Film Courage: When you’re reading screenplays from unknown writers, how far into the screenplay do you know whether it’s good or bad?
Naomi Beaty, Writer, Screenwriting Teacher and Consultant: I think problems can show up very easy in a script, but they don’t always. Some scripts have a great set-up, they have a great first act and they have the right pace right away, they get the story rolling, and we feel like things are happening, we’re invested. Then in Act 2 things fall apart basically like if their protagonist stops pursuing the goal, we don’t really know what’s going on. I guess the answer is if a script has global problems that sort of cover the entire script then you will probably know within the first five pages or so. Definitely I think if it has major structural problems with all the structure, overall structure as a whole, I would say by page 15 or so you know that there’s a problem because you’re waiting for something to happen and one of the most common problems is that nothing is happening, like it’s just not getting going. I would say you can know right away…you can know pretty quickly that a script has some issues or needs some work. But I would say you can’t always tell what a script or often you can’t tell what a script’s issues are until later, until you’ve seen sort of what they are trying to accomplish or gotten a true sense of what the story really is or what they’re going for and a lot of times you don’t have that sense of what they’re going for until later in the script, until towards the end of Act 2 at least…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).
CONNECT WITH NAOMI BEATY
Advertisement – contains affiliate links: