How To's | Screenplay Doctor | Screenwriting

Twenty Questions: Are you *really* ready to submit your screenplay?

1 Jul , 2014  

Written by Susan Kouguell | Posted by:

Before you submit your screenplay, get feedback from people who will tell you the truth and nothing but the truth. Here are 20 questions to ask them to make sure you're getting feedback that will help. To have your question answered in the next column, email screenwriter@newenglandfilm.com.

Whether you are a first-time or professional screenwriter, the thrill of finally completing a screenplay is the same – absolute euphoria! But, let’s be honest for a moment and ask yourself the tough question: Is your screenplay really finished? Are you ready to submit it to the world because you are so tired of thinking and dreaming about it and believe that it’s “good enough” despite knowing another rewrite (or possibly two or more) is needed? If your answer is yes, then know that you are not alone.

What should you do next? Take a deep breath. And slowly exhale. If you are tired, bored, frustrated, or (fill in the adjective) of your screenplay—so will the agent, manager, producer, script competition reader, and all the film industry folks to whom you are submitting your project.

Before you submit your screenplay, get feedback from people who will tell you the truth and nothing but the truth. Giving it to people who might sugarcoat their critiques, such as family members, most likely want to remain on good terms with you, so this is probably not your best choice. Knowing what to ask when receiving feedback will help you stay focused and enable you to gain more objectivity with your screenplay.

20 Questions to Ask When Receiving Feedback

1. Is the genre clear and consistent throughout the script?
2. Does the dialogue ring true for each of my characters or does it feel interchangeable?
3. Is this script a page-turner?
4. Are my characters empathetic?
5. Does my plot make sense?
6. Are my main characters’ journeys clear?
7. What elements made the story engaging? Were there places you lost interest?
8. Do any of the characters need to be further developed?
9. Are there scenes that drag or ramble?
10. Is each scene advancing the plot forward?
11. Are the stakes clear?
12. Does my script have a solid three-act structure?
13. Is the subplot (or subplots) overpowering the main plot?
14. Are the scenes building to a climax?
15. Have I paid off actions that I set up?
16. Are my characters memorable?
17. Are my characters’ objectives, motivations, obstacles, and journeys clear and compelling?
18. Are the characters multi-dimensional?
19. Did you find the story or characters predictable in a way that was detrimental to the script?
20. Are the action paragraphs an interesting read or are they too dense?

Final Tips

Now that you have received and implemented feedback, the time has come to submit your screenplay. Have someone else proofread your script one last time. Always register your screenplay with the Writers Guild of America (www.wga.org) in order to project yourself from theft of ideas. Most film industry folks will not accept your script if it is not registered. Make sure that you carefully follow all submission guidelines and submit a script only when it has been requested.

Your script is your calling card to the film industry so always submit your absolutely best screenplay!

Award-winning screenwriter and filmmaker Susan Kouguell is chairperson of Su-City Pictures East, LLC, a motion picture consulting company founded in 1990 where she works with over 1,000 writers, filmmakers, and industry executives worldwide. (www.su-city-pictures.com). Her films are in the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection and archives, and Whitney Museum’s Biennial. Susan worked with Louis Malle on And the Pursuit of Happiness, was a story analyst and story editor for many studios, wrote voice-over narrations for (Harvey Weinstein) Miramax and over a dozen feature assignments for independent companies. Susan wrote THE SAVVY SCREENWRITER: How to Sell Your Screenplay (and Yourself) Without Selling Out! and SAVVY CHARACTERS SELL SCREENPLAYS! A comprehensive guide to crafting winning characters with film analyses and screenwriting exercises, available at $1.00 off on https://www.createspace.com/3558862 use DISCOUNT CODE: G22GAZPD. On Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009SB8Z7M (discount code does not apply). Follow Susan at Su-City Pictures, LLC Facebook fan page and SKouguell on Twitter, and read more articles on her blog: http://su-city-pictures.com/wpblog/

Image from https://flic.kr/p/4S8uZe


Award-winning screenwriter and filmmaker Susan Kouguell is chairperson of Su-City Pictures East, LLC, a motion picture consulting company founded in 1990 where she works with over 1,000 writers, filmmakers, and industry executives worldwide. (www.su-city-pictures.com). Her films are in the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection and archives, and Whitney Museum’s Biennial. Susan worked with Louis Malle on And the Pursuit of Happiness, was a story analyst and story editor for many studios, wrote voice-over narrations for (Harvey Weinstein) Miramax and over a dozen feature assignments for independent companies. Susan wrote THE SAVVY SCREENWRITER: How to Sell Your Screenplay (and Yourself) Without Selling Out! and SAVVY CHARACTERS SELL SCREENPLAYS! A comprehensive guide to crafting winning characters with film analyses and screenwriting exercises, available at $1.00 off on https://www.createspace.com/3558862 use DISCOUNT CODE: G22GAZPD. On Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009SB8Z7M (discount code does not apply). Follow Susan at Su-City Pictures, LLC Facebook fan page and SKouguell on Twitter, and read more articles on her blog: http://su-city-pictures.com/wpblog/ Image from https://flic.kr/p/4S8uZe