“I loved the movie Django Unchained, but the script was too long…” “The Dark Knight made us millions, but the script was 167 pages, so let’s not do that ever again…” …Said no one ever. Yet, if you’re lucky enough to get your script into the hands of someone who can make or break your … Read more
As Sun Tzu once said, “There are good screenwriters, and there are bad screenwriters.” And while much of the difference between the two can only be measured with abstract criteria (such as “talent,” and “chutzpah,” and “originality,”) the fact is, there are several key criteria good screenwriters do with their screenplays that are not only concrete, measurable, and observable, but also, in … Read more
Is your screenplay about the audience? Or is it all about you? My company has read a lot of scripts. Thousands. Hundreds of thousands! (Okay, well, not hundreds of thousands.) Good scripts, bad scripts, mediocre scripts. And they’ve all had their positives and minuses. And super-minuses. But there’s one major commonality across all less-than-stellar spec screenplays, … Read more
Sometimes, we script readers get lucky. That is, when we dig into a screenplay to give script notes or provide script coverage, sometimes we know right away that the script we’re reading is gonna be a painful read.
Most times, that takes us a few pages. But sometimes, right off the bat, we get some really great clues that let us know “Hey, this screenwriter isn’t professional.”
Your script has a lot of working parts — character, dialogue, conflict, action, theme, beats, acts… It’s a heady brew of elements. And that heady brew boils down into an awful lot of specific criteria that anyone reading your script will judge it by, whether you’ve sent it in to a script contest, or a script coverage company, or an agent, or studio, or a name actor.
The script has texture and realism. Now it just needs presentability. There’s a good conflict being set up. I’m aboard. Honestly, I like the story so far. Now I want to trust the writer more though. The pages can’t be such a chore do digest. Fix the typos which means less typos, more professional presentation. Don’t give them an excuse to put it down.
Straight up: Your awesome script might be the next Oscar sweeper, but if it smells like the work of an amateur, you’re hosed, because it’s likely not getting past the first few people who read it. My company Screenplay Readers is a script coverage service that reads hundreds of scripts per month, and we’ve been … Read more
We’ve all heard it time and again about script page count, whether in film school, or just as an anecdotal whisper on the screenwriter wind: “A screenplay should be no more than 120 pages.” 120 pages? Maximum? Isn’t that just a bit arbitrary? Why not 121? Why not 119? After all, The Godfather, (a great little sci-fi … Read more