20 Things You Just Did Wrong When You Wrote Your First Screenplay

Trust us: it's probably not ready yet.

Oh, you just finished your first screenplay, did you? Congratulations. That's no mean feat, pal. You'll be the next Paddy Chayefsky in no time. Mind if I take a quick look? Thanks! Now lemme see here... okay... act one... uh... all right... you're really... you're really going with that...? Listen: writing a screenplay isn't easy. Even writing a bad screenplay is hard work. For those first time writers who assume that the moment that they finish their first draft there's absolutely no reason to ever go back and fiddle with what they've written, well... let us level with you here, buddy. It's no good. It's terrible. It really sucks in its current form. That's right. It sucks. As novelist Ernest Hemingway once quipped: "The first draft of anything is sh*t." So that first, "genius" screenplay you just sent out to all those Hollywood producers? It's a load of old codswallop - a smorgasbord of amateur mistakes and newbie errors. No matter how confident you are, if it's your first screenplay, you probably done goofed. A lot. Don't fret, though. We're here to help you pull that Godawful first script out of the pits. Here's 20 Things You Just Did Wrong When You Wrote Your First Screenplay...
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Sam Hill is an ardent cinephile and has been writing about film professionally since 2008. He harbours a particular fondness for western and sci-fi movies.