An excerpt from my script review for The Death of Stalin which will be available 03/12/18:

5.) Format

We all have that friend on Facebook with the “perfect” life. Constant posts about how great their relationship is, their kids are, their life…#blessed. Shit that makes us shake our heads.

Sometimes it may even make us mad, constantly throwing their success in our digital faces, but ask yourself this, are they trying to convince you or themselves?

When you take a step back, behavior like this is trying to accomplish two goals, either to convince themselves that things are good, or to give others the impression things are “peachy keenier than they are” because to admit anything else would mean looking like a failure.

This idea crossed my mind as I read because of the first six pages of the script read too much like a sales pitch for a mediocre investment than it did a solid script.

Was Mr. Iannucci (or whoever put the script together) trying to convince me the story was worth my time, or themselves?

Sure a script is an investment, but it needs to be written well enough on its own to warrant being produced.

What I felt like Iannucci was saying, by regurgitating his resume, was, “Don’t look too hard at this story, because I’ve done all these other things! In the Loop was nominated for Best Writing!”

Unpolished writing should never be acceptable to a professional reader, despite the existence of strong accolades in a writer’s past. It leads to a self fulfilling prophecy of box office bombs.

Now, mentioning he’s behind Veep did help me as I read this story, but that’s cheating.

Most of us won’t have the luxury of existing works we can fall back on, so it’s up to our writing talent to make our stories and characters as strong as we can.

And it will be tough, especially when writing in a subjective genre like comedy/satire, but prove yourself once and then you too can cheat and get lazy as your career advances!

Small Stuff

So many damn ellipsis… We made a video about this a year or so ago, and it still holds up today.

Remember, one or two instances may work, but your characters need to be definitive as they speak, not constantly trailing off.

And if one character is interrupting another, use a double hyphen not three periods.

Page length ran too long, despite the opening six “previous credits” pages.

Lastly, there was a repeated bit of dialogue on page 139 that I assume was just overlooked, but for us as amateurs, shit like this is the easiest to clean up.

Want EARLY access to our videos, uploads, and movie/script reviews? Members get them FIRST! Follow this link to our Discussion Forum.

And be sure to check out our Notes Service, where I give my detailed thoughts and suggestions on your script.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here