Formatting Mistakes [Get Ready For The #1 Goof]

About 90% of the complaints I hear from agents and producers have to do with formatting mistakes in scene headings, sometimes called slug lines. by David Trottier As a script consultant, I sometimes find myself saying while reading a script, “Where am I?” For example, here’s one of my favorite formatting mistakes: INT. A HECTIC … Read more

Script Check: Handling of Time

One of the main differences between experiencing a story on the screen vs. in print is the handling of time. In a novel you can cheat by writing how much time has passed; on the screen you can only suggest passing time using specific techniques. Don’t summarise In action/description you should not use words or phrases … Read more

In Late, Out Early

When Goldman wrote “get in late and leave early”, he was not talking about how you watch a bad movie. He meant screenwriters should keep scenes to what is essential to the story. No arrivals and departures, no meet & greet or chit-chat. This is one of the fundamental rules in writing a scene, one … Read more

Battling Premature Resolution?

Like anything premature it’s, well … embarrassing. Whenever you set up strong anticipation, let it linger, keep the audience wondering how it is going to be resolved, then push it to a climax and rather than resolving, introduce a new, bigger problem. A signature mistake of the beginning screenwriter is to introduce a suspenseful plot … Read more