Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Few Writer Pitflalls

There are some pitfalls to avoid when screenwriting. Some are obvious and others maybe not so. Some pitfalls deal with mechanics while others deal with the creative. Here are a couple that stick out to me, because I either commit the atrocities myself or see them often.

I read very few scripts from other people (just don't have the time), but here are some easy to spot amateur mistakes:
* Over 120 pages (some are told this is a good goal-- but really, unless writing "2012" or "Lord of the Rings", 90 is a better target.
* Flipping through the script, there are pages and pages of dialogue and very little action. Hitchcock says to resort to dialogue when all else fails. A script with tons of dialogue therefore would mean a script that has a lot of failure. Sure there are exceptions, but the funny thing is that everyone thinks there is the exception.
* Characters having same voice. A lot of beginner writers tend to write the same person for each character, just with different names, gender, occupations etc.
* Passive tense in the action. This is one of my biggie mistakes. Lots of gerunds and "ing" words. This weakens the script. "Ron is running to the car" is not as strong as "Ron runs to the car."
* Anti Three Act. Many new writers say "I'm against all the structure and bondage the system puts on writers, so I'm not going to put my writing in a box." You know, after you've written and understand structure, then you're qualified to write anti-structure. Picasso painted remarkable realism early before he went modern.

Gotta run for now.

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