1. Open strong
Start with a bang. Decision makers read tons of scripts daily (and nightly) make sure yours gives them a reason to continue; time is literally money in Hollywood. While tradition has suggested it’s important to hook the reader in the first 10 pages, experts have suggested that scriptwriters cut that time in half to make it interesting. To do that, create conflict quickly and make it interesting. You only get one chance.
2. Keep description short and sweet
As a writer, you know how every detail about the story and how it should be carried. Thus, it’s hard not to exact every bit of intricate detail to put into the script to ensure that reader sees what you see. Boil the info down to the basics and allow the reader to fill in the blanks.
3. Mix it up
Yes, it’s been nearly a century since the silent movie; no one’s suggesting that. However, it’s very important to keep a balance between dialogue and action. Consider what you would want to see on the screen. A show or movie with people just talking at each would be boring to viewers. The same goes for the readers of your script.
4. Think outside the box
If you’ve seen it before, chances are everyone’s seen it before and nobody wants to see it again. Creating an entirely original piece is difficult but rewarding if you’re looking to make progress. Start with the absurd and boil it down to something worthwhile once you’ve allowed your creativity to flow. The same old, same old is just that.
5. Employ the Goldilocks Method
No script should be too short or too lengthy. Give yourself enough space to tell a good story, in full, and nothing more. Flesh out any details that are necessary to the plot or character; likewise, remove any extraneous moments and ideas. Make it “just right”.
6. Proofread, Proofread, Proofread Again
Any grammatical errors, misspellings or improper punctuation is the wrong first impression and could automatically become trashed, even if the content is good. Proofread everything, but not just once. Let the script sit for a while then go back with a fresh set of eyes, or even find a trusted friend or partner that can take a look at it for you.
7. Less is more
As a creative, it’s natural to have so many ideas as well as urges to get them out. When it comes to characters. Less is more. Spend your energy developing individual characters instead introducing 20 different ones. Readers won’t always be able to make the connections between new characters and those previously introduced. A confused reader is an uninterested reader, and as stated before, the goal is to make everything as clear as possible.
8. Make it interesting
Another way to keep things interesting but simple is including conflict in your storyline. As often as possible, create a need, a desire, or an actual conflict/fight for your characters.
9. Pace yourself
One thing to remember however, is to not use all of your good conflicts in one place. It’s important to make sure that every part of your story, from beginning to middle to end is interesting and relevant. One of the biggest problems for screenwriters is inability to maintain interest throughout the entire script. Remember, balance is the most important thing for this work.
10. Finish well
The way the story ends is just as important as the beginning. Some even suggest writing the ending before the beginning, that way you have a map for how to get there. Otherwise, you’ve done everything else right from above, then you get to the end, and you’ve lost your way, or don’t resolve the conflict. Always have a good, clear goal. Think of it as an opportunity to seal the deal. If someone’s made it to the end of your script, they’re interested. Make it worth their while.