As a screenwriter, you will meet many challenges, but the worst experience of all is getting your script rejected. The majority of the scripts are not ever read completely.
What is it that you need to do to keep your scripts from landing in the reject pile? Most screenwriters make fatal errors that spell doom for their scripts from the very inception.
Here, we take a look at the common mistakes most screenwriters make. You would do well to avoid them to become a successful screenwriter.
The Most Common Mistakes Made By Screenwriters
As you write your script, there are certain things you need to avoid to make it presentable. Before submitting your work, ensure that you haven’t committed any of the errors listed below!
1. You Do Not Follow Standard Structure
As a screenwriter, you are supposed to be aware of the script’s components and their order of appearance.
The script reader will look for these while reading the script, and if not easily identifiable, they will soon lose patience and stop reading.
You have to identify and place components like the initial conflict, the turning point, climax, and resolution, among others.
An ideal way to get all components in the right place is to use a storyboard to which you can add plot sections and label them.
2. Failing To Use Correct Formatting
If you don’t format your script correctly, it sends out the wrong message to the script reader. It becomes difficult to read, and a busy script reader will soon lose patience with it.
Unless it contains some riveting content, your script is headed for rejection. So, you can get a bit organized as far as your formatting is concerned.
If you are not sure about how to go about it, there is a lot of information available on the internet. Formatting your final draft thoroughly enhances the readability factor of the script.
You can have an experienced person look at your script to give you constructive criticism.
You can also use screenwriting software with pre-formatted templates that will help you format the script and add a professional touch to it.
3. Not Maintaining The Correct Script Length
In continuation of a script’s formatting aspect, you need to maintain its correct length. The standard size is usually considered to be 90 pages to 140 pages.
If your script is too short, you might miss out on essential components and scenes. A long script will result in a monotonous repetition of facts and irrelevant content and scenes.
A script within the requisite number of pages will impart a professional touch, and you will stand a better chance of your scripts being read and accepted.
4. Lack Of An Original Plot
If you use stereotyped ideas for creating your plots, neither your scriptwriter nor your audience will be interested.
Use your imagination to create exciting and divergent themes for your stories and steer clear from your favorite plots. Your characters should be realistic and vibrant.
It’s always a good idea to combine people you know or knew with fictitious and controversial characters unless you are writing about a prominent known person. Stir up a controversy about them.
5. Your Characters “Tell” Rather Than “Do”
Save long and winded narratives for books. You are into the world of action and drama, where the sky is the limit. Let your characters tell the tale through their actions rather than having to state the obvious.
Telling is boring – doing is not. Your characters should display human emotions like anger, sorrow, excitement, frustration, and joy.
Getting them to repeat cliched statements like “I love you” and “You are the center of my universe!” is undoubtedly passé.
Watch plays and movies and study the way different characters express emotions.
Try to understand the dynamics of such individuals’ speech patterns, how they actually speak and behave on screen, and match them with your writing.
6. You Don’t Resolve All Your Conflicts
Conflicts form the basis of stories. Without conflict, there is no story. The conflicts and issues in your script need to be tangible and straightforward.
It should be something feasible, but for some reason, your character can’t achieve it. That’s the first part. The second and concluding part is resolving those issues.
With no resolution, there’s no closure. Take the example of unrequited love. You can’t end your story without the conclusion to the players in that particular drama.
If you don’t resolve your conflicts, the script reader will consider your script incomplete and reject it. It would be best if you tied up loose ends. Everyone wants to know what happens in the end.
7. The Premise To Your Story Is Not Clear
Define the basis of your story. You do not want to spin a web of complicated subplots that divert the reader and the audience from the main issue.
If you can’t explain the idea in a couple of sentences, then your script isn’t ready for submission.
Even the best screenwriting software can’t help you to devise the basis of your story. It comes from pure imagination and clear thinking. Your premise needs to be simple and plausible but interesting.
8. Dialogue Is Vague And Irrelevant
Using endless dialogue to fill your sheets will not cut any ice with the script reader and your audience. Dialogue has to flow naturally from the characters you create.
Write dialogue the way people emote and intersperse it with actions.
Bonus Tip! Does Your Story Have A Heart?
However good your story is, you can’t ignore the emotional aspect of it.
The audience wants to empathize with the characters. Write your story so that the audience identifies with the feelings and emotions of the characters.
By only putting the facts together and creating a storyline, you create a mechanical entity with no soul.
If you write from your heart, you can draw from your innermost consciousness and breathe life into your writing to captivate your audience.
Keep Your Scripts From Getting Rejected
As you have seen, there are several reasons for a script getting rejected. If you work blindly on screenwriting, you stand a high chance of rejection.
Rather than get back to you with feedback, a script reader will likely reject it if it falls short.
The first step to success is to know what causes failure. By being aware of the mistakes that will surely lead to a script being rejected, you can ensure that you don’t repeat the same errors while writing your script.
If you know what contributes to a good screenplay, you will get it right, and your scripts will not get rejected.
The sure-fire way of getting your scripts accepted is to follow these eight tips religiously and walk up the Yellow Brick Road to success!