Writing a movie script – 13 things you should do to get your screenplay rejected

 

By Pinaki Ghosh

Know more about the writer of this article.

Writing a movie script? Want to know the 13 secrets to get your screenplay rejected for sure? Read on.

1. Offer camera directions in your screenplay

Don’t trust the intelligence of the director or cinematographer and offer camera directions in your script like, ‘pan’, ‘zoom’, ‘dolly’, ‘trolley shot’ or ‘low angle shot’. That will make your script look like one from history and is a definite way of getting it rejected.

2. Offer editing directions in your screenplay

Similarly, go ahead… show a complete disregard to the editor’s intelligence and write editing instructions like ‘cut to’, ‘dissolve’, etc. and your screenplay will look like a thing of the past. In modern day screenplays editing directions are no longer in vogue. Only ‘fade in’ and ‘fade out’ are used twice or thrice in an entire screenplay.

3. Do not capitalize character names

Do not capitalize the character names in the beginning, while writing a movie script. Leave them in lowercase text and your screenplay will be rejected for sure. Similarly, leave words that denote sound, like WHOOSH, or CLANG in lowercase, to show how little you know.

4. Make your screenplay shorter than 90 pages or longer than 140 pages

While writing a movie script, you should definitely make it longer than 130 pages, or shorter than 90 pages to make sure your screenplay goes straight into the trash bin, because normal screenplays are 90 pages to 130 pages in length.

5. Write very lengthy dialogs

Writing a movie script? Love writing interesting dialogs? Then go ahead and make them lengthy. Make each dialog lengthier than 5 lines and that will ensure your screenplay is ripped and made into paper airplanes.

6. Write very lengthy scenes

While writing a movie script, make sure your scenes are lengthy enough to get the screenplay rejected. While normally scenes are less than a page in length to maximum three pages, with 5 page scenes being an exception; you should concentrate in making your scenes more than 5 pages in length… to join the rejected screenplay writers’ club.

7. Write lengthy descriptions

While the normal length of writing a scene description is 1 to 4 lines, you should break the rule and write at least 10 line scene descriptions to be a part of the frustrated screenwriters’ league.

8. Use character names that sound and spell similar

Make your character names sound confusingly similar. Or make them start with the same letter, so that the viewers are thoroughly confused.

9. Use character names for very minor characters

Give character names to even minor characters that appear just once and have one line dialogs, to prove you want to get your screenplay rejected. While the rule is, you should use the professions to identify minor characters, rather than names, a violation of the rule is recommended if you want to do the opposite of normal.

Eg.

POLICE OFFICER

 

Show me your driving license. God save you if you don’t have one.

 

The above is normal, if this POLICE OFFICER appears only once in the entire movie. In a good screenplay, a name like ‘HARRY’ or ‘TOM’ or ‘DICK’ would have been inappropriate for this role.

 

10. Use wired slug lines.

Scenes start with slug lines like:

INT. COFFEE HOUSE – NIGHT

Or

EXT. BEACH – DAY

While normal screenplay writers use only ‘day’ or ‘night’, you can be a rebel and use wired slug lines like DUSK, DAWN, SUNSET TIME, SUNRISE TIME, to stay ahead in the race of getting your screenplay rejected.

11. Make a mess of the alignment

And finally, make a mess of the alignment. While the rule is, scene slug lines and action descriptions should be extreme left aligned, character names should be center aligned and dialogs should be left aligned, but an inch towards the right.

Eg. Correct format:

 

EXT. ROAD – DAY

POLICE OFFICER

Show me your driving license. God save you if you don’t have one.

Sees the license.

POLICE OFFICER (CONT’D)

This license has expired three months ago. Please come out of the car mister.

He opens the door and COLLIN walks out of the car.

 

Wrong format:

 

EXT. ROAD – DAY

POLICE OFFICER

Show me your driving license. God save you if you don’t have one.

Sees the license

POLICE OFFICER (CONT’D)

This license has expired three months ago. Please come out of the car mister.

He opens the door and COLLIN walks out of the car.

12. Use plenty of mood descriptions throughout the screenplay

Use of phrases in brackets like (smiles), (looks worried), (laughs out loud) with every possible dialog to prove yourself to be a complete novice. Experienced screenwriters avoid using such phrases as far as possible because these are for the director to decide. Three such uses in a complete good screenplay are allowed.

13. Do not visualize

While writing a movie script, write it just for the sake of writing it. Do not visualize anything in your mind’s eye. Do not bother if your scenes will be picturesque or boring.

And of course, do not take the help of the premier screenwriting and script consultancy service TheScreenplayWriters.com, because this team of screenwriters is so good and powerful, your screenplay will never be rejected. To make sure your screenplay is rejected, they should be strictly avoided.