Akers Theater

Author of Your Screenplay Sucks! 100 Ways To Make It Great, William M. Akers, a WGA Lifetime Member, has written for studios, independent producers, and network television. He’s had three feature films produced from his screenplays and his novel, Mrs. Ravenbach’s Way, was traditionally published. He taught filmmaking and screenwriting at Vanderbilt University and created Belmont University’s Motion Pictures department, a Variety Top 30 Film School. Akers gives writing workshops and seminars and consults with filmmakers and screenwriters around the world.

WMA discusses writing! 

Carole Dean / Art of Film Funding

Lovinder Gill / Scriptcake

163 responses to “THIS AKERS GUY

  1. Kimberly Lucas

    Hello William,

    Mr. Akers, I have your book which I enjoy deeply. You get right to the essentials because you know what they are and how best to explain them.

    Do you offer consulting on scripts for writers? On Logline/Outline stage or screenplay stage?

    I am writing a supernatural comedy, but I would love to know there is a consultant who also heard Blake speak(I took his Beats Class and have his books/articles), thought he was great — and you even wrote your own book with lots of good stuff!

    I’m writing in Blake world — with Concept is king, the hero transformation must be huge, and somehow our hero is touched by the divine, or a power greater than him/herself.

    We will all remember Blake as we follow our writing journey and credit him for much of our success.

    Thanks for your consideration,

    Kimberly Lucas

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      I absolutely do screenplay criticism. I’ll email you and we’ll talk. I’m very pleased you like my book and are finding it helpful. Great news for a rainy day…

      • Mister Akers,
        I’m a retired US Army doc with some success as a novelist, now in Scotland taking a grad program in creative writing, I’m taking an elective in screenwriting and just thought you’d like to know the professor here thinks highly of your book. I have no delusions at my age (70), of ever selling a script, but hope to make enough contacts I can interest someone into optioning my Edgar Finalist novel.
        No worries. At least I’ve developed a taste for haggis.

        Take care,

        Brad Harper

      • yourscreenplaysucks


        I love your attitude. Enjoy the writing and learn as much as you can. Thrilled your teacher likes my book. Let him/her know, I’d be happy to Zoom to the class for a Q&A…

        Congratulations on your Edgar finalist berth. That is SO impressive. Well done!

        And, be the first on your street to read this poem…

        Or maybe the 40th.

        best regards,

      • Bradley Harper

        Mister Akers, I love the poem, and yes, the Scots have a fanatical relationship with a boiled sheep stomach stuffed with oats and entrails. It might explain why whisky is required. I was interested to learn it’s spelled “whisky” in Scotland, and “whiskey” in Ireland and the US. The Canadians go with the Scot version.I’m having the time of my life. Being in a room filled with eager students forty or more years younger than I am keeps me young as well. I have to produce a 30-minute screenplay so I’m working on a police show based in Baltimore. I have a young Puerto Rican woman who just made detective, paired with a white dude in his mid-forties, just hanging on to get his pension. His name is Bill Worth, but he’s called BW as it’s as close to BMW as he’ll ever get. He’s the comic relief and posted above his cubicle are his ten commandments for law enforcement. 1. Don’t get shot2. Never volunteer3. Take every chance to fill your stomach and empty your bladder4. Keep your head down (avoid attracting attention).5. Never, ever, talk to a reporter or they’ll think they own you.6. Treat beat cops like people7. Sooner or later all CI’s (Confidential Informants) lie8. A good partner = a good life9. Never trust anyone higher than Sergeant10. If you have to shake hands with a politician, wash’em after. (Your hands, not the politician.) I’ve known some versions of BW in the military. I did 37 years, first as a grunt, then as a doc, then as a commanding officer and Pentagon staff puke. I say I stayed in the Army because I couldn’t find honest work. As the Command Surgeon for US Army South, the Army portion of Southern Command, the FARC placed a $1.5 million reward for my capture while I was working with US Special Forces in Colombia. (Sorry, offer no longer valid). I may write a book someday based on my time in Cocaine Land. I never went to war, but that was pretty close. Thank you for your wonderful response. The University is Napier and the professor is Mavor. I’ll let him know about your kind offer. I’m going to Burns Night tonight at a local pub that once refused to serve Sean Connery. Good thing I don’t have any classes tomorrow. All the best, BradBradley Harper http://WWW.BHarperAuthor.Com 

      • Bradley Harper

        Professor Akers, I am including Professor Mavor in this email as he said he would be delighted to have you as a guest in our program. Our mutual friend, Troy Devolld, also says hello. Thank you for your kind offer. I’ll leave it to you two gentlemen to “sort” it out. “Sorted” has become my favorite word since I’ve arrived in the UK. With kind regards, Brad Bradley Harperhttp://WWW.BHarperAuthor.Com 

      • Sir,

        My professor at Napier, is trying to reach you in regards to a Q&A for the class. I gave him the link to your blog but in the belt and suspender approach, thought I’d share his email at the Uni if you want to reach out to him.

        I hope this can be worked out.


      • Sir,
        Thanks again for talking with my class. You made me a rock star. Last week the head of development of a small Scottish production company requested the treatment of my first novel. I’m not cashing any checks (yet), but I’m soon to turn seventy-one, and my motto is, “I don’t have time to be timid.”
        All the best,

      • yourscreenplaysucks


        Wonderful to hear. Read chapter 87 of my book. Good luck with the producer. Let me know how it goes.

  2. Hell Mr. Akers. Let me start by saying I’m loving your book so far, but I’m a bit confused on how to apply it to my screenplays (Yes, I know how stupid that sounds). My problem is that I make my Screenplays WAY too long (I once wrote 140 pages of a screenplay and was only halfway into Act 2). My question is, should I cut my screenplays down to 120 pages before using your book, or not worry about the page count until I start rewrites?

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      Are you working with an outline? If so, your outline is too long.
      I would worry about page count now, instead of later, as you’re going to waste a lot of time writing stuff you’re going to cut.
      A suggestion would be to look at the partial draft you have, pages you’ve written, vs. number of pages in your outline, vs. 115 pages (no longer 120, arrgggh) and see how much story you have to cut to have your first pass arrive at c. 115 pages.
      Then, again, your scenes may be what are killing you length wise… you may have only 55 scenes in your whole movie, but if each one runs longer than it should… then you’re in trouble in that department.
      I would try writing with a pencil, in first draft. NOT on a computer. If you type fast, suddenly you’re going to be at a 300 page rough draft and… what a daunting task to trim down that monster…
      A pencil will drag your word count down, make you use fewer words to say the same thing… I sometimes tell my more prolix students that they have to use a pencil for their first pass, THEN type it into the computer.
      I’d figure out why you’re running long, and then finish your first pass wearing your new “I’m not writing so much” glasses…
      Good luck with your writing!

      • Thank you! Never thought about writing in pencil, I’ll probably end up with a 10 page first draft then!

      • By the way, if you don’t mind could you explain an outline to me? The most I know of is to write out your scenes in note cards and start from there. Sorry for any trouble, they unfortunately didn’t offer screenwriting classes at my school.

  3. yourscreenplaysucks

    See what the book says… see if that helps you figure out what an outline is… Give me your email and I can also send you some outlines.

    Might check
    I think he has outlines there, too.

