Screenwriting Tip #21
Stop making people nod during conversations. I don’t care, the actors don’t care, it breaks the flow of dialogue AND it screws up your lovely whitespace.
Screenwriting Tip #20
Seriously, could you stop describing in drooling detail the incredible, smoking hot curves of your female characters’ bodies? It’s just uncomfortable for everybody.
Screenwriting Tip #19
For the love of god, don’t let your agent/manager write your logline. Have you seen some of the crap on Trackingb.com?
Screenwriting Tip #18
Don’t use “air quotes” when they’re “completely unwarranted”.
Screenwriting Tip #17
Please, please give your minor characters names. I don’t care what you call them, but anything’s better than BUSINESSMAN #1 through BUSINESSMAN #7.
Bonus Screenwriting Tip!
This blog is heavily inspired by the only decent screenwriting book I’ve ever read: Your Screenplay Sucks, by William M Akers. He’s much smarter, more experienced and more eloquent than me. So if you like these tips, why not buy a copy?
Screenwriting Tip #16
If you really must break the rules by including a soundtrack choice in the scene description, don’t make it Madonna. I’ll just laugh at you.
Screenwriting Tip #15
Do actually read some modern science fiction novels before starting your science fiction screenplay. That way you’ll avoid embarassing yourself by, for example, creating a race of aliens which look exactly like creatures from human mythology.
Screenwriting Tip #14
You know how Final Draft automatically creates a title page with information for you to fill in? Oh… I guess you didn’t know that, unless you wanted me to believe the title of your screenplay was ‘[Your Screenplay]’, and your name happens to be ‘[Author]’. Did you even check that pdf file before you emailed it to your agent? Jesus Christ.
Screenwriting Tip #13
Actually read scripts. I can’t overstate the importance of this one. Read a script a day. Scriptshadow posts all the current ones — start there.
Screenwriting Tip #12
Don’t make up new words for alien races and crazy magical hoo-ha and expect me to know what you’re talking about. Then again, don’t include a damn glossary either. Figure out a way to do it elegantly.
Screenwriting Tip #11
Nobody ‘pours over documents’, unless they just spilled their drink. You’re a writer. Learn English.
Screenwriting Tip #10
Don’t use the word ‘feign’ if you don’t know what it means.
Screenwriting Tip #10
Don’t write ‘He does a double-take’ in your comedy script. Will Ferrell will figure it out for himself, okay?
Screenwriting Tip #9
‘Ordinance’ means laws. ‘Ordnance’ means military supplies. Neither is synonymous with ‘bullets’.
Screenwriting Tip #8
Learn to spell ‘whetstone’. And if you can’t manage that — find a whetstone, sharpen a knife with it, then kill yourself.
Screenwriting Tip #7
In real life, friends don’t grab their friends’ cell phones out of their hands and throw/smash them. Or, if they do, they’re no longer friends. Stop putting this scene in comedy scripts for cheap shock laughs.
Screenwriting Tip #6
There is only one correct way to spell ‘shuriken’. Take 10 seconds and look it up. Don’t just take a stab at it, you hack.
Screenwriting Tip #5
Please don’t subtly reference Darabont and Shane Black. It’s not clever and we’ve all seen SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION. (Which, by the way, is the cliched screenwriter answer to ‘What’s your favorite movie?’)
Screenwriting Tip #4
If you’re clever enough to sneak a reference to the Konami Code into a script about hard-nosed reporters… well, then I like you.
Screenwriting Tip #3
Don’t write phonetic dialogue! Don’t write: “Ah coulda bin a contendah.” Don’t fucking do that, or I WILL hunt you down and end you. (Okay, fine, sometimes you have to do this. But when you do it, don’t change it mid-stream. Don’t have a character say ‘I ain’t doin’ that’, then half a page later switch to ‘I am not doing...
Screenwriting Tip #2
The phrase ‘abject terror’ is now officially cliched. Be more creative — it’s your job!
Screenwriting Tip #1
Hey, Writer-boy! Guess what? If your script is 130 pages, I hate you before I’ve even read page 1!
Screenwriting Tip #Alpha Zero
Don’t be boring. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DON’T BE BORING. Tape it to your laptop. Tape it to your eyeballs. Don’t. Be. Boring.