The Screenplay

some text on a paper written by a typewriter

Have you ever shouted “Don’t go in there” at the TV screen as the protagonist walked down an empty hallway? You’re not alone thanks to the screenplay. A screenplay is one of the biggest factors in how successful any film is, but for a suspense film, the screenplay needs the right elements of fear and anticipation. Learn how it works and why.

The Music and the Angles

a woman pointing a gun at the camera

Think again about that character walking down the empty hallway. What makes it scary? It’s just a nervous teenager looking for a ghost or monster, right? So why are you so scared? Filmmakers use lighting, music, and camera angles to create smaller spaces and feelings of anticipation. Each film trick means those character’s footsteps are giving you a panic attack on your living room sofa.

The Right Actors

a woman in a dress in a dark room surrounded by paparazzi taking her picture

All the beautiful people. All the beautiful people screaming and running away. Is a suspense or horror film complete without screaming? And you have to have the right actors to do it. The scream is important. That’s how Drew Barrymore got her part in the film E.T.; she was a good screamer. Learn which Hollywood actors dabbled in suspense filmmaking.