  4. Hello again Mr. Akers, sorry for spamming you but I couldn’t find a link to an e-mail address. Anyways I recently finished a screenplay (clocks in at 127 pages, your book helped a LOT!). I’ve been reading the first draft and it’s… well, not the worst first draft I’ve ever done. But while I was reading it I noticed that my 3rd Act starts on page 81 instead of page 90. Just how screwed am I?

  5. yourscreenplaysucks

    You’re not so screwed because of where your Act II ends, but the length of the script overall. 127 pages is too long. Cut ten pages, then see where your Act II ends. Your script needs, these days, to aim at 115 pages, not the old fashioned 120. Sadly, people pick up a script and the first thing they do is look at the length. If it’s over 120, they won’t read it because they think you don’t know what you’re doing. Trim it first, then worry about where the act break is. Until you have a proper length, you don’t really know where the act break is. Good luck!

  6. Elaine

    Hi Bill (I feel like I can call you that now, I’ve been reading you for long enough),

    I doubt you’re short of inspiration for blog posts, but imagine you are. How about doing a post on competitions? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on whether they are a useful tool for writers (especially rookies like me), the pros/cons of entering, and which ones (if any) you recommend.

    Just a thought, love your stuff, Elaine

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      Competitions… good idea! Sure worked for the guy who wrote FINDING FORRESTER. I’ll do a bit ‘o research and get back to you. Basically, my theory is, if it’s a legitimate competition, you can find out how you stack up to others, and if you place high, it goes at the top of your query letter. It only costs money. That may or may not be a problem.

      • Mike Dowd

        Funny this came up, I was just thinking about this. I recently went back to your link to competitions in the “Resource for Writers” section of your other website.

        But it seems there’s a smattering of broken links in there. One of them is the “Lists writing contests” one. So I have been trying to collect some contest links myself. I think I found a good one, but I left it on my other computer at home (I am currently goofing off at work now).

        Other than that, I re-read your book AND kept up with your blog while tightening up the (hopefully) send-outable draft of a screenplay that you gave us great notes on (which were worth every penny).

        And now I’m at the point where this post could probably use some editing.

        Anyway, still enjoying your advice. Much obliged.

      • yourscreenplaysucks

        My website has been frozen for years… a problem with the original web host and the software to change it has gone away… one of these days I’ll take time away from the World Cup (go Netherlands!) and actually fix the $#%* problem… Any suggestions, anybody out there, on contests? I am currently pretty pleased with Blue Cat.

      • yourscreenplaysucks

        Oh, yeah… it’s much better if you, instead of re-reading the book (because of all the underlining and highlighting from the first time through)… it’s better if you BUY a new book and start fresh with the new copy so you can underline and highlight anew…

        tee hee…

  7. Mike Dowd

    i DID buy a new book. it’s called “Flooring 1-2-3”. my screenplay doesn’t read any better, but the ceramic tile cover page makes it look pretty professional.

  8. Elaine


    My extremely unscientific research led me to enter three comps this year. The Nicholl Fellowship one (if I’m going to win, I might as well win big) and the Scriptalooza one, which seemed to have quite a few positive write-ups. The third is a Brit affair (me being a Brit) that just started last year and is run by an outfit called Kaos.

    It’s the second year I’ve tried comps. I got such a kick last year watching my script progress through the rounds, the money is worth it just for the fun factor.

  9. i’m quite good in witing but i have not yet signed up on a writing contest ‘

  10. mark

    Would be interested in your script criticism service
    for one of my projects.

    I am putting together a trailer for one of my other projects for some investors, which is taking up a lot of time.

    Wish I’d have had yourself as a teacher when I was in
    the MFA screenwriting program at UCLA.
    Your blog is extremely insightful to say the least.

  11. Maurice Vaughan

    How many ways are there in the world to say love? Well, I love this book A MILLION WAYS SPOKEN! Thank God for printed books & this being one of them is all I’m going to say. That & when I break into Hollywood’s vault I’ll be carrying this book with me as a navigation map. Thanks, William, buddy.

    Maurice “Reese” Vaughan

  12. last time, i joined a writing contests on the internet and i won a small price for writing a nice piece of writing `:,

  13. Gwyneth Heuser

    Hello, Mr. Akers. I have just finished reading “Your Screenplay Sucks” and I think it’s positively BRILLIANT.
    I am only 13 years old, but I have already decided that I want to write screenplays…not for a living, but as a hobby. Still, I want to make sure I do everything right. Your book was extremely helpful in that it explained the basics of screenwriting and how to make my screenplay…well, not suck. I knew next to nothing about screenwriting before I read your book, and now I feel as if I could start a first draft right now!
    I seriously doubt I’ll ever send out a screenplay to Hollywood, let alone get a movie deal, but if I ever do I’ll be sure to tell you, because your book helped get me there.
    Your book has, in short, inspired me to write for myself and not just to get things published. Thank you.

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      I have college students who don’t write as well as you! What a beautifully written, incredibly thoughtful comment. You have learned a lot at an early age, and it will only pay off in the long run. Enjoy your writing. Don’t worry about what path you’re taking. You’ve got a LONG time to figure it out. Good luck!!!

      • GR

        Agreed, I’d love to see where this kid ends up in a few years. She writes better than 99% of the people leaving comments here!



      I aspired to write a screenplay at the age of 46. I’m excited for you to have such a passion for screenwriting at such an early age. Be forewarned that many people will try and tell you that it’s a waste of time. The industry is full of empty souls just looking to get a deal. As you have already figured out, write from your heart and write for the passion of the story, not the prize.

      Ironically, I think you’ll find that when you do this the prize will come.
      Like you, I never expect to get anything optioned, however, this much I do know… Screenwriting is like playing the lottery, you can’t win if you don’t play.

      Mr. Akers book really helped me to get my script lean. It looks a screenplay anyway. I hope to get a professional script consult sometime in the future. I’m confident that Mr. Akers tips will keep the consulting to improving the story…much of the fat already having been trimmed off thanks to the recommendations in his book.

      Diablo Cody was once asked what she knew about screenwriting before she penned “Juno.” She said she knew that the dialogue was in the middle and the descriptions were on the left. Hell, I didn’t even know that!!!

      Although I’m not officially a screenwriter, my advice would be to try and write at least 2 pages a day. Read scripts, lots of them…and watch movies.
      I think good movies have a degree of formulaic structure to them. Really good movies possess this structure and have great characters as well.

      Most importantly, they grab you be the front of your shirt and transport you into another world, if just for a few hours.

      Lastly, understand the difference between spec scripts and shooting scripts. You might want to download Billy Bob Thornton’s “Sling Blade.” This script is in a spec script format. It’s what I used as a guide when writing my screenplay called “Chic.” (It’s about Charles William “Chic” Harley, if you’re curious.)

      Take Care, and good luck to you.



  14. Question: I have long abided by your rules regarding naming characters. I wonder, though, what to do in a situation where a character operates under two very distinct aliases, for example, Batman and Bruce Wayne. A quick Script-O-Rama search indicates that those scripts do distinguish between the two in dialogue, but I don’t have the benefit of working with quite as well known a property as the Batman franchise.

    The way I solved the problem is to have the character and her alias’s name start with the same letters (Ch) and introducing her transformation in the first 4 pages of the script, so we’re very clear from the get-go that we’ll be referring to her by two different names. Your thoughts?

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      I would probably tell us in action description, upon first meeting Character #1… “Bruce will also be known as Batman later on…”… but that sort of kills any suspense and surprise for the reader. I’ve never written anything where that happens, so I’m not sure.

