I’m one of the judges at International Student Film Organization Short Script Competition and I have received seven short scripts á five pages to read and evaluate.
When I asked if I was allowed to blog about the process, I was told it was okay as long as I didn’t expose any individual script and contestant, but I also got a request not to discourage the students.
I halted. Was I about to write one of these I-wonder-what-this-one-was-thinking-must-be-nuts-advices that only someone that doesn’t recognize him/herself finds funny? And those in need of the advice finds rude and – discouraging.
Ouch. Of course I was about to write about things lacking and not about the amazing things that surprised me.
But, at least I’ll try not to be rude and discouraging.
None of the scripts I got were bad - they all had potential – I just felt a fright within the writing to stand out too much; or a need to be realistic; I don’t want to presume I know what another writer is thinking, I can only gain impression by what is written.
What I miss in many of the scripts is character development. Sure, it is only five pages, but in the world of movie, a character can go from being a devil to a monk within five minutes. Let the story touch the character; make what happens to him or her mean something, make it a turning point in the character’s life.
I am impressed by how many who grasped how a movie script works; that you only can write what can be seen or heard. I have over the years read all too many scripts including background stories and thoughts of characters in the action text. This is a very common beginner’s error. None of “my” writers have made this mistake.
So, every aspiring screenwriter out there in the world, keep on writing, send your best to this contest of next year and let the judges feel your fresh energy flow over the pages. You will write the movies for the next generation.