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Manuel Marino Music Composer

November 14: The Film-Makers’ Coop presents: One Eye, Two “I’s” with P. Adams Sitney
Photo by uniondocs

Hopefully, you have read my initial post on errors that authors make in their early attempts, and often in later ones, at adapting their books into screenplays. If you haven’t, that’s alright. Each of these articles can be understood on its own. So, let’s get started.

FAILURE TO CAPITALIZE CHARACTER NAMES – When introducing a character for the first time, their name should be ENTIRELY IN CAPITAL LETTERS, like JOHN SMITH. After that, use standard capitalization.

OVERLY SPECIFIC CHARACTER DESCRIPTIONS – Many novice screenwriters try to envision their characters as specific individuals, like a George Clooney or Salma Hayek type. This can make casting particularly challenging, especially if you cannot secure those stars for your film. Instead, keep character descriptions more general, such as “athletic, in their early 30s.”

ATTEMPTING TO DIRECT THE SCRIPT – Some modern writers include camera angles and background music in their scripts. AVOID DOING THIS. It can label you as an amateur.

LONG, COMPLEX SENTENCES – Use simple sentences in your descriptive passages so that the producer does not have to pause and decipher your meaning. It’s a great way to avoid having them discard your script and move on to the next one.

EXTENSIVE DESCRIPTIVE PARAGRAPHS – Nobody wants to read lengthy, uninterrupted blocks of text, particularly producers and directors. Break up your descriptions into short paragraphs. If you secretly aspire to direct films, using brief paragraphs is a subtle way of indicating where specific shots or angles can begin, without explicitly stating it, as suggested by some screenwriting coaches.

FAILURE TO BUILD DRAMATIC TENSION – Another significant mistake is maintaining the same level of conflict, or lack thereof, throughout the story An Artist Portrait (Part Two) - This is the Part Two (and final part) of the true life story as artist written by Frank V. Cahoj for our Weblog. (Part One) An Artist Portrait (Part Two) I give an unbelievable amount of credence to these two early periods in my life: one of everlasting creation, one of analysis and disillusionment. The… . A screenplay should have escalating tension and increasing stakes until reaching the climax, which should be the most intense scene in the entire screenplay.

EXCESSIVE VERBOSITY – Film dialogue is not like real-life conversation. Eliminate all unnecessary chitchat, such as saying hello, asking how someone is, and discussing what they did last night, unless it reveals character and advances the story. If it doesn’t move the story forward, cut it. Every action a character takes and every word they speak must propel the story in some way.

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Screenwriting for Authors - Don't Make These Common Mistakes

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