A PASS grade on a screenplay is not like a pass grade in school. Screenwriters want a RECOMMEND. Or at least a CONSIDER.
1) YOU CAN’T FIGURE OUT THE TYPE OF STORY IT IS
Oftentimes these appear as a series of loosely connected scenes or ideas without a clear through line. The genre, tone, premise and characters are poorly defined. This suggests the writer hasn’t fully figured out their story yet. At times the story stalls until the middle of the script, when it may get some traction.
2) EPISODIC NARRATIVE
The scenes segue into others without raising the energy level. Events just happen rather than happens for a reason.
3) SCRIPT LOSES ITS WAY
This ranges from the original story setup going off the rails to forced/ contrived story tangents in the story. The script doesn’t answer its central question.
3) UNNECESSARY SCENES
They don’t propel the story or reveal character. They are often missing conflict and read flat. This may symptom of the writer wanting to fill pages rather than create a lean story.
4) NOT ENOUGH STORY
There isn’t enough plot trajectory to sustain a feature length script. It may be the concept isn’t fully developed. This can lead to unnecessary scenes on the page.
5) POORLY DEVELOPED PROTAGONIST
It is unclear what the main character actually wants and why they make the choices they do. Their logic can be mercurial or muddy.
6) UNMOTIVATED ANTAGONIST
In many respects the villain is the most important character in your screenplay because they test the limits of the main character. Scripts can read flat if we don’t understand what drives your antagonist. The driving force behind your antagonist should have as much validity as the protagonist.
7) STEREOTYPED CHARACTERS
The characters are so predictable and boring, there are no surprises. Although the dramatic functions of your characters should be clear, they should have at least one unique trait.
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