Thoughts For My Students

An email I just sent my students… to keep in mind for their next homework… you can keep it in mind while doing your next rewrite.

Don’t repeat anything. Especially in dialogue.

Don’t over direct actors.

Read your stuff out loud.

Run your spellcheck. Duuh.

Try to cut as much of everything as you can.

Try to have your own voice shine through.

Read the chapters in my book on rewriting. Then, reread them. That stuff is gold, man.

Do not tell us stuff that, upon rereading, is obvious. Don’t have a woman pull a Tupperware container of cookies out of a bag, hand them to her friend and say, “I made these for you.” She pulls them out and hands them to him and says, “Peanut butter. Your favorite.”

Power to Weight ratio… are the number of pages you give a scene really worth the information or plot movement contained in the scene? Be ruthless about this one.

And finally…

Do not for one nanosecond think you will be the first student in my fifteen years of teaching to get work done over Thanksgiving. You will not. Get it done now. Then go enjoy the vacation.



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3 responses to “Thoughts For My Students

  1. Marti

    Glad to see the peanut butter cookie statement in my script was an inspiration for a blog! Thanks for not using my name!



  2. Lisa

    I dunno. Telling another character what he already knows (i.e., that his favorite cookies are peanut butter) doesn’t seem like good writing.

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      When I wrote the “peanut butter” line it made perfect sense. Still does, in a way. I think I had it in mind that the person making the cookies was sort of irritated, like a parent or boyfriend or something, and was saying it with a bit of a sneer. But you could easily be right, and certainly are if there’s no real reason to give that sort of boring information.

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