Screenplay Competition Entry – Reject by Arjet

I’m tired of all the “dos” of getting your script read. Now I’m balancing the karma with a list of “do not dos” as elucidated by Robert Arjet, a Texas-based screenwriting teacher and competition judge.

I’ve talked about some ways to progress your script through the contest ranks, but you can never get too much good advice. Here are some sure fire ways to get your script knocked out of the running to the finals:

  • Ignoring the basics of structure, format and story.
  • Not having a single prevailing genre.
  • Not working from an outline which helps isolate scenes incongruous to the story spine.
  • Focusing on a hot concept rather than the execution of it.
  • Dialogue that doesn’t work hard enough. It needs to reveal character and advance plot.
  • Flat, cardboard characters. Although heroes and villains are archetypal, they need dimension and depth.
  • Weak or static conflict. Keep those stakes rising to keep your audience watching
  • Avoiding setting up and paying off. This is often referred to as unmotivated action.

So keep these factors in mind before you submit to your favorite screenwriting competition.


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