Last year, a scriptreader read 300 scripts for 5 studios, all the while taking notes on the problems and trends he saw. The number 1 problem? The story started too late in the script.
The scriptreader listed 37 frequently occurring problems, here are the top 20:
- The story begins too late in the script
- The scenes are void of meaningful conflict
- The script has a by-the-numbers execution
- The story is too thin
- The villains are cartoonish, evil-for-the-sake-of-evil
- The character logic is muddy
- The female part is underwritten
- The narrative falls into a repetitive pattern
- The conflict is inconsequential, flash-in-the-pan
- The protagonist is a standard issue hero
- The script favors style over substance
- The ending is completely anti-climactic
- The characters are all stereotypes
- The script suffers from arbitrary complexity
- The script goes off the rails in the third act
- The script's questions are left unanswered
- The story is a string of unrelated vignettes
- The plot unravels through convenience/contrivance
- The script is tonally confused
- The protagonist is not as strong as [he or she needs to] be
In a way, while the information about script problems is helpful, there's a ton more information included here. Like the fact that 270 of the scripts were written by male writer(s). Or that only 2 scripts took place in outer space. Or that the most common location for these films-in-waiting was "some anonymous small town," which just narrowly edged out its exact opposite, a place called "New York City."
So here's to more space, less anonymous small towns.