So your screenplay is ready to submit. But WAIT! Is it?? How do you know … Make sure you work through these eleven steps first!
1) Get feedback. Don’t send out a first draft. JUST DON’T DO IT. But make sure you know *how* to utilize feedback, too. Don’t just argue the toss with feedback-givers, try and shove in/answer ALL notes, or let feedback paralyse or demotivate you. That way madness lies! MORE: 5 Ways To Use Feedback Effectively
2) Check your characters. Are they all pulling their weight? How do you know? Each character’s role function should be defined, plus their motivations clear. Readers should be able to appreciate not only who performs the protagonist and antagonists’ functions, but WHY secondary characters help or hinder them in their respective goals. MORE: Top 5 Ways Writers Screw Up Their Characters, plus check out the new B2W Resource The Character Role function & Motivation Guide
3) Nail down that structure. Doesn’t matter how you do it, just know HOW you’re doing it and WHY. If you’re using The Three Acts, how are you setting up and paying off? If you’re going for something else, how can we tell it’s that method (and not a mistake)? MORE: How To Elevate Your Writing
4) Get Visual. How are you rendering your story as IMAGES? How are your scene openers? How are you ensuring your pictures GRAB the reader? MORE: How To Make Your Screenplay Visual
5) Shiny Up Those Scenes. Each scene should play its part in adding up to the WHOLE STORY. Make each moment count. MORE: Are You Making Any Of These 20 Killer Errors In Your Screenplay’s Scenes?
6) Sizzle That Scene Description. Scene description is SCENE ACTION. If your characters are what they DO, then why are they doing it? Don’t go overboard and overwrite – Less is more and all that jazz. MORE: 10 Ways To Revitalise Your Scene Description
7) Dazzle That Dialogue. Remember, SCREENplay all the way … so your dialogue MUSTN’T take over your scenes. Review each page and get ruthless. Make your characters earn the RIGHT to speak. MORE: 6 Reasons Dialogue Is Your Enemy
8) Showcase that voice. We’ve got enough vanilla screenplays … so make sure yours is MIGHTY FLAVOURSOME. Work out how your voice comes across, even if someone took the title page and your name off. MORE: 7 Ways Of Showcasing Your Writer’s Voice In Your Screenplay
9) Proofread! Look, the least any writer can do is make sure a screenplay looks good on the page, right? So shiny up that format and make sure your grammar and punctuation is correction. MORE: The Least You Can Do
10) Research! Get out there and query – but DON’T annoy people, sending them stuff that’s outside their remit. Be professional. Make those relationships and it’ll pay dividends. MORE: 7 Submission “Don’ts!” From The Person Who Has To Read Your Script
11) BELIEVE! You can get those script requests and get to where you want to be if you decide on a strategy and KEEP AT IT. Good luck! MORE: 5 Career Strategies For Writers
- More articles by Lucy V. Hay
- Jeanne’s Screenwriting Tips: Polishing a Screenplay
- Primetime: How Do I Submit My Scripts to TV Shows?
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