Writers of the world, okay well let’s focus on screenwriters of the world today.
I have been reading tons of scripts lately and the biggest thing that I see is this.
You are not describing your characters in the right way. Saying things like, ‘he has little man’s complex” while funny does not tell me who he is. If you said something describing him by his height, his clothes, his car, his age, etc.. I will know that he has little man complex, and you should also be doing these things through the characters actions and dialogue.
A character’s speech and action tells us everything we need to know about them. You don’t need to make witty banter and or spend three paragraphs explaining what he/she is thinking, we should know that from what he/she says or does.
I have read some really great scripts lately for a contest and I know these could be on the big screen, but sadly they won’t make it because of the writing. I mean the stories are great, but the writers are novelists and not screenwriters. They are spending so much energy being good writers that they are forgetting that the audience can’t and will never see that carefully crafted wording of what your character thinks. This must happen through dialogue and actions.
If you would like me to read your script and give you notes on what I am talking about, I promise you it will help you get past people like me, readers, to the person who needs to see it. I have done classes on dialogue and will be working more on character with people this year. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for rates etc. I would love to help you.
As a screenwriter you have to remember that this is visual medium not a novel. Think about it this way, when you are writing your script, who are you seeing? Write that down. Short, fat, bald, untucked shirt, tight jeans, tall, tan, neatly combed hair, wavy messy hair, Polo shirt, mismatched colors, sneakers, old car, porsche.. etc.. The casting director has much more chance of getting it right if you put it down, as well the reader will know who your hero is right away.