Vampires and werewolves are over and done with. Come on, show me some swampmen and mummies!
If you change the setting of your script, you have to change the dialogue too. People in the US do not talk like people in Britain or Australia.
Scenes after the end credits: Just don’t. If I liked your script, it’s unnecessary. If I hated it, you’re just inflicting more pain.
Your logline has to be something you could actually say out loud. Don’t just jam clauses together and pray that it makes sense.
Don’t drink and write. It does not work.
(It does make you feel like Hemingway, though.)
Your character descriptions are so quirky and overly elaborate that I have no idea what the characters in question are supposed to look/act like.
It should be ‘fourteen’, not ‘14’. Write the actual word. This is a screenplay, not a text message.
Let your voice into the script. Have fun writing it, and chances are I’ll have fun reading it.
Please stop making characters repeat stuff back to each other. It’s not snappy back-and-forth, it’s a waste of space.
You can make your character’s voices sound different by giving them less to say. Too much yakity-yak tends to blend together into a big mediocre soup.
Either capitalization is for ALL SOUNDS or it’s for SHIT YOU WANT TO EMPHASIZE. Pick one, not both.
‘Pension’ and ‘penchant’ are not the same thing.
Don’t write scenes that feel like videogame cutscenes — you know, where the protagonist’s control is arbitrarily taken away so you can advance the plot.
Do you have the life rights/book rights to go with your biopic script about a real person? And if not, why would somebody buy your script when they could just write their own version?
Car chases and gun fights are not inherently cool. You have to make them cool by writing them properly.
People will say they can tell in the first 10 pages whether or not they’ll like your script.
They’re lying — they can tell by Page 1. So make Page 1 a thing of beauty.
Always remember that funny trumps everything. Your script could be written in crayon with your name spelled wrong on the cover, but if it’s genuinely, screamingly funny, none of that matters.
Don’t be a grumpy misanthrope who obviously hates life.
Yes, I know most writers tend towards this state, and I know Warren Ellis can pull it off… but try not to let it taint your script.
This is nitpicky and technical as hell, but…
A dash is almost always a better choice than a semicolon, because if someone’s reading quickly, the larger symbol helps to separate the two sentences/sentence fragments in the reader’s mind. Also, most people are scared of semicolons.
You can’t have an entire conversation where the characters communicate only in text messages. How uncinematic is that? I can’t believe I’m saying this, but at least put some voiceover in there.