Hey Filmmakers, Chung Dha here! This video covers 5 beginner script writing mistakes that I have personally encountered in past projects, working with students and beginning filmmakers.
First is not writing a story. You might think everybody should know how to write a story, but many have not even questioned: what makes a story, a story? Have you even ever searched this up?
Because of that, many beginners will write something that misses the fundamental elements, to make a coherent story and it’s noticeable in the final product.
An example is the very first short film I worked on as DOP called Art of flying, it’s literally has no story, the genre of the short film is fem fatale, but it just was an odd comparison film of a guy and a girl, with a very confusing end, link be in the card and description if you want to see it.
But if you are a beginner I suggest you google what makes a story, a story and story structures. Suggest checking out 3 act structure and Dan Harmon story circle which will greatly improve your script writing.
2nd is not being a teamplayer. There is for some odd reason some beginners just don’t see it as a team work and a team effort to make the film. I have seen it several times, new script writers are just so in it for the credit, they would totally avoid any of the ideas / feedback given by other team members. Even when they are legit feedback to fix impossible scenes. Instead they would just write a totally new script in spite, instead of fixing the issues.
Especially often new script writers have limited knowledge of actual filmmaking; they wouldn’t know the possibility of putting certain things to film and writing within a budget and more. Taking feedback from other crew members with experience like Director, Producer and DOP is important to improve your own scripting skills and also learn from all the feedback given.
3rd is writing in too many characters or locations, because they think this will help the production to look like a big budget. The whole story becomes a mess of a lot of one shot or one scene appearances, causing many scenes that veer off the main story and wasting time that could be used to drive the main story. It’s much better to write your story around one or two characters, but only expand to more characters if it is really needed to drive the story. The same goes for locations.
4th is too much telling instead of showing. Like having a lot of exposition dialogue explaining the situation or story. The reason why this is an issue, it’s because people feel more emotions towards things they can see, then listening to someone telling what happened. For example seeing someone beaten up on screen you will see the pain and suffering, but someone just saying he just got beaten up, does not have the same impact. Also people can lie and the audience would take a grain of salt with what is being said and have less compassion for the protagonist, than compared to actually seeing things that have happened to the protagonist.
5th is trying to be the next Tarantino, the big issue is what they hear about Tarantino is that his movies have a lot of homages to other movies, but what they take out of it is that Tarantino copies cool scenes from big movies and makes a cool new movie from it. But the problem is that they just take interesting scenes from different sources and paste them together, making a very incoherent story.
The 2nd part of this is that watching a lot of movies does not make you an instant professional. Many have heard Tarantino being a movie buff and worked at a video archive shop and watched a lot of movies. But it still took him several years of writing scripts and receiving a lot of feedback, till he sold his first script and filmed his own feature film.
I met plenty of beginners trying to dick measure that they watch a lot of movies, while still writing horrible scripts. The reality is people don’t even care about how much you have watched, but how much of your work has resulted into a proper film. Same goes for any position on set, you become a better filmmaker by making films and not just by watching.
As they say practise makes perfect, you have to write many scripts and learn from feedback and mistakes. Every time you will improve and learn a proper formula to write better scripts in the future.
Hope this list helps those who are still learning to script. If there are any other mistakes you have encountered yourself please comment below. And don’t forget to share like and subscribe and I hope to see you in the next video. Bye Bye!