Don’t intimidate script readers with big text blocks
Order of The Court by L. Norton
Read the pages here:
Strategic note: “Afro-American” may cause some folks (of any color) to stop and go “Hmmm.” It might be perfectly fine, but your job, after writing your script and doing all the fun creative work, also includes going back and scanning for any possible “reader speedbumps.” That is, don’t give anybody any chance of stopping their read, ever.
Another strategic note: Big blocks of text like this are intimidating to readers.
Music starts playing. The curtains open and Maxwell steps up to the microphone. Behind him four FEMALE DANCERS in their early-twenties, dance across the stage in skin tight clothing. The crowd goes crazy. The performance is going smoothly until Maxwell rips his tee-shirt off, flexes his muscles and throws the torn shirt into the crowd. All hell breaks loose as a group of Teenage Girls begin to fight over the pieces of Maxwell’s shirt. Maxwell yells into the microphone.
Pare it down and break it up:
Curtains fly open and Maxwell steps up to the mic.
Four dancers dance in skin-tight costumes.
Maxwell rips his t-shirt off, flexes, hurls the fragments into the crowd.
Teen girls go crazy.
Ditch the header on each page “Order of the Court by L. Norton”
No need for (into phone) parentheticals once we establish these folks are talking to each other on the phone.
The gags are okay, but they need to be funnier. The characters can be silly, but need to be more believable, otherwise we’re watching a Tom & Jerry cartoon.
Mostly, you need to yank your PRESENTATION out of the way.
Right now, HOW YOU PRESENT YOUR SCRIPT is being a ham, and jumping up and down in front of your characters and gags and story.
HOW YOU PRESENT YOUR SCRIPT is giving me, the reader, more food for thought than your screenplay is, because instead of being focused on the things that matter in your script, I’m asking myself questions like:
” Why did the author use ‘Afro-American’? Aren’t some black folks offended by that? Isn’t that what misinformed white people call black people?”
“Man, that’s a huge block of non-stop text right there in the center of the page. I wonder why the writer didn’t break that up and make it easier to read.”
“Hmm. Is it okay to spell “loophole” as two words, like “loop hole?”
“The writer must be very concerned about me knowing who wrote this script, and what the title of the script is, because they put it at the top of every page.”
I like the idea of a big rock star getting his comeuppance from all the babymamas he’s humped and dumped. There is a good concept there. Now I need your presentation to be unimpeachable. That’s the biggest problem right now.
After that, make your characters more believable, make the gags funnier, and turn your concept on its head at some point with your plot, because 90 pages of rap star in court defending himself against babymamas is probably not sustainable.