Ask the Screenplay Doctor: Top 10 Screenwriting Pet Peeves
Written by Susan Kouguell | Posted by: NewEnglandFilm.com
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.
- Sloppiness! Typos, photocopying lines, smudges, coffee and food stains, blank and missing pages.
- 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.
- Overuse and/or unnecessary usage of flashbacks and voiceovers.
- 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.
- So many plots and/or subplots that it’s impossible to figure out what the plot is really about.
- Action paragraphs that read like a novel and/or telegraph what’s about to be revealed in dialogue.
- Dialogue that contains heavy-handed exposition and/or over-explains information about the back-story.
- Characters who don’t have distinct personalities and are (unintentionally) interchangeable or don’t serve a purpose in the plot.
- Lack of a solid structure throughout the script; this includes rambling or unnecessary scenes.
- 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.
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.