The Marketplace – the reader’s perspective:
“My goal is to assess every script that I get from two standpoints: Is this a strong story and is this a commercial product? I look at the concept and the premise, and then I examine the execution, the structure, and the storyline. Then I’m going to look at the stakes and the tension, the characters, the relationships, the dialogue, whether the material is emotionally resonant, thematically relevant. And then I’ll look at the commercial potential… What are the production values? … Is this a movie that can be made within the right budget?
You know when something is well written. It has a very specific checklist of well-written things. It’s structurally sound, it masterfully utilizes all the right story mechanics – and if it doesn’t, it does so in such a unique and effective way it doesn’t matter.
…who you are and what you’ve been dealing with takes a backseat, and it’s just about the character and being present in the moment. For reading a script, it’s the same thing.
When you submit a script, there’s caring, and there’s caring too much, and there’s not caring enough… Any sort of carelessness in the presentation is a turnoff.
A character description should be as spare as possible – one paragraph with the name in capital letters… Really focus on distilling it to its core. If a writer thinks of a physical habit that they can give to their character, that’s a one-line way to make a character pop.
…the best action should be just four lines… it keeps things moving quickly.
I’d say it’s most important to be passionate about the story that you’re telling… That passion and emotional resonance and that thematic relevance will come off the page, and will immediately elevate your story, and will engage your reader.
The second thing is to make sure your plot logic is coherent. I think the easiest way to do that is by having characters who have goals… every single character should want something…
Writers really just need to understand that it’s a long road.”
Excerpted with quotes from Kat O’Brien
Tales from the Script (2010)