The following is a very basic list of items that do not impress me as a script reader and, more often than not, will get your script a resounding pass. If your script contains any of these points, consider rewriting before sending out.
So, here we go, a list of my top 5 screenplay peeves when reading:
DO NOT tell me a story I’ve heard, seen or read before. This is where doing your homework comes in. If you are going to take a previously produced concept, rewrite it in a fresh, unique and current way. Be creative. Wow me.
DO NOT switch genres. Don’t begin your movie as a drama and then suddenly switch it up so that it becomes a thriller. The only thing this will accomplish is to annoy your reader.
DO NOT write long blocks of action lines. Yes, there are writers who write like this. And they get paid a lot to do it, and because they’re well known, people read their block text. Most readers have too much to read and read down the page (dialogue), unless your prose is very sparse and also stellar. The more text on the page, the less compelled I am to read it.
DO NOT waste your character introductions with an ambiguous name, no age, no gender, and clothing as a description of character. I don’t care if your character is wearing khakis. Be smart. Make use of your page count.
DO NOT write ANY scene that neither exposes character nor moves your story forward. That’s why we outline. Beat out your project before you start writing.
For a complete list of my Screenplay Competition “Do Nots,” click here.