13 Choices Amateur Filmmakers Make

The sequel to the 12 Choices Amateur Screenwriters Make, here are 13 choices that amateur filmmakers make.

1) All the writing choices I already mentioned (duh!)

2) Stupid camera shit, like:

  • Dolly zooms

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12 Choices Amateur Screenwriters Make

amateur pro

Screenwriting is hard, I know; I’m still learning how to do it right. I also know that it’s not just writing that is hard, thinking like a writer – like a professional writer – is also hard, probably harder in fact.

In the last year I’ve posted several requests for short scripts, and as a result have read over 500 amateur screenplays (or at least the first five pages, or at least the first page). In doing so, and also in looking back on my own writing and my experiences in writing classes, I started to notice certain things, certain signs that scripts and the writers writing them are not up to snuff. That they are amateur, with the same voice and experience as every other amateur out there.

Also see: 13 Choices Amateur Filmmakers Make

Note: this post is not about execution. Things like bad grammar and typos, inactive protagonists and low stakes, unnatural dialog, these are all signs of amateur writing but they are on the execution front and there are plenty of blogs that cover these topics already. This post is different. This post is about common choices amateurs make. And while technically it is possible for an novice to write a professional quality script after making these choices, it is not likely and if your writing falls into these categories, it’s very likely that you are an amateur, that you are thinking like an amateur, and that your script is the same as every other amateur script out there.

Okay, here goes:

1. Writing about writers

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Cluck Cluck Silence

Write one sentence. Then write another without violating the first one. Continue until complete

CLUCK CLUCK SILENCE

Okay, this is bullshit. That bullshit situation and why do they do this? To prove themselves. To prove that they’re so hot we’ll do anything for them. Risk the ridicule of their friends for the chance to maybe get somewhere, something, maybe. Women, so fucking bullshit, with their troubles and their needs and their talk talk talk, wine me dine me talk. But so fucking worth it.

Especially this one, eying me, across the bar. Surrounded by friends, Mrs. Motherhen and the Ugly One and it’s all so cliché. Nothing cliché about her though, pretty as can be, and she’s definitely eying me.

Okay, lets do it. Finish your beer and go. Talk to her. Fuck the others, she’s yours, she wants you. Be brave. Walk over. Yes. Her eyes follow, you’re in, she’s yours, closer, across the bar, her eyes locked in, away, back, giving me the signs. Twenty feet, fifteen, ten, she looks away. Playing innocent, I get it, I saw you. Five, three, one.

“Hello,” I say. I’ve never been good with game; hello’s all I got. “Not interested,” says Mrs. Motherhen. Fuck you bitch, I ain’t talking to you. No one is. I smile. Chicks love the smile. “Can I get you a drink?” “I said she’s not interested.” Cluck cluck cluck, that’s all I hear, as I stare at the girl. I’m in, she’s with me, staring back, eye contact, the most powerful connection one can make.

“Cluck cluck cluck why are you still here cluck cluck cluck.” Okay seriously, this bitch, say something lady, get up and lets go, before I smack her. This fucking cunt, ruining my time, my game, which I don’t have much of, and fuck, she’s just sitting there, I don’t get it. “Bartender cluck cluck cluck, this guy is bothering us. Make him leave.” What? Fucking hen, fucking bitch, making eye contact still, just sitting there, not moving, and now I look like an ass, an idiot. Nothing to say, no idea what to do. Fuck, I should just crawl up and die. The bouncer comes and I don’t resist, just walk away, defeated, dead, done.

One look back and there are the three girls, no eye contact, just laughing. Fuck.