As a script editor and head writer for over a decade, I notice mistakes that could easily have been avoided, if the writer just worked a little harder on their craft.
In this blog I’ll point out seven mistakes in the hope that you’ll avoid them and increase your chances of making it as a writer out here.
- Lazy writing: Things that fall in this category are things like un researched material and facts, careless spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and such like things, that distract the script editor from fully being immersed in your written story.
- Un-relatable Characters: The surest way to make your story fall flat is to give the audience characters they can’t relate with. Your characters are the ones driving your story, so make sure they are carrying us along emotionally in their journey.
- Not beating deadlines: I can’t overstate this, if you don’t beat a deadline as a writer on a TV show, it’s not just your episode that gets affected but the entire series. How do you expect the Script editor to read episode 4 before reading episode 3. Not meeting deadlines is one of the surest ways to get yourself ‘not recommended’ for other gigs.
- Predictable twists and turns: The reason the audience is giving you half an hour, one hour or ninety minutes of their time is because they want to be immersed in some journey and forget about life for a moment. When your story is predictable then what’s the point, they might as well check their phones for the jokes and memes in their whatsapp groups. Robert Mckee once said that the audience is not losing attention span, it’s losing interest span. There are so many things competing for the audience attention, make sure you grab and hold your audience interest. The predictable twists and turns also weaken any conflict.
I’ve in the past written a blog post on how to hold your readers’ attention. Find it on my website www.damarisirunguo.com
Or Click on this direct link to the specific blog post https://wordpress.com/post/damarisirunguo.com/489
- Telling Us instead of showing us: TV is a visual medium, make sure you are utilizing it. Think of your story movements in terms of actions and see what you can show us instead of tell us. E.g If a character is angry, instead of them saying they’re angry, how about they clear the stuff on their desk in a huff or throw something to the wall. Show don’t tell. Make sure you’re showing us more than telling us in your script.
- Not sticking to the Tone of the show/story: If you’ve never written in a certain tone, research on it, eat, sleep, dream with that kind of show to make sure you are nailing the tone of what’s expected.
- Not taking Notes given by the Head writer: There’s nothing more annoying than this. There’s a reason the head writer is the head writer and not you, so even if you don’t agree with their notes, examine whether it’s your ego or stubbornness, then put your feelings aside and work on the notes given. One day when you are the head writer you can call the shots. For now, the easiest way to get yourself fired is to give your head writer/showrunner a hard time. I’m not saying don’t push back on notes at all, but know which battles to pick, if it’s something you are deeply passionate about and can’t sleep if you take that note then by all means raise it with the head writer, we are humans and we understand and listen.
Hope you’ve found those tips useful. If you’d like more tips on writing. Head over to my website www.damarisirunguo.com
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Happy Writing and Creating!