How Do You Write A Screenplay?

We’ve put together grade-specific packets that will help you start thinking like a screenwriter. This includes basic information, writing exercises, screenwriting analysis, and example submissions for each student group.

Click on your grade level below:

K-5 Competition Information

Thank you for participating in the Pens to Lens Screenwriting Competition hosted by the Champaign-Urbana Film Society (CUFS)!

Pens to Lens

Pens to Lens is more than just a writing competition. After the submission deadline, your submissions will be reviewed by writing judges and filmmakers. The writing judges will choose awards, and the filmmakers will choose screenplays to produce into actual movies. The awards and final produced films will be presented at a screening gala in August 2015. Good luck!

Involve your class

If you would like to involve your class at school, please show this website to your teacher and have them contact info@PensToLens.com.

Resources

We are making the following materials available to elementary school students who wish to compete:

Screenwriting PDFs

  1. Worksheet A: This is a simple guide that will help you start thinking about how to write a screenplay.
  2. Storyboard Template: A blank storyboard page that students can use to draw storyboards to include in their submissions.
  3. Exercise 1: This first recommended exercise guides students through analyzing a short film.
  4. Exercise 2: This second recommended exercise guides students through thinking visually about a film they have seen.
  5. Exercise 3: This third recommended exercise guides students through planning out their short story idea through drawings.
  6. Sample Submission: This is a modification of a piece of the script for the Disney/Pixar film “Toy Story”. It explains what CUFS expects from K-5 student scripts. Pens to Lens has simplified the format requirements for K-5 submissions, but if K-5 students would like to follow Hollywood-standard formatting, they can find those rules in Worksheet B, and read an excerpt from the original “Toy Story” script here.

6-8 Competition Information

Thank you for participating in the Pens to Lens Screenwriting Competition hosted by the Champaign-Urbana Film Society (CUFS)!

Pens to Lens

Pens to Lens is more than just a writing competition. After the submission deadline, your submissions will be reviewed by writing judges and filmmakers. The writing judges will choose awards, and the filmmakers will choose screenplays to produce into actual movies. The awards and final produced films will be presented at a screening gala in August 2015. Good luck!

Involve your class

If you would like to involve your class at school, please show this website to your teacher and have them contact info@PensToLens.com.

Resources

We are making the following materials available to junior high school students who wish to compete:

Screenwriting PDFs

  1. Worksheet A: This is a simple guide that will help you start thinking about how to write a screenplay.
  2. Worksheet B: This guide explains the rules of script formatting, and will ensure that your submission is readable.
  3. Worksheet C: This first recommended exercise guides you through analyzing a short film and how the screenwriter might have intended it.
  4. Worksheet D: This second recommended exercise gives you the opportunity to write an excerpt of properly formatted script.
  5. Worksheet E: This third recommended exercise explains the option of writing an adaptation of previously written work.
  6. Sample Script: This is an excerpt from the Oscar-winning “Toy Story” film, widely used in teaching screenwriting.
  7. Sample Script: The Game of Life or SPIES, by William Jurgens (Pens to Lens 2015)
  8. Sample Script: Influence and Pressure, by Emily Yan, Zoe Lavigne, and Edith Yao (Pens to Lens 2015)
  9. Sample Script: The Feeling of Music, by Kalika Shapiro (Pens to Lens 2015)

9-12 Competition Information

Thank you for participating in the Pens to Lens Screenwriting Competition hosted by the Champaign-Urbana Film Society (CUFS)!

Pens to Lens

Pens to Lens is more than just a writing competition. After the submission deadline, your submissions will be reviewed by writing judges and filmmakers. The writing judges will choose awards, and the filmmakers will choose screenplays to produce into actual movies. The awards and final produced films will be presented at a screening gala in August 2015. Good luck!

Involve your class

If you would like to involve your class at school, please show this website to your teacher and have them contact info@PensToLens.com.

Resources

We are making the following materials available to high school students who wish to compete:

Screenwriting PDFs

  1. Worksheet A: This is a simple guide that will help you start thinking about how to write a screenplay.
  2. Worksheet B: This guide explains the strict rules of script formatting, and will ensure that your submission is eligible to be chosen by filmmakers.
  3. Worksheet C: This first recommended exercise guides you through analyzing a short film and how the screenwriter might have intended it.
  4. Worksheet D: This second recommended exercise gives you the opportunity to write an excerpt of properly formatted script.
  5. Worksheet E: This third recommended exercise explains the option of writing an adaptation of previously written work.
  6. Sample Script: This is an excerpt from the Oscar-winning “Toy Story” film, widely used in teaching screenwriting.
  7. Sample Script: The Game of Life or SPIES, by William Jurgens (Pens to Lens 2015)
  8. Sample Script: Influence and Pressure, by Emily Yan, Zoe Lavigne, and Edith Yao (Pens to Lens 2015)
  9. Sample Script: The Feeling of Music, by Kalika Shapiro (Pens to Lens 2015)