An excerpt from my script review for Da 5 Bloods which will be available 06/29/30:
This script is why I suggest new writers always read a group of popular scripts of varying projects to get an idea of acceptable format.
Similar to my previous arguments of “You’re NOT Quentin Tarantino” neither are you Spike Lee.
Right off the bat we have the second page of the script discussing why he chose to do this project and the inspiration behind it.
For amateur writers…no one cares.
I don’t say that to come across as callous, just that professional readers have multiple spec scripts to read on a daily basis, so it’s up to you to get to the point.
Same goes with how you envision the credits rolling, and unless this project is cheap enough you’ll be making yourself, that’s a creative choice of the director.
Your job in a spec is to deliver a worthwhile story that the reader can’t help but be excited about.
The next minor note is with the wacky capitalization in the description.
If you want to draw attention to certain props, locations, sounds in the action, capitalize the WHOLE word, not just the first letter of each in a sentence. It’s hard on the eyes, and now a reader is wondering why you’re doing this instead of focusing on your story.
When This Opening Credit Sequence Has Concluded The
Audiences’ Mind Will Be Right, Onboard, Strapped In For This
RIDE To Follow. TRUST.
In addition to trying to mimic the style of an established director who plays “outside the box” I want to warn about the dangers of utilizing certain dialects via character dialogue.
Swinging back to Tarantino, one of the things I question, particularly with scripts like Django Unchained, is dialects bordering on racial stereotypes. Perhaps in that case Tarantino got a “pass” because Samuel L. Jackson was playing Stephen.
(For the record there’s no such thing as “getting a pass” in regards to racial slurs and the like. One person cannot speak for an entire ethnicity, religion, creed, etc. Different folks find different things offensive.)
But a lot of the entries of the Bloods had an “urban” dialect to it, and my question was did it need to?
Can’t this particular dialect be argued that it’s feeding into its own stereotype? Or are we using this “pass” notion because the director is Black therefore it’s okay?
See, told you about Fuckin’ wit’ dem White Girls.
Specific dialects are used when it develops a character trait that’s important to the plot. Otherwise, in most cases, it should be avoided allowing the actor to interpret how the character will speak with input from the director.
Similarly, be cautious of using cultural references that may not be known to the average reader.
(Remember, you never know just who is reading your spec so it should be inclusive!)
THE BLOODS START JUMPING UP AND DOWN LIKE THEY ARE Q’S STOMPIN’ AT A GREEK SHOW.
I had zero clue what this meant, and it was another instance where I was jarred from the story wondering about it. (Instead of following the adventure of the Bloods, which is the goal of the writer, immersing the reader in the created world.)
From what I gathered during a search, Q’s refer to Que’s, a nickname given to the pledges of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity and the stomping, I am assuming here, is in relation to the dance on stage at a step show.
(There’s YouTube videos about it.)
Is it an interesting image? Maybe, but can you truly wager that a professional reader is going to take the time to research that on their own, or more than likely count it as another strike towards your script in an effort to ultimately give your project a “pass” of its own?
Lastly in this section is the need to proofread.
Remember it’s the easiest portion of your script to fix, and this script had multiple instances of words that were left in during edits and even one portion on page 99 where the scene must have been edited and two versions of how it unfolds were both left in. This leads to more confusion for your reader, primarily when you’re in the heat of the moment via action or description.
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