Merridith Allen is a theater-trained performer and storyteller with an extensive background in martial arts. She writes about women wrestling with their demons (read: kicking their demons in the teeth), with a special focus on female-driven martial arts, drama, action, and dramedy. Excerpts from Merridith's produced plays can be found in over a dozen anthologies through Smith&Kraus Publishers. An award-winning screenwriter, Merridith has been the recipient of several prestigious writing fellowships from such organizations as The Sewanee Writer's Conference, VCCA, and the San Miguel Writer's Conference. As an instructor, Merridith has led writing workshops all over the world. Email: writelikeawarrior@gmail.com

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