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Three Common Mistakes That New Screenwriters Make

February 1, 2018



Three Common Mistakes That New Screenwriters Make


Writing a screenplay, while most certainly rewarding, is one of the most challenging things a person can do – screenwriting is a highly specialized style of writing, and just like any other professional field, it has a long list of things that you simply can and cannot do.  Here are three common mistakes that new screenwriters make that you should avoid at all cost:


1.  Bad Formatting is a Fast Track to the Circular File


Of all the things on this list, this one is by far the most important - nothing says “new screenwriter” like trying to have an agent, manager, or producer read a script that is not properly formatted. Why is this the most important thing? Simple – it’s the only thing about screenwriting that isn’t subjective. Formatting rules are the same wherever you go, and if you don’t know them, the reader will be able to tell within the first five pages of your script.  Buying Final Draft software and reading some of your favorite scripts is the best way to solve this problem – there are tons of examples of proper formatting online, and Final Draft will help you format the document correctly.


2.  Spelling and Grammar Matter, as a Matter of Fact


It is extremely important to avoid having spelling and grammar mistakes in your script – you may not be writing a novel or a school paper, but film scripts still use the same rules of grammar and spelling that any other type of writing uses, and the reader will be looking for them throughout the script to determine whether to take you seriously or not. Having a script with no or few spelling/grammar errors shows that you not only took the time to read it yourself before sending it out, but also that you care about presenting yourself as a serious professional and not a new screenwriter.


3.  Directions are for the Director Only


Another very common rookie mistake (meaning a reader will be looking for it right away) is to put camera directions in your screenplay. Unless you are going to be directing the screenplay yourself, there’s no reason for shot descriptions (e.g. close up, zoom in/out) to be in your screenplay, and the same goes for music cues as well. If a reader or producer/director sees too many of these in your script, it will most certainly be passed over by whoever is reading it because you will be immediately labeled as a new screenwriter.


While some of the most essential do’s and don’ts for new screenwriters have been covered in this blog post, there is a wealth of other information that you need to know in order to be an effective screenwriter, and that’s why we are here to help. Why risk the time and effort of taking your idea and writing a bad screenplay when you could have a professional write it for you?  

If you have a great idea for a screenplay and need help getting it written, or already have a script and want to know if it’s ready to send off to a reader, contact us here today at Quality Content Service!




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