Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Common Screenplay Cliches

So, what do *you* think are the most common cliches in the screenplays of new writers? Post them in the comments section!

(looking for script problems for a new article for Script Mag)

- Bill


Anon said...

Two characters tell each other something they already know. Really annoys me.

Wallfly said...

Teenage boy to teenage girl, Are you OK? Teenage girl replies, Yes, I am. Are you OK. Teenage boy replies, Yes I am OK too.

finds life hilarious said...

The writer has never left the state of Kansas, and yet the script is set in "The Underbelly of HOLLYWOOD"

Christian Genzel said...

I got a script recently that had an insane amount of text on every page. Huge paragraphs of prose-like descriptions, sometimes phrased as if the writer really wanted to write a novel. Even when the writer was in "screenplay" mode, the chunks of text sometimes went for half a page without a line break. I gave up reading it all after a few pages.

I hate it when the girl falls in love with the boy only because he's the protagonist. And he falls in love with her because she's pretty and the only woman with more than two lines of dialogue. It happens in a lot of movies, not only in beginners' scripts. I'd like to know *why* these people fall in love or why they're interested in each other, I'd like to see something unique that attracts them to each other.

I often receive scripts that just don't really give a lot of motivation for the characters to do what the story is about. They just do it. But they don't really have anything to lose, or they don't have much incentive to act. I don't think every story has to be about life and death; sometimes it can just be about meeting someone special and having only one night after which the two of them may never see each other again (BEFORE SUNRISE). It depends on the story and on the genre what the stakes are. But if the characters just do something to fill the pages of a screenplay and you never get the feeling that they actively WANT something, they actively FEAR something and actively CHOOSE something, then the story never has the impact it could have.

Anonymous said...

Tell the truth, it's a horror story trying to get past the first 3 pages of most amateur scripts. They usually aren't very creative, just poor imitations of other films/bad TV. The writers don't generally display any intelligence, and may have outright contempt for intelligence.

A lot of times they think the worn out term "badass" is sufficient for a feature film to exist around it. They spend lots of time on message boards typing the word "badass" until you could just conjure up ways to remotely strangle them through the internet.

It's truly at the brink of literacy that these people operate. Any wonder their scripts suck?

One might get the impression that the majority of these scripts are written by fifteen year old boys who have yet to grow any pubic hair.

But they're not! They're written by 18-35 year old boys who have yet to get a basic education.

Is that too cynical?

Click over to Triggerstreet, and then get back to me.

I'm done looking for specific problems in those scripts. I won't read them at all.

James said...

Use of the word cliche.

"That's so cliche!"

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