Someone asked me to answer this question on Quora, so I thought I may as well throw it up here:
What is the difference between story writing and screenplay writing for movies?
There is no difference.
People who don’t know what they’re doing or are not particularly confident in their screenwriting will go on and on about structure and formulas and hitting this goalpost at that mark and blah blah but the fact remains –
A screenplay is a story told visually (and with some dialogue). There is absolutely no other difference. It’s just a different style of telling a story (through pictures, sounds and spoken words rather than written words).
The more you focus on telling a story (rather than hitting all the goalposts the books talk about) – the better off you will be.
I would also like to recommend this answer to the same question by Mark Hughes. He gets more into the nitty-gritty of the “story by” vs. “written by” credits.
Today’s “What I’m Reading” is a “What I’m Listening To” –
I really love podcasts. There’s a handful that I listen to every episode they do. I’ll try to post about all of my favorites, but today’s favorite is “Extra Hot Great” – a podcast by three true lovers of T.V. and movies and all things pop culture. (They are Tara Ariano, David T. Cole and Joe Reid). They’re funny, insightful, and best of all they infect you with their love and sense of ownership over wonderful (and some terrible) things to watch.