  15. Just wanted to let you know the Tennessee Screenwriting Association features you and posts from as part of our regular link rotation on our FB group page.

  16. Hello Sir!

    We are starting a high-end lifestyle magazine here in Bangladesh! Many of our readers secretly harbor screenwriting dreams. Your articles will be good for them. With your permission, we would like to reproduce your writings. Is there a place online where we can talk?

    Have a good day,

  17. Hello,

    I need to write treatments for grad school. Mostly a page or two long. May I get some sample treatments to learn from.

    Have a good day,
    Sakib Ahmed

  18. Hello Mr Akers. I am TV director and producer in Egypt. I am working on my first independent feature film. I am the director not the screenwriter but Your book was very insightful. It gave me the tools i need to communicate with the writer and work with him to make the script better. The script will be ready in two weeks (fourth draft) I will translate it to english if you would be willing to consult/do a screenplay critic. How can i get in touch with you?

    My second question is about the treatment, I need to write a 10 pages treatment, do i follow the normal order of the story or the screenplay? the screenplay starts with a scene towards the end – before the beginning titles – then the story begins. Would you kindly give me a suggestion.

    Thank you
    Omar Kassim

  19. Will!

    How are you? You may not remember me, but we shared a helicopter ride to Hemmington, England back in 2007, during the early stages of “Deserter”, which at that point was called “Simon”. If I remember correctly, you and I were in one chopper with Jennifer, and Martin and Simon were in another… and they inadvertently (and somewhat terrifyingly) wandered into Heathrow airspace upon takeoff— I believe because Martin was sitting on the control stick. Anyway, I saw someone reference a quote from your book on the Nicholl Fellowship Facebook site and decided I had to look it up. I guess we all have our favorite Will Akers’ quotes. In fact, I still remember (and quote) some advice you once offered me, albeit not about writing: “When in London, before crossing the street, be sure to touch your chin to both shoulders before daring to cross the street.” Sage advice that more than once kept me in one piece.

    Hope all is well with you. All is well with me. Working on a new script. And have a book coming out later this year ( if you’re interested.) Great to be in touch with you again. Let me know if you ever get to New York.

    Tom Turner

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      I nearly got killed in London and came up with that advice just to stay alive. I felt pretty stupid thinking it up, but when I learned Churchill was hit by a cab in New York, I felt better. Very cool you’ve got a book. Well done! What was the quote on the Nicholl site? How cool! Yeah, I was nervous in the helicopter, and didn’t want to ride with anybody but Jennifer. She had the hours.
      Thank you for finding my little site!

  20. Austin


    I have just stumbled upon your website after typing in ” script criticism ” in google.

    I have been working on my first script for a year and I feel that my mind can see this big story line, but now I have come close to the end and have only 36 pages. I need criticism on this script but every time I go to show someone I get the same thing. I need real criticism !

    I was wondering if you were up to reading my script and giving me some!
    Id appreciate it so much!


  21. In my backpack that I take to the coffee shop every day to write, I keep only vital items: Mac laptop, power cord, headphones, pen, notepad, toothbruth/paste and deodorant. Also, my dog-eared, highlighted, cover-worn, battle-tested “bible” – Your Screenplay Sucks! I’ve read many books of this genre over my tens years as a filmmaker. A very proud few survive the test of time and continue to inspire me like YSS has. THANK YOU!

    I would love to hear your thoughts on my most recent script!

    John B

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      THAT warms my black heart!! Many thanks for the kind words. It makes a lot of difference.

      • yourscreenplaysucks

        Email me at wma @ yourscreenplaysucks dot com and I will send you the parameters. All it takes is money!

  22. Marc-André

    Hi, i read your book. Nice book by the way. First, i’m a french canadian, sorry for my bad english. I script is almost done, i start whit 185 pages and now i have 123 pages. I’m not done wet, i think i will finish whit 119 or 118 pages… I hope.
    I red some script, like Avatar, Good Will Hunting, Shawshank Redemption, Pulp Fiction…
    My question is:
    In your book, you say, we must cut sentense in action, when the sentense look a sentense, you may cut it. But in all script i read, everybody make real sentense for the action description. Now i dont know if i may cut or not my sentense. Can i send you a exemple?


    • yourscreenplaysucks

      Sure. Send me something and I’ll give you my thoughts. My initial thoughts are that you don’t have to have scene description be grammatically correct 100% of the time… you can use choppy, short sentences… but they have to be clear and make sense, especially when you consider the speed at which people read your script. Choppy, short, terse, like poetry… is fine… but it has to be clear and easy to understand.

    • Marc-André

      Hi, dear Akers,

      I have a question and i thinking i’m not the only one who want to know. Have you a script to advise us? A perfect script to understand all you said.



    Hello Mr. Akers,

    You sorry SOB! Now, before you get too bent out of shape, let me explain. I was one of many who experienced a job loss in 2008. I was out of work for over three years. I have always been interested in movies and writing. I had even contemplated writing a script back in 1992.

    It would have been about the amateur golfer, Bobby Jones. I didn’t write it, fearing it would be a waste of time.

    Around 2004 a movie did come out about him, confirming I wasn’t crazy. In 2009, I discovered a book written by Bob Hunter, a Columbus, Ohio, sports writer, titled “Chic.” It is about Ohio State’s great All-American football player, Chic Harley. This time, I decided to try.

    Well one page became ten, and I soon found myself with a 119 page puke draft. I have since polished it up. Thanks to your book, I have worked it down to almost 115 pages. Now we get to the SOB.

    You made me really work, but for that I thank you. I don’t know if it will ever amount to anything. I will send it to the owners of the rights, when I’m finished, and see what they say. Regardless of the outcome, I wrote a script.



    SA Carpenter

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      Glad you got the script written! Such a feeling of accomplishment. My suggestion now, write another one. When you’ve got IT done, pull out #1 and give it a look. It will have gone cold, sitting on your shelf, and any areas for improvement will stand out. If you go back into it right now to rewrite, you’re not going to be nearly as hard on the writing as you need to be. I always LOVE my first drafts. Put them away a few months, they magically turn into garbage… and beg to be repaired!


        Mr. Akers,

        I apologize for being so brazen and brash in my first communication. However, you did write, in your book, that a screenwriter has only 10 pages to capture a reader’s attention. I surmise that I may have captured yours with just 3 letters.

        Oh, by the way, SOB was intended to mean “Sadistic Overbearing Back-breaker.” A buddy of mine once coined this acronym when describing his ex-wife.

        I certainly didn’t intend this to be personal. I just felt that way when trying to implement your recommendations. You see, I went to all this trouble to create this baby called a story. You then had me cut off all of its appendages, leaving only the heart and the soul.

        Ironically, isn’t that the goal of a screenwriter-to get to the heart, and soul, of a story? Well, thanks to your assistance, I believe, I may be on my way. I look forward to any future books you may publish.

        With Thanks,


        SA Carpenter

  24. Rob Carter

    Dear Mr. Akers,

    I read your book and it is great. I have read so many books on script writing and your is on my list of the top 5, and even more important, never leaves my desk.

    From now on i will keep my eyes open for anything you write or is printed by Michael Wiese Productions.

