WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY FOR YOURSELF?

The theme in a movie is its underlying message, or central idea of the story. The theme is typically shaped around a strong belief about life or people that the writer wants to convey in the writing to their audience.

Screenwriting kids

When writing your screenplay, it is very important to have something interesting to say.  Your story needs to have an underlying message that is cleverly relayed to your audience.  The theme gives your audience something it can connect and relate to which further deepens their involvement in your story.  The theme can be about anything you want but it should be relevant and accessible to a broad enough audience.  It is the theme that will shape the entire world of your main character.

In the movie “Shrek”, we meet a disgruntled ogre that enjoys living an isolated live in his swamp in the woods up until it is overcome by fairytale creatures.  These creatures were banished from their home by the evil Lord Farquaad and sent to live in Shrek’s swamp.  Shrek just wants to be left alone but he soon realizes that life is richer when shared with other people.  This is the underlying message or theme of the movie.

The theme is subtlety expressed through the dialog between your characters.  Look at some of your favorite movies and see when a character states the theme.  You’ll have to pay close attention.  This typically happens in the first act of the script.

The theme is the backbone of your story.  Think about the message you want to relay to your audience and find creative ways to express your views through your characters.