Common Screenwriting Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

In Screenwriting and Casting by Kyle0 Comments

No matter how old a picture, or how minimal its success at the box office, great movie dialogues always find a way to seep into our vocabulary and become a cultural reference for people, young and old.

We have screenwriters to thank

No matter how old a picture, or how minimal its success at the box office, great movie dialogues always find a way to seep into our vocabulary and become a cultural reference for people, young and old.

We have screenwriters to thank for some of the most quotable lines in cinema, and for allowing us to relate to some of the most memorable characters to grace the screen.

Beyond the catchy one-liners and whippersnapper exchanges, however, lies a compelling story that allows us to connect on a deeply personal level.

Indeed, this is why so many screenwriters choose to adapt best-selling novels for the big screen, having a clear blueprint for success that’s sure to work.

Screenwriting 101

Contrary to popular opinion, even with a best-selling book as your inspiration, there’s a chance you might butcher the script without realizing it. This is mainly due to the challenges of adapting a book into a visual story, where poignant and poetic descriptions take a backseat to technical filmmaking prowess.

Of course, when it comes to creating an original screenplay, the stakes are even higher. You’re not only expected to tell an authentic story, but deliver it in a way that’s engaging and relatable.

Here are some major screenwriting red-flags and ways to avoid them.

Too Many Details

Great writers, like great filmmakers, have an eye for detail. Unfortunately, when it comes to penning a script, adding too many instructions and descriptions can act as a limitation, and subsequently obstruct the vision of your actors and director.

Remember, great actors are open to instructions, but ultimately use their imagination to bring their character to life.

Refrain from going into unnecessary details, and avoid punctuating your dialogue with too many “beats” and fillers.

Expository Dialogue

There’s no denying the power of special effects in a CGI-dominated film industry. Sadly, powerful visuals don’t compensate for weak writing.

Even the breathtaking visuals of Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, for instance, couldn’t make up for what many described as expository dialogue. Save yourself the trouble of explaining the story through dialogue.

Assume your audience is intelligent and give them the benefit of the doubt.

Everyone Sounds the Same

One sure-fire sign of an amateur screenwriter is that every character sounds more or less like the same person. This is a major writing flaw that can easily be corrected by asking the following questions about each character you create:

1) Who is this person?

2) What’s their background?

3) What’s their personal vocabulary?

4) Who are they speaking to?

The more you develop and visualize each character before writing their lines, the more distinctive they’re likely to sound.

For more screenwriting tips and guidance, turn to a screenwriting professional with experience in TV and film.

We’re a video production company, serving the heartland of the United States. We specialize in a range of production services, including commercials and corporate videos for some of the biggest clients in Kansas City.

Check out some of our original content and get in touch with us for screenwriting consultations today!

for some of the most quotable lines in cinema, and for allowing us to relate to some of the most memorable characters to grace the screen.

Beyond the catchy one-liners and whippersnapper exchanges, however, lies a compelling story that allows us to connect on a deeply personal level.

Indeed, this is why so many screenwriters choose to adapt best-selling novels for the big screen, having a clear blueprint for success that’s sure to work.

Screenwriting 101

Contrary to popular opinion, even with a best-selling book as your inspiration, there’s a chance you might butcher the script without realizing it. This is mainly due to the challenges of adapting a book into a visual story, where poignant and poetic descriptions take a backseat to technical filmmaking prowess.

Of course, when it comes to creating an original screenplay, the stakes are even higher. You’re not only expected to tell an authentic story, but deliver it in a way that’s engaging and relatable.

Here are some major screenwriting red-flags and ways to avoid them.

Too Many Details

Great writers, like great filmmakers, have an eye for detail. Unfortunately, when it comes to penning a script, adding too many instructions and descriptions can act as a limitation, and subsequently obstruct the vision of your actors and director.

Remember, great actors are open to instructions, but ultimately use their imagination to bring their character to life.

Refrain from going into unnecessary details, and avoid punctuating your dialogue with too many “beats” and fillers.

Expository Dialogue

There’s no denying the power of special effects in a CGI-dominated film industry. Sadly, powerful visuals don’t compensate for weak writing.

Even the breathtaking visuals of Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, for instance, couldn’t make up for what many described as expository dialogue. Save yourself the trouble of explaining the story through dialogue.

Assume your audience is intelligent and give them the benefit of the doubt.

Everyone Sounds the Same

One sure-fire sign of an amateur screenwriter is that every character sounds more or less like the same person. This is a major writing flaw that can easily be corrected by asking the following questions about each character you create:

1) Who is this person?

2) What’s their background?

3) What’s their personal vocabulary?

4) Who are they speaking to?

The more you develop and visualize each character before writing their lines, the more distinctive they’re likely to sound.

For more screenwriting tips and guidance, turn to a screenwriting professional with experience in TV and film.

We’re a video production company, serving the heartland of the United States. We specialize in a range of production services, including commercials and corporate videos for some of the biggest clients in Kansas City.

Check out some of our original content and get in touch with us for screenwriting consultations today!

Leave a Comment