    All the best,

    Rob Carter

  25. Are you familiar with the freeware, CeltX? Is it a good freeware to use for screenplay formatting?

  26. Just finished your book, Mr. Akers. It came through to me like no other. Thank you (except for the last chapter…blew me away). How much do you charge for a read and critique or grading of a 96-page docudrama script HOW THE BLUES CAME UP IN MISSISSIPPI (if you’d be willing to do that)?
    My alma mater, Ole Miss, is coming in mid-Sept to beat up on Vandy’s kids (new coach sounds strong). I’ll be there Fri-Sun. Any chance you would be willing to share a bit of your time with me maybe Sat PM or anytime Sunday?
    Breakfast or lunch is on me. Thanks for whatever of your busy time you’re willing to share with me.
    Michael Brady Marietta (Atlanta) GA

    • Thank you for your prompt response, Mr. Akers. I think I’m going to forego marketing of the docudrama. I liked working on it, doing it all for my self as a mission from God. From all I’ve heard and read about marketing in that way-too-crowded industry, and considering I’m 65, I really don’t want to go there. I’m fine with considering it done, and with the knowledge that I’m a competitively decent screen writer.Seems like overkill to put spend any more on it at this juncture.
      Thanks again for your prompt response, more prompt than mine. Best to you. Hope all your future scripts sell quickly and for massive dollars.
      I’ve signed up for for updates and such on your web site. Very helpful information there.
      Michael Brady

      • yourscreenplaysucks

        I like the ideas of my scripts selling for massive dollars. Thank you for the kind wishes, and good luck with your writing.

  27. Kelley Baker turned me onto your book. Even though I’m a repped writer with one sale under my belt and a couple options (though nothing has been produced yet), I STILL found tremendous value in it. Great book.

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      Thank you so much for the kind words. Kelley has been a huge supporter of my book. His is fabulous too. For anybody reading out there, check out The Angry Filmmaker’s Survival Guide. It’s a GREAT book.

  28. I read your book last week and loved it! It was great timing since I’m in the middle of a rewrite but I can already see its impact. I tend to be succinct anyway but still found some of those deadly sins! I’ve removed redundancies throughout the script, which has given me room to add where I’ve needed it, for example in character description, to make it all more clear. Now I’m much closer to that long, unbroken line of lily pads! Thanks!

    I’m also a HUGE fan of Truby’s.

    One comment about the site: Is there an archive section? Maybe I just don’t see it. The only way I could see to get to older posts is by clicking back from the Recent Posts.

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      thrilled you found the book useful… warm my black heart… I have found that people get more out of it when they read it several times. Of course, I suggest you buy a brand new copy each time… I did a workshop in Austin and one man had done the checklist twice, then submitted pages to me, and I bled red ink all over them. He was shocked at how much was left in there to rip out…

      There doesn’t seem to be an archive you can click on. You just have to go through manually. Ugh.

  29. I am reading your book now and am very impressed that it is answering the questions that I can’t find anywhere else. I remember buying Truby’s story structure course in the 90’s, reading Hauge’s and Field’s work and so on. All of this was great and taught me a great deal. However, I needed to know what I should describe and what to leave up to the imagination regarding scene description. Thankfully YSS does this and does it in a clear, concise manner. Also really like the tip that I should leave out the “to be” verb whenever possible… worth the price of the book right there!

    When I finish the book I will be sure to give you a glowing review on Amazon and if I think of anything for a sequel I will email you. Perhaps one day when I finish a draft of my screenplay I am happy with I will contact you for a critique if you are still in the business of reviewing other people’s work.


    • yourscreenplaysucks

      In case you haven’t, check the 7 Deadly Sins list on this blog’s homepage. It’s got some new ones that aren’t in the book. My free service to the world. Yeah, the “to be” one is a good one, but lately I’m a fan of “seems.” Always happy to crit a script. I can’t quite figure out the pricing, well that’s not true. I have figured out the pricing, but most people haven’t got the $600. I can’t do it for less, and I can get people to pay more. Ah well. Maybe if I found one client who’d want to pay $10,000!

      Good luck with your writing.

  30. H. H. Nigontyne

    YSS! sequel idea :
    As for a sequel to YSS, greatly anticipated by many now that you’ve teased us with it, might it portray in detail how to ‘dance with the Devil,’ so to speak? Dear old Hollywood’s artistic landscape has undergone dramatic changes in modern times, and many may want to know more details about proper writers’ etiquette, such as when to bow or curtsey (constantly, you say?) and how each party ought to behave in a modern deal. Thank you.
    Post Script – except for the idiomatic expression, nary a ‘the’ was used in writing this message. Thanks a million for THAT!

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      Great idea, thank you! By the time any sequel is written, yipes, I hate to think how much the landscape will change. What won’t change is the need for great writing. They still need that, even in reality TV!

  31. Megan

    Any advice on treatments? Are they necessary? I was asked for one and have been working on it for the last year. Picked up your book last week and am wondering why I’m writing a treatment and not the script.

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      Wow. Good question. Yeah, I would wonder why you’re not writing the script. The treatment, to me, is a fancy version of an outline. My definition of an outline is something I would use to write the script. It’s a skeleton for me. Something I alone am seeing, and probably something I alone can understand. A treatment is a version of my outline that someone else can read… all tidy and neat. A short story version of the movie. I suppose I’ve done them, but not many. Only to say, “Okay, I’m ready to write now, let’s go!”

      One good thing about it is that you get the kinks out of the story before you sit down to write. Everyone knows what you’re going to do and then you go do it, theoretically secure in the knowledge that they will like what comes next. Not certain, of course, as they may be totally surprised by how it actually is when it is script as opposed to just prose with some dialogue thrown in.

      If it’s useful, do it. I guess.

  32. Megan

    Not so useful for me. But the pitch was verbal (back story is I’ve been in entertainment for years and a friend who was purchasing films for foreign companies started a prod co… I pitch my husband a story idea and he pitches our friend before I was ready.. there I was having a conversation about a story that was in it’s infancy)…. that said friend’s comment was “I’d like to read the treatment since I have a ton of scripts and it’s faster for me to see if it will sell in treatment form”.. I’d like to respect his wishes
    Wondering on standards for length. I heard 9-12 pages
    Do I have to go into full detail about all the characters or can name & age then action / connection to main character be enough.
    Got any links that might have good examples of treatments
    Thanks again for taking the time.

  33. A.C. Buddy Lee

    Hello. I am in the process of writing my first screenplay and I immediately recognized that I could not, in any way, shape or form, write a screenplay that would be successful. I went to the bookstore in the hopes that I would find a book to help me weed out the garbage. So, now I am in the section where a help book might exist, and there, between to large books was the spine of your book biting me right in the face. I said to myself, “Oh that has to be the book I’ll need”! Sure enough, it was exactly the book I was hoping to find. I am about 1/3 of the way through it and I feel more confidence in my approach to my screenplay. I would like to send you re-writes after about the 6th or 7th one. Thank you for taking your time to write such great material. Looking forward to speaking with you. A.C.

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      I am very pleased to know how much the book is helping. Warm my black heart! Also glad that 1.) there are still bookstores to go to and 2.) that my little effort is in one! Good luck with your script and enjoy your writing.

  34. Adam

    Fantastic article in Script Magazine! Looking forward to reading your book!

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      I hope there are thousands more who feel like you do. I enjoyed doing the article. Hope you find it helpful. It’s really best to buy a copy of my book for every room in your place, that way you’re never far away from the wisdom!

