How To's | Screenplay Doctor | Screenwriting

Ask the Screenplay Doctor: Top 10 Screenwriting Pet Peeves

31 Oct , 2010  

Written by Susan Kouguell | Posted by:

This month, the Screenplay Doctor discusses the top 10 pet peeves of those in the screenwriting industry. E-mail screenwriter@newenglandfilm.com to have your question answered in next month's issue.

What are your biggest pet peeves when dealing with screenwriters? Clearly grammar and spelling are very important — is there anything else?

Here are 10 universal (and not just my) pet peeves, gathered from story analysts and film industry folks with whom I have interviewed for various screenwriting publications and for my book The Savvy Screenwriter: How to Sell Your Screenplay (and Yourself) Without Selling Out! This top-ten list is in no particular order.

  1. Sloppiness! Typos, photocopying lines, smudges, coffee and food stains, blank and missing pages.
  2. Incorrect industry formatting. It demonstrates that the screenwriter is an amateur, or that the screenwriter doesn’t have respect for his or her work, or for the reader’s time.
  3. Overuse and/or unnecessary usage of flashbacks and voiceovers.
  4. Too many genres in one script or a script that reveals the screenwriter doesn’t know what the genre really is or doesn’t understand the conventions of the genre they are using.
  5. So many plots and/or subplots that it’s impossible to figure out what the plot is really about.
  6. Action paragraphs that read like a novel and/or telegraph what’s about to be revealed in dialogue.
  7. Dialogue that contains heavy-handed exposition and/or over-explains information about the back-story.
  8. Characters who don’t have distinct personalities and are (unintentionally) interchangeable or don’t serve a purpose in the plot.
  9. Lack of a solid structure throughout the script; this includes rambling or unnecessary scenes.
  10. Inclusion of camera angles. Directors do not want to be told how to shoot their movie.

    To learn more about the business of screenwriting, read The Savvy Screenwriter: How to Sell Your Screenplay (and Yourself) Without Selling Out! www.su-city-pictures.com; www.su-city-pictures.blogspot.com.

    You can follow my Su-City Pictures, LLC Facebook fan page and SKouguell Twitter page to receive more Savvy Tips about how to write, structure, and sell your screenplay.


To learn more about the business of screenwriting, read The Savvy Screenwriter: How to Sell Your Screenplay (and Yourself) Without Selling Out! www.su-city-pictures.com; www.su-city-pictures.blogspot.com. You can follow my Su-City Pictures, LLC Facebook fan page and SKouguell Twitter page to receive more Savvy Tips about how to write, structure, and sell your screenplay.