Here’s a little secret: When an experienced reader or development professional opens your script, it takes no more than 1 minute to tell whether or not you’re a professional or amateur, and whether they should bother reading your script at all.
So before you submit a script anywhere, know what you’re up against.
Here are a the first 3 things that you should know about the first line of the defense that every script passes through:
- The first thing a reader does is judge your title: Titles matter. The title is thee first impression. If the title is bad, the reader will assume the script is bad, and the odds are officially against you. Make sure your title has a nice ring to it, and that it harmonizes with the tone and genre of your story.
- The second thing a reader does is read the logline: A professional logline is key. Keep it short, simple, and refer to our video on loglines for details on how to write a proper logline.
- The third thing a reader does is flip through the pages: A professional script has a distinct look. By flipping through a script, a professional can immediately tell whether your script is the writing of an amateur or a pro. Watch our video on the 10 essentials to screenwriting success to get more details.
When an experience development professional picks up your script, they look for reasons to put your material down. Avoid these amateur mistakes so that you’re not eliminated before the read even begins:
- Poor formatting: It’s obvious from the look of the page whether you know how to format. If you’re unsure of modern formatting standards, watch our video on formatting.
- Scene numbers. Easily spotted on the first page. Until your spec script gets financing, casting, a director, and a production team, it has no business using scene numbers.
- Lists of any kind. Cast list. Location list. Prop list. Day/night breakdowns. Let the producers and the prop department make the lists.
- Stage directions. That includes telling the actors how they’re supposed to “look” or “feel” in a scene, or how you want the director to place the camera or block the movements of characters.
If you have any doubts about your scripts viability, enter it into the Feature, TV, or Short competition. If you want comprehensive and constructive feedback that can help push you craft to the next level, order full analysis today!