Infographic shows the most common problems in screenplays

Illustration for article titled Infographic shows the most common problems in screenplays

Last year, a scriptreader read 300 scripts for 5 studios, all the while taking notes on the problems and trends he saw. The number 1 problem? The story started too late in the script.

The scriptreader listed 37 frequently occurring problems, here are the top 20:

  1. The story begins too late in the script
  2. The scenes are void of meaningful conflict
  3. The script has a by-the-numbers execution
  4. The story is too thin
  5. The villains are cartoonish, evil-for-the-sake-of-evil
  6. The character logic is muddy
  7. The female part is underwritten
  8. The narrative falls into a repetitive pattern
  9. The conflict is inconsequential, flash-in-the-pan
  10. The protagonist is a standard issue hero
  11. The script favors style over substance
  12. The ending is completely anti-climactic
  13. The characters are all stereotypes
  14. The script suffers from arbitrary complexity
  15. The script goes off the rails in the third act
  16. The script's questions are left unanswered
  17. The story is a string of unrelated vignettes
  18. The plot unravels through convenience/contrivance
  19. The script is tonally confused
  20. The protagonist is not as strong as [he or she needs to] be

In a way, while the information about script problems is helpful, there's a ton more information included here. Like the fact that 270 of the scripts were written by male writer(s). Or that only 2 scripts took place in outer space. Or that the most common location for these films-in-waiting was "some anonymous small town," which just narrowly edged out its exact opposite, a place called "New York City."


So here's to more space, less anonymous small towns.

Imgur via Co.CREATE

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Fascinating. I would tend to agree with all of that, if not the order, as applied to most movies I've seen recently.

I would also like to add that too many movies rely on forced twist endings rather than good storytelling. I blame this on The Usual Suspects and The Sixth Sense.