Why Do Some Screenplays End Up On The Pass Pile?


Why Isn’t Your Screenplay In The Recommend Stack?

1) THE STORY IS TOO WORTHY

Just because you’re covering sensitive, timely, important material, you still need to worry about  the dramatic elements of your script. Audiences don’t like being preached to. Let them discover the message on their own.

2) PASSIVE PROTAGONIST

The main character just hangs out and appears in the action despite them not being up to the job or have a vested interest in the story. They’re inconsequential.

3) TOO MUCH CHARACTER INFORMATION

Although extensive backstories are useful in the development process, not every detail should appear in your script unless it’s essential to the story.

4) TOO MANY INDISTINGUISHABLE CHARACTERS

Aside from adding clutter to your script, consider the dramatic function of your characters. Which can be grouped, collapsed or eliminated?

5) THE WORLD IS POORLY DEFINED

This is especially true in supernatural and fantasy stories. The rules and constraints of the world must be set and adhered to.

6) THE SCRIPT IS NOT UNIQUE ENOUGH

This could mean it’s boring, cliched, filled with inconsequential action. Or worse still nothing much happens, leaving the audience with a feeling of “So What?”

7) WRITER IS ON AN EGO TRIP

These scripts range from writers ensuring how knowledgable they are about a certain subject or spouting ideology.

8) THIRD PARTY ACTION

This happens when the audience hears characters talking about an event rather than letting them witness it first hand. Remember the golden rule of screenwriting : Show Don’t Tell.

9) EMOTIONAL IMBALANCE

This can range from exaggerated emotional beats where characters are forced to react to something, to lack of emotional engagement. Exaggerated emotional responses are mawkwish and melodramatic.

scriptfirm final logo colourFor in depth Film & TV script analysis visit Script Firm.

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