Essential. Efficient. Entertaining. Those aren’t rules. Those are writing sensibilities. And as I said in the OP, I’d rather aspiring screenwriters work with those sensibilities in mind than supposed ‘rules’.

For context, understand that I have been doing this for over 30 years and teaching for over 15. In that time, I’ve intersected with quite literally hundreds, if not thousands of writers learning the craft. Frankly, the fundamentals of screenplay format and style are not that hard to learn. Yet, this is where so many writers get hung up: Break into Act Two on page 25. Don’t use “we see”. Can’t write ‘unfilmables’. Instead of fully embracing their creativity, they write from a restricted space.

I agree that “restriction” can engender creativity, but we already have those at work in a big way in a screenplay: 90–120 pages to tell a story. Scenes typically between 1 1/2–2 pages. Every line, every word ought to be written with the screenwriting mantra in mind: “Minimum Words, Maximum Impact.” But again, that is a SENSIBILITY, not a rule. An awareness. A mindset. As screenwriters, we should know we have to do MORE with LESS.

So I’d say we’re having an agreement! I just know that in Hollywood, they care MUCH MORE about a writer’s creativity, instincts, and voice, and the ability to translate that onto the page rather than a script which reads like the writer is tiptoeing between an onerous set of supposed ‘rules’.

Thanks for your comment!

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store