  35. Jim

    Loved the book!!!

    However, I wanted to let you know that the Kindle version of the book has a extra wide left margin and makes it almost impossible to see the correct screenplay format examples. It only worked when I set the font size to the smallest, and even then sometimes the format wasn’t correct.

    And there are no paragraph separations throughout, on the kindle itself, but it looks fine when you look at it through Amazon’s book reader one uses on a computer.

    Just an FYI and thanks again!


    • yourscreenplaysucks

      I passed your thought along to the publisher. Not great news, but thank you for letting me know. Very pleased you love the book. Warm my black heart!

  36. Max Cherry

    Hi Mr.Akers, I am currently in the middle of reading ” Your Screenplay Sucks” and I have been inspired.
    Although I’m only 16, i have written a few screenplays and short films and have taken a number of courses to help me with my writing style. I now only wish i found this book first as it has taught me more in 2 weeks than any one teacher has taught me in a month.
    Your blog has opened my eyes to many more opportunities to display my work. I recently encountered some difficulties in my most recent screenplay and I would really appreciate talking to you about my current predicament and possibly even my pursuit to enter into the film industry.
    Once again, I would like to thank you for all the help you have given me through your book which has given me the ability to strengthen my screenwriting skills and tell a story.

    • yourscreenplaysucks


      Thrilled you found my book. Thrilled you’re writing shorts. Very pleased you are finding the book useful, which was why I wrote it. That, and to make some money.

      What other books have you found helpful?
      What books did you not find helpful?
      Do you read your work out loud?
      Did you do a One Line Outline of your script? That is a great way to see and solve problems.
      From my readers, I get the impression that it’s best to read my book a couple of times as you’re working on a project. The book is too dense to absorb on the first go-round.
      Do you have a writer’s group? Friends (or strangers) who are also writing, to whom you can turn for advice? It’s great to critique their work (as well as get notes on your own stuff) because that teaches you not to make those mistakes in your writing.
      Is there a screenwriter’s group in your area? A meet-up group for screenwriters?

      Let me know if any of that advice helps.

  37. Jackson Grant

    Hello Mr. Akers,
    My name is Jackson Grant and I read a book by Evan S. Smith that recommended your services as a script consultant. I have a spec script episode of “The Big Bang Theory” and I was wondering what you charge for your services.

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      Evan S. Smith is a worthy and honorable gentleman with excellent taste! You are to be congratulated for taking his wise advice.

  38. Charles Garcia


    I’m just about done with my outline, do you critique them as well?


    • yourscreenplaysucks

      Absolutely consult on outlines. Have you read my book? Do read the book, apply it to your outline, then contact me. I’m worth the money far more after you’ve read the book and done the checklist.

  39. William:
    Great book.
    You may have saved me a lot of trouble. I don’t know.
    I’ve been a direct response copywriter in the world of advertising for over 15 years.
    My clients pay me stupid amounts of money (not Hollywood stupid, but stupid), because my copy sells their product.
    They hire a rookie for cheap, discover that their product isn’t selling, and then they call me.
    It’s all based on a specific sales flow, percentages, conversions, click to sales, and of course the almighty buck — so hiring me turns out to be the smartest money they ever spent.
    Okay… I guess that’s not so stupid after all.
    Anyway, here’s my point. Not long ago I got this burning desire to write a screenplay. Which of course meant that I HAD to read your book.
    Glad you didn’t sugar-coat anything. I’m serious.
    I once read something from Syd Fields who said there isn’t a shortage of screenwriters in Hollywood…
    …there’s a shortage of screenwriters who know what the F they’re doing.
    He suggested that once a writer establishes a deep understanding of the craft, as few do, he or she will succeed in Hollywood.
    This book doesn’t really back that up.
    Sounds more like I could create 10 killer screenplays and be “lucky” if one ever got READ… much less produced.
    Ring, ring… Jimmy, it’s William on the line with your wake up call.
    I love to write, so I’ll probably still punish myself by doing this because… well… because I guess I’m nuts.
    But maybe I’m missing something.
    Frankly, I’m surprised there’s such a ready supply of accomplished writers willing to endure this.
    Love to hear your thoughts.

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      I think it’s because writers write.
      So, if you’re a writer, you crank out material. No matter what. You have to do it, so, a writer is always looking for a place to submit material, or another genre to try.

      Plus writers need money.
      They like it at the grocery store.

      And Hollywood (like advertising) is one of the few places a writer can make a living. So people go there.

      Add to that, all the silliness about glamour.
      Anybody who actually is IN the business knows that the work is just as hard as, and a lot less glamorous than salt mining.
      But people think it’s glamorous and they come in droves.
      What it is, when it works, is great fun. And that may be the biggest lure of all.

      Plus, from time to time they buy stuff that writers wrote.
      And that may REALLY be the biggest lure of all.

      Interesting question you posed.
      I wonder, from time, why I do it.

    • GR

      So write those 10 killer scripts over the course of many years and eventually ONE will get sudden notice/attention, and perhaps the other scripts will follow suit. I say this because…
      …that’s exactly what happened with Lawrence Kasdan. Who started out writing copy for an ad agency. In Michigan. I think it took him 7 years to hit, then suddenly he sold Continental Divide to Spielberg, then was suddenly writing Empire Strikes Back and Raiders. Then the first script he wrote became a movie something like 15 years later (The Bodyguard).
      It won’t happen overnight, and if it does, you’ll be happily surprised. Be patient, keep your day job, keep your non-paying night job, and if you’re talent shines through, you’ll get seen.

  40. William:

    Thanks for the response.

    The thing is: Breaking into advertising can be tough — but at least when you can PROVE (with real numbers) that your copy has earned clients far more money than they paid you… well… you’re golden.

    You can USE that record to demand lots of upfront money from prospective fat-cat clients before you even LOOK at their project.

    So being good and having skill actually counts and is rewarded,

    Doesn’t sound like Hollywood operates anything like that (damnit).

    Appears that you could be one of the best in the biz and you’ll still be leaning heavily on luck, writing on spec for free… and hoping.

    And I think that’s the biggest wake-up call your book gave me.

    Oh… it’s a cruel world out there.


    • yourscreenplaysucks

      The betting on luck part is what a lot of people fail to grasp as a problem. It’s terrifying. Marry somebody rich, that’s always my advice.

  41. Terry Allen

    I thought I’d study movie making, so I watched hundreds of films…including the special features. Loved it…but gaining knowledge this way was as slow as evolution.

    After I read your book, it was like being injected with extra brain cells. I can now spot dozens of the elements that make a good film…and somehow this new ability has opened up a very pleasant creative well/spring…and I’m constantly jotting stories, scenes and talking into my hand held recorder…even in the middle of the night.

    Your section on various outline forms is a HUGE help. Much handier than the big roll of butcher paper I was constantly rolling across my living room floor to plug all the parts into.

    I’m still unhappy about how stupid my original processes were, but am glad my unhappy desperation finally led me to Amazon and your book.

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      Very very happy you found the book! Even happier that it helped. Though, I have to say, the roll of butcher paper has its plusses.

  42. Mr. Akers,

    I’m a professor in the midwest, and have been in mourning because the screenplay textbook I’ve been using for 10 years is out of print. Then, lo and behold! I read Your Screenplay Sucks! Life is wonderful again. I’m adopting it for my writing course, starting in the Fall. Congratulations on your achievement: Many youngsters are going to be dragged, kicking and screaming, from their text messaging-ness and into the amazing world of storytelling for the cinema. Bravo!

