An excerpt from my script review for Oppenheimer which will be available 10/17/23:

5.) Format

From time to time we here at Write to Reel like to tell you who you aren’t.

Please understand, this isn’t to tell you that similar success will never come, but more a word of caution in the style and format you choose to present in your own writing.

As amateur screenwriters you should be reading more than one professional script, for just this reason. Emulate the style a professional writer can get away with and it may very well hurt you in the long run.

Usually you’re not Quentin Tarantino, and you still aren’t, but today you’re not Christopher Nolan.

What does this mean?

First and foremost…no scripts over 120 pages.

Come as close as you want, but know that anything over will raise eyebrows and have shorter (read that as “tighter”) projects be chosen above yours to read.

Second…it’s not standard procedure to write a script from a “first person” perspective.

Want to use this narrative style? Write a book.

But if you’re lazy like yours truly and find under 120 pages a more attractive venture, you gotta follow the “rules”.

Characters simply do things in the description, and we as the audience/reader “see” them doing things.

(And there’s plenty of options under these “rules” a lot of which we’ve gone over on this site in both the blog and the forums.)

Lastly, and I mentioned this in the plot section, but try to avoid flashbacks in general, let alone the “flashbacks within flashbacks” this story utilized.

I remember an interview with Leonardo DiCaprio, where he mentioned having to sit down with Christopher Nolan to go over exactly what was happening in Inception.

You are not Christopher Nolan, so you won’t have the opportunity to explain your story to A listers like this.

(At least not yet.)

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