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Manuel Marino Music Composer

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Manuel is a passionate, driven, and techsavvy AV technician, artist and music composer with over ten years of experience, specializing in the captivating world of music and entertainment.

Manuel is an expert in creating soundtracks for short filmsfeature films and video games.

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This is the third article in a series discussing the mistakes commonly made by beginning screenwriters, even if they have experience as novelists. If you haven’t read the previous two articles, this one can stand alone. Here are some more screenwriting errors to avoid:

TOO MUCH INFO TOO SOON – One common mistake is starting the screenplay with an excessive amount of background information. While this might work in a novel, it is fatal and boring in a screenplay. Provide just enough information to pique our interest and to understand what is happening. Then reveal more information as the story unfolds and as we need to know it. Skilled screenwriters often find ways to tantalize the reader, making them eager to learn more, which keeps them engaged and turning the pages.

LONG SCENES – Scenes in modern movies need to be concise, typically lasting 2 to 4 pages, although key scenes can and often should be longer. The preference for shorter scenes is influenced in part by the impact of music videos with their quick-cut visuals and shorter time frames.

ON-THE-NOSE – This term describes dialogue that is overly obvious and lacks creativity. For example, saying “She looks like a hooker” is on-the-nose. A better approach would be: “She has the appearance of someone who should be standing on a street corner, leaning into car windows.”

LOSING TRACK OF THE HERO – Also known as the Protagonist, some beginning screenwriters have a tendency to start the story with one main character and then shift focus to another character. This can be confusing and dilute the impact of the story. I once read a screenplay where the hero wandered off before the climactic battle scene, and some minor characters took over the fight. I’m not making this up.

TOO MANY CHARACTERS – Most films run between 90 minutes to 2 hours. That’s not a lot of time for the audience to connect with and root for a large number of characters. If your story has many characters, you may need to eliminate some of them in the screenplay. Another solution is to combine two or more characters into composite characters who serve multiple purposes. While there have been successful “ensemble” movies, they are challenging to write and are best left to experienced screenwriters.

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