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The British military defines experience as "the ability to recognize a mistake the second time you make it."

As a new screenwriter and even more so as a new filmmaker, the ability to recognize mistakes is a great gift.

Not having a strong enough story (or not having a story at all) is something to be dealt with each time you set out to write a script. And if you've managed to complete a short screenplay that you're planning on filming, before you start planning the shoot make sure you have a story to tell.

Just having a bunch of scenes strung together isn't enough. Even if your dialogue is clever or cool or hip or whatever, if it's not wrapped around a story-even a thin storyline-it is a mistake. And no matter how "good" your short film looks, without a story it will not hold anyone's interest.

In the next few columns I'm going to specify the mistakes new screenwriters and filmmakers fall victim to.


Get your script read and evaluated by the same folks who read for the agencies and studios. Discover what's right and wrong with your script and how to improve it.

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