Let John August Show You How to Spruce Up Your Shabby Screenplay Step by Step

Every filmmaker knows that boring an audience means unequivocal failure.

And I'm not just talking about the audience sitting in seats watching your movie. Your film will have a number of different audiences at different stages of its development, but one in particular acts as the gatekeeper that will let your project begin its long and tiresome journey. I'm talking, of course, about the people that will read your script. 

Your story can be the most interesting thing since your first real love circa age 12, but if it's not written in a way that's meant to grab your audience (like the way you wanted to grab your first real love circa age 12), then it won't really matter. In these video tutorials from 2009 (oldies but goodies), John August gives some excellent pro tips on how to spruce up your shabby writing, including how to enter a scene in an interesting way, how to write better scene descriptions, and how to make your action more -- action-y.

It's really hard to say exactly how a script should be written in terms of style. Should you be super detailed? Should you be floral with your wording or to the point? Should you be -- ugh -- funny? I suppose it depends on who ends up reading it, which means there's no real answer. However, no one wants to read a boring screenplay. In fact, there are plenty of reasons other than being boring why your screenplay would be passed overRemember that scripts are read by people who read mountains of them a day for a living -- many times begrudgingly, so if by some amazing stroke of luck you get one of these poor individuals to read yours, you'd better make the first pages really captivate them enough to want to recommend it to agents, managers, and producers.

August's advice on how to enter a scene, as well as writing better scene descriptions and action will definitely help you make those first few pages really substantial and interesting to read. What advice can you offer to your fellow screenwriters that'll help them spruce up their screenplays? Share your thoughts in the comments below!     

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Could tell it was old because he's not using courier prime.

August 30, 2015 at 7:40AM

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Brooks Reynolds
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