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On Writing the Average Screenplay

Updated on March 27, 2016

Even the "Average" Screenplay Has Value

Much is said about crafting the blockbuster screenplay but so little is mentioned about writing a good screenplay. Good can sometimes be a lot better than great. Writing a great screenplay can be extremely difficult. Some may say a "great" screenplay is subjective and a matter of taste. And then there are those people who can never be pleased no matter what you write. Ignore them. Write good screenplays that show you know what you are doing. You could say a good screenplay does no harm.

So What Is A Good Screenplay Anyway?

A good screenplay can be deemed okay, decent or even average. Since these descriptions do not exactly sound like a screenplay that will raise eyebrows, most aspiring writers have their hearts set on writing the next legendary script. Such an approach is certainly advisable but it never is a bad idea to write one or two of those good scripts.

At the very least you have something completed and available as a sample.

Can crafting a "2 1/2 Star" screenplay help your career? It won't propel you to the A List but it can get you some positive feedback. That alone could be enough to at least start the process of progressing your career.

As long as you are not writing a bad screenplay, you have something you can help contribute to your career aspirations. A bad screenplay is one that does little more than establish you as an incompetent. Being an average writer is a lot better than being deemed an incompetent. Over written screenplays that try to make the writer appear like a visionary often fall flat. The best way to write a bad screenplay is to try too hard to write a great one.

The Short Term Goal of the Good Screenplay

In truth, writing a decent screenplay is probably the best short term goal you should have. By "decent," it is meant you may wish to write a good screenplay that literally does not harm. Okay, what does this mean? Most books on screenwriting note you must craft the "classic" screenplay that will make you a hot property whom all the agents and producers in Hollywood want to call in for a meeting. Writing such screenplays is definitely advised but let's be honest -- it is not exactly easy to create the next greatest thing in whatever genre you have selected.

So, you may wish to use your considerable talents to craft a plot driven script that can be deemed a good script but not a great one. Basically, you want to write an screenplay that shows you have some skill but won't exactly set the world on fire. At this point, you might be wondering what value an average screenplay would have if agents and managers aren't going to be all that interested in it. Basically, you can use it as a resume enhancer.

That "average" screenplay might receive some notice in several screenplay competitions. If you enter it into several contests and walk away with positive reviews, special mentions, or third place rankings, you are achieving something of value. You might not be walking away with the top prize but you definitely will have far more accolades than those that attempt to write the next great screenplay only to craft a truly bloated and poorly written screenplay.

Imagine if you were to become a script reader or an assistant in Hollywood as you venture on your journey to become a screenwriter. That "average" script will display you have some ability. Good-not-great is not exactly a bad moniker if it establishes some basic skills and credibility with industry professionals you meet along your travels.

And here is a little secret, you get better with each and every screenplay you write. (Granted, criticism is always going to be levied at your work no matter how good it is)) You can always build upon your talents when you finish that first "merely decent" screenplay all the while that "average" screenplay is helping you move the ball forward in terms of your career.


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    • mejohnson profile image

      mejohnson 5 years ago

      Very useful. Always wanted to write a screenplay. It makes sense to start small and build upon it.

    • GoForTheJuggler profile image

      Joshua Patrick 5 years ago from Texas

      Even the greatest Hollywood filmmakers had to start somewhere. The key is just to keep writing. Then, set it aside and work on something else. After a few months, reread your earlier works, and make adjustments based on what you've learned. Voted up, useful, interesting, and shared!