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      YAHOOO! I love being adopted!!! Let me know if you want me to skype in to your class. I have a bunch of things I can talk about, complete with handouts. An entire class time you don’t have to do any work!!

  43. Jade

    I got your book two weeks ago and I can’t believe how much it’s helped me!The techniques helped me go from 35 pages to 90 in one week. No joke!

    I love your humorous style and I’m grateful for all the useful advice. You were right. My screenplay did suck! But it’s coming along quite nicely now.
    (I can see producers writing me that big fat check…) Hey, I can dream!

    Literally, the only thing I was a teensy bit bummed out about was that there was not a chapter giving specifics on exactly how to write a kick-ass query letter, only a chapter about how NOT to write one. That’s helpful but I was hoping for more tips in that area. Any advice or books you can recommend on writing an amazing query letter? (That mansion with a swimming pool isn’t gonna pay for itself!)

    In all seriousness, thanks for writing this book. It really has helped me a lot!

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      Thrilled you like the book. Thrilled you find it helpful. That’s the idea, of course, but it’s nice to hear it for sure.
      re: query letters… I don’t know how to write one. I’m going to do a post about it…
      Again, thank you for the kind comments. They mean a lot. Now blog about the book and tell the world!
      enjoy your writing,

  44. ALL IT TAKES IS MONEY… Ain’t it the truth. hey, i was wondering how important is the NO FIRST PAGE NUMBERED rule. is that an automatic disqualification, or what? see, i got this
    open office problem…

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      I guess you could paint it out with Liquid Paper, if that even exists any more. Write in Celtx, Adobe, or Scrivener. They’re all free screenwriting software programs.

  45. That’s not really a direct answer. I suppose i could use liquid paper. or i could just cut it out. or i could spend an inordinate amount of time re-writing it into celtx or some other, when the only thing changed would be one single, simple number…. so u r saying they will disregard the whole thing, generally, for that one little number?

  46. Andrew


    I just wanted to say I love your book. I’ve read too many screenwriting books – it’s a way of procrastinating without feeling too guilty, I suppose – and while even the worst of them contains some good advice (however generic it may be) and the best contains things I strongly disagree with (even the great Story, a stunning piece of work that really transcends its genre, has me gnashing my teeth and thinking of all the films I love that don’t follow McKee’s path), yours is the only one that belongs with Blake Snyder’s triptych (though I’ve ordered Riding the Alligator and the Xander Bennett on your recommendation).

    I have a couple of suggestions for blog posts. I’d love to see one about Walter Hill’s The Driver. While the film merely makes my top twenty or so, the script is number one. Paul Schrader – an intelligent and talented man – is probably right when he says a script can’t be art, but I think The Driver is the exception that proves the rule. It’s beautiful. Nothing we can’t see, no direction of the actors, no telling the actors which words to hit. Hell, he doesn’t even use question marks at the end of questions. But it’s an amazing piece of work.

    The second is about visuals. You’ve done stuff on this already, but there is a specific example which I think people would find helpful. Shane Black’s Lethal Weapon contains a scene which works on the page but would not have worked in the film. Riggs and Murtaugh at the firing range. Murtaugh takes his shot. Riggs does likewise. He fires through the bullet-hole Murtaugh made, enlarging it slightly. Clever, and amusing, on the page. If you’re remotely familiar with firearms you can picture it. But in the film it was changed to the smiley face we all know and love. More visual. Instant understanding. I love Black’s work – I’d read his shopping lists – and he was churning out great stuff from the get-go, but this is an example that visuals rule.

    Feel free to ignore these suggestions – I’ll keep reading anyway.

    Thanks, mate.

    A reader from the UK

    PS Le Samourai is one of my favourite films. I love that you mention it in your book, and I understand the points you make. But what about the good stuff in it? The minimal dialogue, for example?

    PPS Feel free to use this as an example of ‘Stuff that can be cut’!

  47. FADE IN:
    I guess whenever anyone posts to a post i have posted to, i get the call. interesting article Andrew. if i may answer for Mr. A, until he gets up in the morning (he’s an old man), his SCRIPT SUCKS is far superior to even the famous SAVE THE CAT. wonderful book, that feline tome, but nowhere near Aker’s relative to actual knowledge on how to write a script. take it from me, I have writ three of them (scripts)… ha
    AND then there is the ‘blake snyder points which must be met BY EACH PAGE’, not one page less or more… which is asinine.
    and i would disagree with what’s his name. anything written is capable of becoming art. are most scripts art? no. but most books aren’t either. there are scripts out there that are works of art. that is unquestionable.
    shadow art, perhaps. who reads scripts? no one really. except the writer of them. Mr. Aker’s book is business art, i would say. and that is about the most good one can or could ever say about most in hollywood.
    as for procrastination, there is art in that… (procrastination.)

  48. Roger

    Mr. Akers,
    I just received my screenplay back from a script reader-one of the comments was that my screen descriptions are terse and leave too much white space on the page. Isn’t this the goal-a la Walter Hill style? Not sure how to write screen descriptions now.

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      Well, that’s kinda crummy. One person tells you one thing, somebody else tells you another. I think the thing to do is read screenplays that you like (my latest favorite is TAKEN) and see how those writers do it… then adjust your style to what feels comfortable. I’d write enough to make sure what you are saying is clear (to the reader, not just to you) and with barely enough words to get it across. With most of my clients, “over writing” seems to be the most common bugaboo. Did your work look exactly like the Walter Hill style, or just a little bit?

    • REMEMBER that they are paid to give criticism. if they don’t give it, people will stop paying….. so they find whatever they can. get the most perfect script, change the names. send that one. sit back and smile as they tear it apart and say the genius script writer doesn’t know what he is talking about… the thing to do is to get smart about ‘it’. just read Akers and be done with all the rest. that’s my advice. and that will be one hundred dollars. cash only.

  49. Roger

    It looked exactly like walter hill style-I’m just a little surprised that they didn’t like so much white on the page.

  50. Tyler


    I read the book and it’s great but all of the points in the book are about cutting out parts of the screenplay! How do I beef it up to 110 pages!

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      Tyler. Tough question. Tough, tough question. It’s actually easier to trim than it is to add. How long is your script? If you’re over 100, you’ve got a script. Even less is okay. 90 is all right.
      It’s hard to add length once you’ve cut the fat… maybe an entire subplot, but it has to tie in at the end or it’s not worth the effort. Split one scene into two and make them longer. Add a character and see where that takes you.

      Print it in 18 point font?

      • GR

        I’ve seen the “terse” description taken to such an extreme that you have zero sense of the characters, except through dialogue, which is a shame because one can provide a bedrock for character with VISUAL behavior(s). Because human beings are a highly social bunch, beginning writers often feel it necessary to have their “people” blather on to establish their people — but it takes real gut work to sit there and specifically delineate “what are they doing and why they might be doing it.” That’s where Walter Hill (and his sometime partner David Giler) excel. With single words, one stacked atop another. Perhaps this is what your feedback-reader meant? Don’t leave us with the basics — “he sits, looks at _______, (then spits out a paragraph of exposition).”
        Let us SEE your people too, y’know? Not everything has to be Tarantino-like (or rather, what people THINK is Tarantino-like).

