Rejected: Top 10 Screenwriting Pet Peeves

Why Your Script is Getting Rejected

There are many reasons why a script is rejected by industry folks — often the script is just not a match for the company in terms of budget or genre, or it’s not a fit for what the producer or director is seeking at that very moment.  Sometimes it’s just a matter of luck.  But sometimes, well very often, if not most of the time, it’s because screenwriters are not taking the needed time to fine-tune their scripts and submitting screenplays before they are truly ready to be considered for production.

Here are ten universal pet peeves from film industry executives and story analysts, with whom I have interviewed for various screenwriting and film publications, and for my book The Savvy Screenwriter: How to Sell Your Screenplay (and Yourself) Without Selling Out!  This list is in no particular order — however I do admit that I share all these pet peeves with my colleagues.

Screenwriting Pet Peeves

1.     Incorrect industry screenplay formatting loudly demonstrates to the reader that the screenwriter is an amateur, and doesn’t have respect for his or her work — or for the reader’s time.

2.     Inclusion of camera angles.  Directors do not want to be told how to shoot their movie. Period.

3.     Overuse and/or unnecessary usage of voiceovers, dream sequences, and flashbacks.  This is a red flag for story analysts because these devices are often included when the writer does not know how to craft a screenplay.

4.     Typos, grammatical errors, photocopying lines, smudges, coffee stains, and blank and/or missing pages.  This type of carelessness and sloppiness is a clear strike against the writer.

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