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Screenwriting - Why They Rejected Your Screenplay

December 28, 2011 | Comments: 0 | Views: 105

One of the dilemmas of the beginning screenwriter is having your script rejected without any explanation as to why. Here are some of the common problems that cause screenplays to "get a pass." Avoid them, and you just may have a shot at a screenwriting career.

No compelling goal - In too many scripts written by beginners, the protagonist just seems to drift along from event to event. This may work in some novels but in movies, the protagonist must be driven to achieve something or acquire some particular thing. Without that goal, there is no movie story.

Wrong company - Another beginner mistake is to send a screenplay to the wrong company. That is, don't send your horror/slasher screenplay to a company that makes upbeat family entertainment, and vice versa. Do your homework before sending out your script.

Too talky - movies are primarily a visual medium. Dialogue is meant to support the pictures on the screen. Keep your dialogue short and to the point. All dialogue must move the story forward in some way. Also, avoid having characters tell us what we've just witnessed on the screen. You can have the characters discuss something that just happened, but don't tell us the obvious. That is, if Bill just won a race, don't have a character excitedly tell us that Bill just won. We know that Bill just won. We saw it.

Bad pitch letter - you must write a compelling pitch letter in order to get somebody to read your screenplay. Don't start your pitch with your name. Nobody cares what your name is until they learn what you can do for them. Start off with some intriguing aspect of the story to hook the reader into wanting to continue to read your pitch.

Directing the movie - do NOT include camera angles, lighting suggestions or music suggestions. These things are the purview of the director. Directing the movie will mark you as an amateur and will most likely cause the reader to stop reading the moment they see the first direction. Why? Because if you don't know not to direct the movie in your spec script, you probably haven't studied screenwriting enough to produce a quality screenplay.

Deux ex machina - this is a term used to describe how some ancient playwrights ended their stories. The term means "machine of the gods." It refers to the story device of having a character playing a god suddenly swoop down (by means of a machine) onto the stage and magically solve the hero's problems. In modern stories, the protagonist must always solve his or her problems at the end. Sometimes they can be rescued, as in somebody sending for the cavalry earlier in the story. But the hero must be on hand battling it out. If there is to be a last-minute rescue, set up the circumstance ahead of time.

I recently read a screenplay from a new writer who reversed the technique by bringing in a sudden super villain near the end of the story. Needless to say, it made a bad story worse.

Danek S. Kaus is a produced screenwriter of an award-winning feature film. He has two films in development and three more of his screenplays have been optioned. Check out his his screenwriting site for more articles on screenwriting. You can also request his Free Ebook screenwriting for authors.

Source: EzineArticles
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