  51. Heather

    Mr. Akers,

    My goodness, your book scared me to death–however, despite that, I am still going to finish my screenplay. Just wanted to drop you a line and thank you for the advice. 🙂


    • yourscreenplaysucks

      Better to be scared now, than later!
      I hope you finish your script and that it’s fantastic.
      Good luck with your writing.

  52. jessica

    Hello Mr. Akers i am 17 years old and have been working on a script for a tv series that i would love to be published some day i would like to know what you think sells the most and to see what your opinnion of the unfinshed copy is so far.

    Thank you,

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      Let me know when you have finished your script. Be sure to read my book several times, as it’s a lot cheaper to listen to the book than it is to hire me to read your script. If your script is a sitcom, also read WRITING TELEVISION SITCOMS by Evan Smith. Also, SMALL SCREEN BIG PICTURE by Chad Gervich.
      When you feel your script is ready for notes, let me know.
      Good luck and enjoy your writing.

  53. Just wanted you to know you were mentioned here (and favorably, too!) Yay! Scroll down a ways to see where you’re weighty tome is referenced:

  54. Dear Mr William,

    I have been writing scripts, and I must say your book helped me a LOT.
    However, I find myself stuck in the middle of a script with 100 ways in front,
    and 99 of them (I think) leads to certain death.I shall give you the outlines:
    There is a Forsaken Alliance With an Alpha team Working together to undermine this evil Draconian Empire, and my job is to write out that story .
    I was thrilled, but now with 3 weeks to the line I am getting nervous ’cause I haven’t gotten half past. now the Alpha Team is leading a raid, and being successful about it ( and capturing a lot of blueprints),but their Creator(ME!)
    does not have a clue about how the story should proceed.Please help.

    Yours Sincerely,

    P.S.I’m just 14,and what I wrote was a mission from my teacher(unfortunately,he doesn’t have an answer to my question,either).

  55. John

    Dear Mr Akers,

    I am a script writer,as you would call me,and unfortunately I am STUCK.
    I need advice,so I’ll give you the outline:
    A Forsaken Force is working with an Alpha Team to overthrow the evil Draconian Empire.Right now they have raided two Draconian outposts successfully and captured a lot of blueprints. Now they are having a meeting, and I don’t know how to continue. Please help.

    Yours Sincerely,


    P.S.:I am a 14 year-old and the above was requested by my teacher. Unfortunately,he doesn’t have a clue about this question either.

    • yourscreenplaysucks


      Always go back to your characters. Who is the hero and what does he / she want? By discussing that question with your classmates and teacher, a lot of interesting things can come out. Who is the Hero’s opponent, and what does he / she want… what steps are being taken to keep the Hero from getting what he wants?

      What are the obstacles that keep the good guys from getting what they want?
      How can you make those obstacles insurmountable… and then come up with clever and unexpected ways for them to be solved?

      It’s not easy, that’s for sure.

      Good luck!


      • John

        Thank you!I will take your advice , and since you asked…
        Draconian Empire:
        With Commander Ogel The Vanquisher in lead,the world’s elite citizens aids him to achieve world domination.
        Forsaken Alliance:
        With General Karkus at the head of them all former sea elites/experts who have escaped the Draconian clutches have gathered.
        Alpha Team:
        With Commando Roger as the Leader;every member has a unique vehicle/aircraft and his/her own unique skills on: medicine,electronics,weaponry,computer technology,strategy,leadership,
        communications,diplomacy and others.
        Obviously they are out to stop Ogel and his plans for the world.

      • John

        Ah.Mr Akers.Thank you for the advice, and the script itself was considered ‘terrific’ by the principal.Just one flaw–THE ACTORS SUCK!When I saw how it turned out, I had an impulse to go hang myself.Maybe you should write a book for actors too.

        P.S:You might be interested to know that 100 of my friends and all my English teachers are reading your book(all thanks to me, of course!).

      • yourscreenplaysucks

        I’m glad so many of your friends are reading the book. Hearing that, makes my day. Sorry the acting in your film were not what you’d hoped. Sometimes it works out that way

  56. H.H. Nigontyne

    Hello, young writer. Perhaps you did not find the ending to your story before you began to write. No matter. You know now why it is you are “stuck,” as you say.

    For me, it seems a complete cessation of action for a battle to occur, capture some blueprints, then have a meeting. (Sound FX: crickets — or elevator music.)

    Would not your heroes have already decided their course of action before capturing said blueprints?

    Now that they have them, they do indeed know what to do with them.

    Better still, cut to the finished product of the blueprints to waste no time setting up.the next conflict and reversal to propel the story toward its surprise ending which you are now formulating in your young writer’s imagination.

    I hope this may help you.

  57. Piece of writing writing is also a excitement, if you
    know after that you can write if not it is complex to write.

  58. Pingback: Editing “Is” (Tip #72) | Screenwriting from Iowa

  59. August Kelm

    I picked up your book after a friend of the late (great) Blake Snyder suggested I give it a read in order to help my screenplays improve. For the longest time I knew there were things I missed, but just didn’t really know where to look other than the obvious (Formatting, spelling and grammar etc.). Needless to say, your book has found it’s way into the coveted “go to” section (right next to the Save The Cat trilogy, a few works from Dr. Linda Seger and Syd Field).

    I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to write this book and continue with the blog as well. They have been a tremendous help and I will continue to read them both in the years to come.

    Should we ever cross paths in life, remind me I owe you a drink. It’s the least I can do.

    Once again, thank you.
    -August Kelm

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      Blake, as you know, was the genesis for my book. I was telling him I was thinking about doing a checklist for my clients, so they could take care of the stuff from the checklist and then I could concentrate on higher end notes. “That’s a book.” He said. And he said he could get me a book deal. And he did.

      I’m glad you found it useful. I’m working on a sequel, and your email gave me quite a boost. So, thank you!

      In the drinks department, I’m lately a fan of a French 75.


  60. Pingback: Orson Welles at USC in 1981 (Part 1) | Screenwriting from Iowa

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      It’s pretty wonderful, isn’t it?! He was the most charming person I’ve ever met. It was an amazing evening, that’s for sure. I’m so pleased the footage finally surfaced, after a lot of years. Love to hear what your readers glean.

  61. waseem iqbal


    I’ve recently read your book and I find it most inspiring, especially the part about comparing the two singers Natalie Merchant and Patti Smith. You’re right there’s a huge difference, Patti’s version has more edge while Natalie’s makes for a good bedtime story, I know which version I’m going to be listening to regularly.

    I know your book will give me the edge I need to write better.


    • yourscreenplaysucks

      From what I’ve learned from readers over the years, you need to read my book three times… doing the checklist each time, to get the full benefit of the book.

      Good luck.

      Enjoy your writing.

  62. Gerd

    Reading “your screenplay sucks” – buckets of useful advise, some maybe the best I was ever given. And FUN, too!

    • yourscreenplaysucks


      Many thanks for the kind words. So pleased you found the book helpful. What other books have you felt give useful advice?

  63. Scott Phillips

    Mr. Akers, can you please finally settle once and for all the debate over how many spaces there should be after a period in a screenplay?

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      Well, I can try.

      I used to believe it was crucial to put two spaces after a period all the time, in all kinds of writing, which is what Mrs. Brew, my typing teacher taught me in 1974. After many conversations with my writer-son, who is younger than Mrs. Brew, I have changed my mind. Sorta. I still put two spaces all the time, because that is what is wired into my muscle memory.

