Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Movie Script Writing : Avoid These Screenplay Mistakes 2

Screenwriting For Authors -- Avoid These Newbie Mistakes Part 2

Author:Danek S. Kaus

Hopefully you've had a chance to read my first article on the common mistakes that authors make in their early, and often later, attempts at screenwriting to adapt their book. If not, that's okay. Each of these articles can stand alone. So let's get started.

[caption id="attachment_128" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Movie Script Writing : Avoid These Screenplay Mistakes 2 Movie Script Writing : Avoid These Screenplay Mistakes 2[/caption]

NOT CAPITALIZING CHARACTER NAMES - The first time you introduce a character, their name should be ALL IN CAPS, such as JOHN SMITH. After that, use traditional capitalization.

OVERLY SPECIFIC CHARACTER DESCRIPTIONS - Many newbie screenwriters try to cast their movies by introducing a character as a George Clooney or Salma Hayek type. This can make casting more difficult, especially if you can't get those actors for your movie. Instead, keep character descriptions more general, such as 'athletic, early 30's.

DIRECTING THE SCRIPT - Some beginning writers include camera angles and background songs in their scripts. DO NOT DO THIS. It looks amateurish.

LONG, COMPLEX SENTENCES - Use simple sentences in your descriptive passages so the producer does not have to pause and try to extract your meaning. It's a great way to get them to toss your script and move on to the next one.

LONG DESCRIPTIVE PARAGRAPHS -- Nobody likes to read long, unbroken blocks of text, especially directors and producers. Break up the description into short paragraphs. If you secretly dream of directing, using short paragraphs can be a subtle way suggesting where new shots or angles could begin, without actually stating so, according to some screenwriting coaches.

NOT INCREASING THE TENSION - Another big mistake is keeping the same level of conflict, or lack of it, throughout the script. A screenplay should have mounting tension and increasing stakes until you reach the climax, which should be the most intense scene of the entire screenplay.

BEING TOO CHATTY -- Movie dialogue is not like real-life conversation. Lose all the empty discussion, such as saying hello, asking how someone is and what they did last night, unless it somehow reveals character and advances the story. If it does not advance the story, cut it. Every action a character performs and every word they say should move the story along in some way.

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About the Author

Danek S. Kaus is a produced screenwriter with another film in development. Several of his screenplays have been optioned by movie production companies. He can help with your screenplay or adapt your book into a movie. He also offers professional script analysis and coaching.

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