Your Screenplay Sucks! : 100 Ways to Make It Great

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2008-08-01
  • Publisher: Michael Wiese Productions

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Don't worry about a producer, agent, or creative executive tossing your script at page ten. Use the Your Screenplay Sucks! checklist to eliminate the flaws in your script for a pedal-to-the-metal, cover-to-cover read.

Author Biography

William M. Akers. a Lifetime Member of the Writers Guild of America, has had three feature films produced from his screenplays. His 105[degree] and Rising, about the fall of Saigon, is in pre-production

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. xii
Introductionp. xiii
You have not written something you care about!p. 4
Your idea isn't vibrating with originality!p. 7
You picked the wrong genre!p. 11
Your story is only interesting to you!p. 12
Your story is about miserable people who are miserable the whole time and end miserably! Or worse!!p. 14
You haven't spent enough time thinking up a fantastic title!p. 15
You picked the wrong main character!p. 18
You haven't constructed your main character correctly!p. 21
You are not specific about EVERYTHING when you create a character!p. 26
You haven't made "place" a character in your story!p. 27
We have no rooting interest in your hero!p. 29
Your opponent is not a human being!p. 31
Your Bad Guy isn't great!p. 32
The opponent is not the hero's agent of change!p. 34
The Bad Guy doesn't feel he's the hero of his own movie!p. 35
You don't give your bad guy a Bad Guy Speech!p. 36
Your characters do stupid things to move the story forward, a.k.a. they do stuff because you make them!p. 38
Your minor characters don't have character!p. 41
You worried about structure when you came up with your story!p. 43
You don't have enough tension!p. 44
You have no time pressure!p. 47
You don't give the reader enough emotion!p. 48
You bungled your story structure!p. 51
You have not done, and then redone, and REDONE, a one-line outline!p. 63
You have not done a "random thoughts" outline!p. 65
You have not used the Kerith Harding Rule of Drama!p. 70
Your B story does not affect your A story!p. 72
You don't use Set Up and Pay Off to your advantage!p. 73
You haven't buried exposition like Jimmy Hoffa!p. 76
You don't withhold surprises until as late as possible!p. 78
You haven't pounded each scene enough!p. 80
Your scenes don't turn the action!p. 85
You don't have enough reversals!p. 89
You have not shouted at each scene, "How can I jack up the conflict?!"p. 91
You have not used the incredible power of rhyming scenes to your advantage!p. 93
You haven't cut the first and last lines from as many scenes as possible!p. 94
Your character does research when she could be talking to somebody!p. 102
Your characters talk on the phone too much!p. 103
You have not made every scene memorable!p. 104
You don't keep a log of overheard dialogue!p. 106
You haven't separated the characters' voices!p. 107
You haven't worked your dialogue hard enough!p. 111
You didn't A-B the dialogue!p. 114
You have Q & A dialogue!p. 115
You have characters speaking text but not subtext!p. 117
You did too much research!p. 119
You didn't do enough research!p. 120
Physical Writing
Welcome to Writing
You aren't educated in your chosen storytelling medium!p. 128
You're using the wrong writing instrument!p. 130
Your prose is not CRYSTAL CLEAR!p. 132
You don't understand screenplay format!p. 138
You have naked sluglines or no sluglines at all!p. 154
You over-direct your actors!p. 157
You use parentheticals wrong!p. 158
You change character names on us!p. 162
Too many of your characters have names!p. 163
Character names begin with the same letter! or WORSE, they RHYME!p. 164
You do not describe main characters with a concise, telling, two (or so) sentence character description!p. 168
Scene Description
You use novelistic language!p. 171
You poisoned your scene description with "to be"!p. 173
You haven't cut as many "thes" and "thats" as possible!p. 175
You don't put the most important word at the end of the sentence!p. 177
You describe dialogue in scene description!p. 179
You have not paid attention to image order in scene description!p. 180
You haven't cut scene description to the bone!p. 185
Don't repeat! Anything! Ever!p. 195
You rewrite while you write!p. 199
You do a rewrite by reading the whole script at once!p. 200
You don't have a killer first page!p. 202
You blew your first ten pages! ARGGGGGHHHH!p. 210
You haven't ripped out the first twenty pages!p. 216
You haven't cut every bit of extraneous action!p. 217
You think your first (or ninth) draft is perfect!p. 223
Picky, Picky, Picky
You don't know the meaning of every word in your script!p. 227
You use numbers instead of words!p. 229
You call shots!p. 230
You call specific songs!p. 231
You didn't run your spellcheck, you moron!p. 232
You trust your spellcheck! Ah haa ha haaa ha ha!p. 236
You think longer is better!p. 237
You didn't read your script out loud!p. 238
You used a crummy printer!p. 239
What Now?
Don't Be a Jackass, Be Professional
You want to be famous more than you want to write!p. 244
You think your script is special and rules don't apply!p. 246
You put the wrong stuff on your title page!p. 247
You haven't done a table read!p. 251
You're dying to send the script out before you're really, really ready!p. 252
The Industry
You haven't the first clue how the business works!p. 255
You don't know what time they eat lunch in Hollywood!p. 258
Your sense of entitlement is in overdrive! a.k.a. "Don't fight the notes!"p. 260
You don't know what a decent query letter is!p. 262
You made boneheaded demands in your query letter!p. 267
You don't want to sign their release!p. 268
You think Hollywood will steal your idea!p. 270
You don't understand Hanlon's Razor!p. 272
You don't know the difference between Natalie Merchant and Patti Smith!p. 273
You don't know you can write your way out of a hole!p. 274
You don't know how to get an agent!p. 276
You get excited when they say they like it!p. 279
You're confusing hope with denial!p. 280
Fading Outp. 282
About the Authorp. 287
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