No screenplay is completely original, but a good script needs to feel fresh and bring something new to the genre. Write down exactly why your story is different from anything we’ve ever seen or heard before.
Express your story in no less than 25 words. If you can’t, does your premise need to be simplified?
Six things you need to know about your protagonist –
1. What is his/her primary goal?
2. Is this goal the same or different to their emotional need (motivation)?
3. What is standing in the way of the protagonist achieving their goal?
4. What major character flaw is also getting in the way of them achieving this goal?
5. How does this character flaw turn into a strength to help them overcome the situation?
6. And what does your protagonist(s) learn by the end of the journey. How have they changed?
You may not necessarily know your main theme before you write your screenplay but understanding the main conflict in your story can help you identify this. Examine what your main character(s) is struggling against. How is that conflict resolved, and by whom (was it the good guy or the bad guy)? And what lesson did your protagonist(s) learn?
Once you know your theme, it must resonate through each of your scenes. Describe how your subplots are variations on your central theme too.