JUDGING SCREENPLAYS FOR COMPETITIONS (2012)


I’m now in full swing in my reading for various screenplay competitions and various coverage services, including my own, and I thought I would occasionally share some observations I have made.
I have noticed that the genre, themes and plots that most interest me are mysteries of some sort.   At the same time, simply because they hold my interest the most, that doesn’t seem to be helping the screenplays do any better than any others and the reason they fall short falls into a couple of categories:  
1.  The author hasn’t shown their scripts to experts in law authority or the legal profession and the story isn’t particularly believable.
2.  The fact that it is a genre that interests me most can ironically make it harder to make an impact since it may be harder to find a way to make this particular story stand out from all the hundreds of others I’ve read.
3.  Usually the area where a genre stands out is in characters, but though these screenplays often have an interesting plot or hook, the characters often take second place and aren’t very compelling.  Writers often don’t understand that it doesn’t matter how well structured or clever a plot is, without original and vibrant characters, the screenplay is almost never going to go anyplace. 
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