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Can every screenplay be improved to the point of becoming great?

Updated: May 4, 2021

Short answer? No. However, before answering this question in more detail, we have to go a little back.

After working as a reader for an international screenwriting contest and having read over 600 scripts in a year (imagine that!), I've come to notice there are many reasons why a script can be bad. However, in my experience, bad scripts can be divided into two categories: weak execution and weak concept.

Weak Execution Scripts


Weak execution scripts are those that have an acceptable or even a great, high-concept idea but fail to execute it in a strong enough way to make the story engaging and memorable. We've all heard that ideas are a dime in a dozen in Hollywood. However, as Earl Nightingale once said, "Everything begins with an idea."

If your script has a good concept behind it, you're off to a good start. And, although the execution is the most crucial element of the script, we've all heard of the very rare --but real-- cases of terrible scripts that sold because they had a great premise.

In these cases, yes, the script is probably worth saving. If you have a great idea, then, most likely, a good story can be developed out of it. You might have to go back and do a page one rewrite but, if you're willing to put in the work, you might be thanking yourself in the future.

We've all heard that ideas are a dime in a dozen in Hollywood. However, as Earl Nightingale once said, "Everything begins with an idea."

Weak Concept Scripts


On the other side of the coin are those much more common scripts, in which their concept is just not strong enough. They might have an acceptable execution, but its premise forbids them from turning into something memorable or that can evoke emotions.

It was surprising to see how many of those 600+ scripts were projects that, technically, did everything right: active protagonists, clear structure, conflict in the scene... but still, felt mediocre at best, unable to evoke any emotions or make readers care. In these cases, it is most likely that not even a great execution can save the script.


How can I tell if my script is in any of those categories?


Well, at times, you can tell when you reread it after putting it to sleep for a couple of weeks. After all, writing is rewriting. You will notice many flaws you didn't see when you were writing it, and that's okay. That's the writing process, as painful as it is gratifying.

However, it's important to remember that, as writers, we only have a limited amount of time and energy, which makes it fundamental that we know, right from the first draft, if our script is worth continue working on. Similarly, as writers of our own work, it can be challenging to look at our material with objective eyes. In these cases, external opinions can be very beneficial to execute a detailed diagnosis of the project.

As writers of our own work, it can be challenging to look at our material with objective eyes

Here at ScreenReaders, we would be honored to read your work and provide you with thorough feedback to help you see your script with fresh eyes. We want to help you determine if it is worth continuing to invest time and energy in the project. You can check our services and highly affordable prices here.

Feel free to check the testimonials of happy writers that found our notes useful here.











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