You've finished your Screenplay and IT SUCKS - WHAT to do
This post will be structured in a way so that you ask yourself the necessary questions that propel you to make the necessary changes to your first, second or third draft that you don’t get to make it work.
Questions that need an answer:
Active vs Passive character
- Have you made clear the objective/goal of your protagonist in the 1 act?
- Is your protagonist an active piece of the puzzle or are all the clues given to him?
- Is your protagonist the one that tells others what to do or is it the other way around?
If one of the previous answer to one of the questions stated above is that he doesn’t do much, I bet you have a passive main character.
Fix it by making your main character an active piece of the puzzle.
Verbalization of the story
- Do your characters talk out the whole plot?
If one of your characters talk about all that is about to happen in the movie and there are no surprised and actually the story follows the same paths as the one described… you end up with a boring story.
Fix it with subtext.
The villain being a villain
- Does the villain in your movie doesn’t really do anything terrible that threatens your main character from achieving his goal?
Fix it by making the bad guy even worse.
- Does your plot spiral to a climax?
If not what you need to do is make your plot as a kind of repetitive spiral in which the conclusion is reached through an inevitable climax.
The way you do this is by not only showing us the persecution between the bad guy and the hero but by meanwhile revealing character flaws, doubts, fears… by revealing how all that is happening is affecting our main character/s.
Fix it by going back and revealing character as the same conflict patterns repetively show up in your story.
- Does your Screenplay do not have a wide range of emotions? Does your Screenplay basically explore one human emotion?
Go back and fix it by exploring a wider range of emotions through your characters’ eyes so the audience can see themselves reflected on them.
“To the point” dialogue
- Does your movie take really long to get to the point because there a lot of lines of dialogue in which you talk about common stuff from real life but do not have any depth for the story?
Fix it by giving to your characters lines that most people may not say in real life but that will make them interesting.
No Character Arc
- Does your character follow a journey in which he ends up being the same that when he started? Is he the same as when he started?
If the answer is yes, you need to go even more far back in time to explore the moment of suffering in which your character needed to by all means change.and better tell that story.
- Do all the characters in your movie get all mixed up when you try to tell the story? Do people find it really difficult to identify each character?
Fix this by giving each of your character a flaw that it’s part of their identitym may it be a physical flaw or a psychological one.
- Can any human understand your story because at their core it talks about a human need?
- Does your movie talk about one of these basic and primal desires at their core?
Examples of a primal desire:
- Desire to protect their family
- Desire to protect their home
- Desire to find a partner
- Desire for vengeance
- Desire to survive
- Desire to know oneself
- Desire to know the world that surrounds us
- Desire of significance
- Desire for certainty
So keep an eye on how does your screenplay answers these questions to make it better and see you next time!