Script Note: Set the tone firmly within the first ten pages

B. O'Malley

Free Script Notes To Go

logo for Free Script Notes on your first 10 pagesImminent Threat by J.W. Bryan

Read the pages here.

Toddler dead on page one is gonna filter out a lot of readers before they have a chance to get to page 2.  I believe it’s okay to write a script with a dead toddler on page one, but there’s lot of touchy touchy folks who don’t.

Also, clarify that sentence.  Is it a small doll, or a dead toddler?  Be unambiguous, especially on page one.  You’re setting the tone for every page to come.  The wrong impression can discolor the reader’s impression of your script and you may not get them back.

Daunting text blocks on page one.  See if you can pare down the amount of words you use for descriptions.

His face is serious and stern.

Let the scene you set paint the picture of what’s on those characters’ faces unless it’s absolutely important for us to know.

FEMALE

Name her.  Call her CAMERON’S DAUGHTER if you want, but name her.  Don’t worry about surprising the reader unless it’s a big reveal at the end which your script has earned over the course of it’s 3 acts. A reader needs to have absolute clarity at all times, or you’ll lose ’em.

Page 3 and I’m still bogged down with descriptive text.

With a body you want to fuck and a mind you better not fuck with

99% of script readers just put your script down.  They read that and say to themselves: “Ah, okay.  The writer’s an amateur. I don’t need to finish reading this.”

Hate to sound pedantic, but writing isn’t about expressing your emotions at each and every turn, including within the action/descriptive text.

Writing is about translating your emotions and ideas so that the audience can share in them. Keep your integrity and honest expressions and ideas and situations, but translate them.  And even then, don’t put stuff like that in your descriptive text.

You’re writing this to get represented, or to make a sale, or to get produced, right?  Unless you’re writing this to put on your fridge and admire, respect your audience at all times, and that includes your first audience, the reader.

BREE or BRIANNA.  Pick one and stick with it.  Again with the reader clarity.

This isn’t a bad setup, but you need to get out of your own way.  Next pass you do, pare down the text to give us ONLY what’s needed, and keep the audience in mind while you’re doing it.

 

One Comment on “Script Note: Set the tone firmly within the first ten pages”

  1. Brian,
    Thanks for taking the time to read my first ten pages. I get what you are saying and will take it to heart. I appreciate your time and effort in helping make me a better writer.
    J.W. Bryan

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