The “Am I A Mouthy Screenwriter?” Quiz

B. O'Malley

blog_am-i-a-good-screenwriter-quiz

blog_am-i-a-good-screenwriter-quizSure, you’re a good screenwriter. But are you a rambling, mouthy screenwriter who can’t stop typing, can’t stop describing, can’t stop filling the page with redundant words and text blocks?

Take my easy 5-question screenwriter quiz to see if you’ve got the goods when it comes to turning your screenplay into a lean, mean, agent-wooing machine.

Answers are at the bottom.


1) Which character introduction is the least mouthy?

A) PETER JENKINS (40) – plump in a polo shirt, blond, iPhone on his belt.

B) PETER JENKINS, late thirties/early 40’s, slightly overweight, sandy blond hair and innocent blue eyes, carries his iPhone on his belt loop in an outdated leather case.

C) PETER JENKINS is in his late thirties but doesn’t look like it. He has an innocent expression on his face and wears an iPhone cell phone on his belt, and his yellow, weathered polo shirt is tucked in.


2) Which action line is the least mouthy?

A) Joey slams on the brakes hard with both feet and the car screeches and squeals to a halt just an inch away from the deadly propane tank.

B) Joey slams the brakes. The car stops, inches from the propane tank.

C) SCREEEEECH!  Joey slams on the brakes. The car screeches to a halt, skidding its tires, and stops just inches away from the propane tank. WHOA!


3) Which scene heading is the least mouthy?

A) INT. FRITO LAY PLANT – PETER JENKIN’S CORNER OFFICE – DAY

B) INT.  FRITO LAY – OFFICE – DAY

C) INT. FRITO LAY CORN CHIPS PLANT – OFFICE – DAY


4) Which action is the least mouthy?

A) Larry leans up against the bar. He looks down at his drink, thinking about Meg.

B) Larry leans up against the bar, looking down at his drink, thinking about Meg.

C) Larry looks at a photo of Meg. He takes a drink.


5) Which dialogue/action combo is the the least mouthy?

A)

PETER
(excitedly)
I can’t wait to try my new AK-47!

B)

PETER
I can’t wait to try out my new AK-47!

C)

PETER
(jumping up and down, smiling like an excited kid)
I can’t wait to try out my new AK-47!


 

SCROLL DOWN FOR THE ANSWERS.

 

 

Correct answers: A, B, B, C, B

1) Brevity, brevity, brevity! 

2) We’re perfectly able to imagine the “screech” if you simply use the verb, and not the sound effect.

3) Do we need to know it’s the Frito Lay plant?  If not, delete the “FRITO LAY” part and just say “OFFICE.”

4) We can’t see or hear Larry thinking, so show him thinking. When he looks at the pic, we know what he’s thinking about.

5) Keep action and descriptions in the action lines, and only use parentheticals if, without them, there’s absolutely no way the reader will understand the way the line is supposed to be delivered.

Naturally, these five quizzy questions aren’t the end-all-be-all of whether or not you’re a mouthy screenwriter. And even if you are, it’s all good.

But remember – for most people, the best, most easily-understandable screenwriting is usually the screenwriting which is the least mouthy.

4 Comments on “The “Am I A Mouthy Screenwriter?” Quiz”

  1. A nice beginner quiz however I have to disagree with number 3, While out of the choices provided I agree that the selected choice is best I would have not have used any of these slug lines.

    In an earlier scene in this screenplay I am assuming we would learn Peter works for Frito Lay. Therefore I would find it redundant in a sense to indicate it is a Frito Lay office. Therefore slightly going against the explanation provided a better slug line would be INT. Peter’s office.

    As this article stated Brevity! Brevity! Brevity!

    An excellent quiz and a sensational learning tool. Well done.

  2. INT. KITCHEN – DAY

    Newbie Screenwriter wrests cat off laptop keyboard and smiles, blood dripping from her wrist.

    NEWBIE SCREENWRITER
    Hallelujah, praise the Goddess, I’ve found Screenplay Readers! I will survive!

    INT. KODAK THEATER – ACADEMY AWARDS – NIGHT

    Experienced Screenwriter holding Oscar aloft, triumphant, pirouettes and chortles.

    Thank you Brian and Screenplay Readers!

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