Top 5 Mistakes Screenwriters Make

When it comes to screenwriting, a lot of us make those easy to make mistakes. As a script consultant, I can tell you I've been there to in my scripts and just to do something a bit different, I'll give you the top 5 mistakes screenwriters make.


5: Story starts with the inciting incident

When you're writing a film, you don't want to start with the big bad news first because we don't know much about who the protagonist is when we first see them on screen. If you don't set up the film and show some of their background of who they are and why they act the way they do, we don't have a reason to root for them throughout the film. I once came across a script and the writer started with the inciting incident and although their script was good, I didn't have an idea of who their protagonist was as a person and why I should root for them to succeed.

4: Pacing is uneven

Pacing is really important to any film! You don't want to have a pattern of short scene, long scene, short scene, long scene, short scene, short scene, long scene, short scene. The problem with that pattern is, the audience is going to get lost and confused, thus losing interest. Like making love, you want to go at a nice steady pace. You don't want to rush your scenes, but at the same time, you don't want to drag your scenes too long.


3: The Protagonist Doesn't Have a Flaw

Believe it or not, everyone has flaws. It's what makes us human. Without having a flaw, there are not stakes. The protagonist can easily go from point A to point B and the film would be pointless. Without a flaw, there is no lesson and without a lesson, there is no story.


2: On the Nose Dialogue

I am willing to admit I do this sometimes too, and it happens. The main rule of screenwriting is "show don't tell" and it's a bit tough. As writers, we want to show a characters backstory so we get an idea of what they've been through and have the audience relate to them in a way. Based on what I've learned in screenwriting, sometimes it's okay to have a little bit of on the nose dialogue, but you don't want to do it too much because the audience will lose interest. An example of on the nose dialogue would be an evil villain explaining their plan and how they're going to go about it so they can get what they want. Or perhaps another example of on the nose dialogue is a character explaining their inner thoughts out loud.

Number 1: Let me know!

You're probably wondering what number 1 is right? The reason I'm leaving number 1 blank is because it varies on the writer and what they're working on. There might be some writers who might think their number one mistake is already on this list or maybe it's something no one has ever thought of. I'd like to hear your opinions on what you think the number 1 answer is! Remember, there are no wrong answers! If you have time, leave a comment or reach out to me! I would be more than happy to talk to you about this and help you with your script!

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