This week I was asked to evaluate three separate projects: two television shows and a movie.
Each of the producer/writers thought that the problem was either that the character should be switched to the opposite gender, more jokes were needed or better dialogue was what was needed to make their project market ready.
While all of these elements could have improved each project, the real culprit was structure.
This is something to consider when you have a sense that your project is lacking something but you can’t see what it is.
William Goldman, the great screenwriter, once said: “all you need to know about screenwriting is structure, structure and structure.“
Never has this been more true! So how can you make sure that your structure is perfect? Here are three ways:
1. Use the Four Magic Questions of Screenwriting to check your characters dreams and nightmares.
2. Use the How To Write A Screenplay in 10 Weeks Mythic Journey Map to analyze each sequence.
3. Have an informal reading with a few friends. Reading a script aloud will reveal all of the shortcomings, not just structure. If the dialogue is weak and the exposition wordy or unclear, you will hear it.
The best way to avoid structure problems are to address them BEFORE you write the first draft. Create a full outline before you begin. Remember that a screenplay or TV script are not literature, each are a blueprint for a film or TV episode.
If you’d like to learn more about Bill Goldman’s work:
Here’s to your successful writing,
Professor Marilyn Horowitz