      I believe that, because of the Courier font, it is correct and more easily legible to have two spaces after a period — but only in a screenplay. Not if you’re writing something in Times New Roman like a treatment or outline. In that situation, the “two spaces after a period rule” is no more.

      But, it is still correct with a screenplay because of the Courier font.

      Then again, it probably doesn’t matter all that much.

      How was that for a waffle-y answer?

      • Scott Phillips

        Appreciate the answer. So in today’s world a script won’t be thrown away just because the writer used only one space? As long as they are consistent?

  64. Having read “Your screenplay sucks” and learning a great deal I decided to contact Will and use his script critique service on my latest screenplay. It was extremely useful. He pointed out a large series of structural issues and character motivation problems that needed addressing. He was able to tell me what worked and what didn’t. We also had an in depth Skype chat about the screenplay and as well as being helpful Will’s a great guy! Would recommend him to any aspiring writer!

  65. Tehmina

    I am pretty sure it was your blog, but can’t find the post I’m looking for anywhere-it was around 2010/2011 and you had a pdf of all your favourite quotes. They were really random, I remember one by an American general on how to get soldiers to comply (respect, not fear). If you remember, is it possible to get the pdf again? If you have no idea, then I’m confusing you with someone else.

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      I can’t find the quote. I checked 2009 – 2014 and found nothing under “general,” “fear” or “respect.” Sorry to have not been able to help.

  66. alex alpha

    Hi,Mr Akers.I love your book very much,and I am still reading in progress.I’m a amateur writer,your book helped a lot about that”screenplay”still in my mind.As you can see, I’m a movie fan too,I watched a lot movie,after I read your book,there is a very big question comes to my mind:if a screenplay has to go through so many difficulties to turn into a real movie why there are so many suck big movies? I think you know what I mean,like “stealth 2005”, a lot of money has put in to this project,I know to make a good movie is difficult,but at least, they should have a better screenplay.I hope my question won’t be stupid. Thanks for your time.

    • yourscreenplaysucks


      Good question!
      And, glad you’re finding the book helpful.
      It’s hard to make a movie. That’s the real answer. Nobody ever sets out to make a bad movie, that’s for sure. But, sometimes the best intentions go off course. One problem with big movies is they are often cooked up by committee, and a lot of cooks doesn’t work very well. In a kitchen or making a movie. When too many people think their opinion matters, it’s tougher for the end result to be good.
      Pixar has got an excellent process… lots of opinions, but with a plan of attack. And, Pixar won’t move forward until the script is really ready to go. Their scripts are amazing, and the writer has to deal with a lot of people’s opinions, but as I said, there’s a plan. And it works.
      Sometimes, with a big budget, money comes in and chaos comes out.
      Plus, fear.
      A lot of frightened people (when giant money is involved, people get afraid) don’t make the best decisions and that can throw the script off track.
      It’s not easy, that’s for sure.
      Good luck with your writing. I hope it’s pleasing you.

  67. James Collins

    Hey Will, been trying to find some current scripts, say, a Game of thrones, a Viking script or even a Mad Men one. Trying to figure how many pages go into one of these episodes, especially how to figure out timing on set up of scenes and/or non-verbal actions or sequencing. Can you help?

    • yourscreenplaysucks


      My two suggestions are: and “drews script-o-rama” Otherwise, google and see what happens.
      Good luck!


  68. James Collins

    Hey will, been googling and nothing at most sights. DId find script not in format or number of pages somewhere. Thanks for the reply. Also let me know if you’ll read & critique an episode or two. And what that might cost.

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      Happy to critique anything you want me to!
      email me at will at willakers dot com and we’ll figure it out.
      How many pages?

  69. James Collins

    Doing a massive rewrite. Episode one was 22 pages. with visuals I thought it might be enough. Rewrote it down to 20. Timed it at 27 minutes. so I’m breaking into episode 2, cleaned a few things up Now episode one is 46. which might be too much. Work has been hectic. Will check those sites and let you know. At the moment it’s 46 pages.

  70. Beverly Rose

    Hi Will. I just finished reading the introduction. I was in Zihuatenejo in 1963 and loved it. If you ever do go, let me know. I’ll meet you there. Now, back to reading your delicious book. Beverly
    ps. There’s got to be a way to have the most recent comments to your blog at the top of the page. Want me to research?

  71. Will,
    Your book is very good. I’ve read it in preparation for my script. I need you to read what I have so far. It’s not very much, but I tried to write enough for you to understand the plot. It is inspired by a few different films, (Blade Runner, Taxi Driver, The Game, Brazil, A Clockwork Orange, etc.) Would you mind reading what I have so far?

  72. Got a promo code for you’re new webinar?

  73. Pierre K.

    Excellent critique from the master himself! After sending my screenplay in for a thorough review, I got meaningful, precise and no-holds-barred feedback, which is what any screenwriter needs to up his game. Thanks, Will. You contribute to the craft enormously.

  74. Jonathan Levine


    I just picked up a copy on the recommendation of a friend in the biz, as I have the Best Idea Ever for a movie and not a clue where to start (first time you’ve heard that, right?). I must confess I would have downloaded (stolen) it if I’d been able to find it online, but, alas, couldn’t. So far, it’s a gas to read, and it’s oiling the wheels. One beef: When you cite “Crash”, well, it’s the wrong one. I can’t tell you how pissed I was when Haggis used that title *after* Cronenberg made his stunning film of Ballard’s “Crash”. So I’ll *never* watch the Haggis, even though he’s redeemed himself a teeny bit by ditching Scientology.

    Anyway, I do expect to continue to thoroughly enjoy – and learn from – your book. Thanks.


  75. wanda

    Just finished this book and I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed it. I took notes and it was a reminder of how meticulous writers have to be. I’ve gone back to some of my screenplays and can catch errors I made. So now I will rewrite until I get it right!!. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      Thank you for the kind words. I’m so glad the book helped.
      Please tell your writer friends about the website (and the book!). This writing game isn’t easy, that’s for sure. But, if you keep pounding away, it will get better. And better.
      Enjoy your writing!

  76. Myron Porter

    Mr. Akers,
    I find that the ratio of BS to usable information for screenwriting is even worse than for other creative writing endeavors. Your book, however is one of the sparkling exceptions. With a distinct voice, it accelerates toward the finish (like a screenplay). While I love “On Writing” for the same reasons, your book gives an incredible amount of actionable data. Enormous bang per buck.

    I don’t have any spare cash, but I do have your book (now heavily marked up). When I DO have spare cash, I hope use your services. And, when I sell a script, I want to shake your hand.
    “How refreshing to read the truth,” David Mamet (paraphrase).
    Much appreciation,

    • yourscreenplaysucks


      Thank you so much for the thoughtful comment. When you send a book out, you never know what people will take from it.
      I’m pleased it has proved helpful.

      Enjoy your writing,


      • Myron Porter

        I see a comma error in my original comment. SIGH That’ll teach me not to use my phone for typing (without my glasses). Onward and downward . . .

  77. yourscreenplaysucks

    Nothing like pressing SEND to make a typo become obvious.

  78. James Mavor

    HI there. We do indeed include your fantastic book on our reading list for our MA Screenwriting degree here at Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland. Cool of Brad to reach out and even more cool of you to respond. If we could fix up a short zoom call I know that I and our students would relish it. Could we do that? James Mavor

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