Writing movies is often seen as an overnight way to make millions. In reality, it's an arduous process that requires talent, perseverance and a little bit of luck. If you think you have what it takes, here's a basic guide to help you become a screenwriter.
Learn about the mechanics of a script. Before you even put pen to paper, you should have a good understanding of the makings of a movie script. That means that you need to do some research on how a screenplay is written, what makes up a good screenplay, and how to write a good story. Syd Field wrote a couple of very informative books on these topics (Screenplay and Screenwriters Problem Solver). After reading up on becoming a screenwriter and how to write a script, plunge in and get some practice doing so. Put your new knowledge to work so that you can get a true feeling for what is involved in being a screenwriter.
Read through lots of screenplays. Expose yourself to the looks of a screenplay by browsing through a wide variety of scripts. You can easily find these through Ebay or searching Google. It's a good idea to start by reading scripts of movies that are similar to the style of screenplay that you're interested in writing. Make sure that you get a full feature script of a movie and not a transcript. The full feature script includes descriptions and actions, unlike the transcript.
Further your education. You can never know everything there is to know about being a screenwriter. So never stop learning about writing movies. Take a writing class to learn from others and be exposed to different ideas and methods of writing. Try to find a writing class in your community that focuses on screenwriting. This will be most helpful to you as you pursue a career in screenwriting.
Do lots of writing. The only way you're going to find out if being a screenwriter is right for you is by writing. So as you're taking classes and reading through screenplays, make sure that you're always working on your own screenplay as well. That way, you can put your new knowledge and ideas directly onto paper. And then constantly improve and rewrite your screenplay. There is always something to be improved. Have someone give you ‘notes' or opinions on your screenplay, so that you can make changes and improvements to areas you hadn't considered. Constantly improve your screenplay by applying such criticism, and the end result will be a much more solid screenplay.
Get the word out there. Once you've got your screenplay completed, start to network. Get your name out there and let people know that you want to become a screenwriter. Send a copy of your screenplay to producers in Los Angeles. (This is the best place to be if you want to become a screenwriter.) Check back often to ensure your script hasn't been left by the wayside. Through diligence and some hard work, your efforts should help you to become a successful screenwriter.