What We’ve Learned from Reading 2000+ Scripts

WriterDuet’s free screenwriting competitions gave us the opportunity to see a wide range of writing styles. While doing so, we felt that some common screenwriting tips would help many of the scripts, and we want to share our thoughts on why.

Here are our biggest takeaways, which aren’t absolutes but seem generally useful to consider:

Characters Captivated Us When They Wanted Things Real Bad

A strong desire can lead characters down some wild, intriguing paths. We were hooked by characters who demonstrated what they were trying to achieve, without long stretches of expository dialogue. Our favorite scripts were those that used behavior to show characters working for their desires, and shifting their tactics when facing ever-increasing obstacles.

Instead of leaning on characters saying exactly what they’re after, the best scripts have characters who just go for it, and take readers with them on their journey.

We Preferred Scripts That Let Us Imagine The Movie For Ourselves

Your script is a blueprint that might someday guide a production team to create a film, but until then, that’s not your audience. As readers, we’re capable of creating the movie in our heads without every camera direction and intricate detail of the setting spelled out for us. Reading unnecessary descriptions interrupts our flow, and limits our imagination.

Our goal is to get so caught up in your storytelling that we forget we’re reading a script at all, we’re so busy picturing the movie. Think about your scripts from the perspective of readers; if all your words are serving us, or slowing us down

Reading Scripts Makes You A Better Writer, Faster

While writing, we find it easy to become numb to our own limitations. Have you ever written something you loved, then come back to it years later to wonder what horrible monster rewrote your beautiful story? Reading other scripts shortcuts that process, because you can think more critically of others and apply the same lessons to your own work immediately.

Look for scripts that are written with a style you enjoy, regardless of the experience level of the writer. Reading the best professional scripts is great for inspiration and gives you a target to aim for, but when you’re in the early stages of writing, we think the practical lessons gained from seeing flaws in other scripts is even more important. And the act of sharing your feedback with another writer will help cement the concept for yourself!

Want To Start Reading Some Scripts?

Check out the Finalists & Winning Screenplays from WriterDuet’s 48-Hour Screenplay Throwdown contests!

Share Your Scripts With Each Other!

WriterDuet wants to build “the world’s largest writers group” with our new platform WriterDuet Read!

Create a Publish link of your script and post it in the comment section below along with a quick logline. Read each other’s scripts and give each other feedback!

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