The Space Between Us – Don’t Take a Dump on Your Reader!

An excerpt from my script review for The Space Between Us which will be available 02/06/17:

4.) Dialogue and Description


It’s never polite to take a dump on your reader.

(I’m, of course, speaking of exposition.)

There are multiple, and blatant, examples of how NOT TO give your reader necessary information.

For example…page 30:

What happened to your parents?

I’ve told you all this before.

I forgot.

He didn’t really forget, we find out later, but all of this was for our benefit as the reader. And on top of being an uncreative way of delivering background information, Kendra’s parents and their relationship to her doesn’t have a substantial impact on the story.

All these entries to explain to us Kendra had a shitty childhood and doesn’t want kids of her own? Okay, one clever line could have accomplished that, or “less is more” by her not wanting to discuss it when asked.

Create mystery, folks.

Then later on page 33:

Well, whatever you were running
away from might have changed.

Oh, it did. It’s now second in
command of NASA and remarried with
two children.
(and then)
But you knew that.

Of course HARRISON knew it, but WE didn’t, so Kendra has to repeat herself.

C’mon folks. Subtlety can be useful when writing.

Page 43:

You came from a broken home.

That was in the file?

No. That was obvious.


You were beyond accomplished…
beyond driven. Then… nothing.

I hardly think going to Mars is

Maybe for a few years. But Kendra –
– you extended your tour to East
Texas for five.

I was fresh off a divorce when I
took the assignment.

As she looks away…

I guess that wasn’t in my file.

I know your ex-husband.

He runs Kennedy Space Center now,
everyone in NASA knows him.

So much time spent on Kendra. Was she originally the main character?

Kendra eventually wants to save Gardner. We get this by how she interacts with him early on in the script, making all of this back and forth with Jurado unnecessary.

Side Dialogue Notes

Page 5 – All the preflight banter was cheesy.

Page 112 – I found it odd that Leo was fighting with a 15 year old so adamantly that who Gardner was was a cruel joke.

Onto description…

Page 20 – So many warp jump visuals between Earth and Mars it started to get annoying. Don’t overuse techniques like this.

Page 22 – How do Gardner and Root Beer chat in real time? Did the writer see The Martian? There’d be a significant delay.

Page 116 – “Because the van’s empty!” This trick was extremely overused. Leading Jurado or the agents to a room or a vehicle but…OH NO THEY’RE GONE! Too easy for your characters.

Want more helpful screenwriting tips and movie/script reviews? 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.

Similar Articles


Leave a reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Recent Posts