Is Your Script Finally Ready? Answer These & Find Out For Yourselves!

By Arun Fulara. Posted on June 18, 2015

The Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting is an international screenwriting competition established to identify and encourage talented new screenwriters. Each year, the Academy Nicholl screenwriting competition awards up to five $35,000 fellowships to amateur screenwriters. Fellowship winners are invited to participate in awards week ceremonies and seminars and expected to complete at least one original feature film screenplay during the Fellowship year. The competition for this year is now closed but keep an eye out for it when it opens again next year.

Their Facebook page is an excellent resource for aspiring screenwriters. Recently they shared the guidelines that their script readers look for when shortlisting scripts. These are extremely useful and can guide all you writers in your screenwriting process. How well does your script hold up against these questions?

Story

  1. Does the story have an original premise?
  2. Does that story idea start the movie forward?
  3. Does the story itself have a strong beginning, middle & end? How about two out of three?
  4. If the story is non-linear, does it make sense?
  5. Does this script make you feel like that the writer is taking you on a journey?
  6. Does the story connect with you emotionally, whether it's comedy, drama or any other genre?

Voice

  1. Does the script have a distinctive and original voice? (Or do you feel that you've seen or read this movie before)
  2. Are the premise, story and characters fresh & new for you?
  3. Does reading the script make you think, "This person genuinely has the potential to develop into a real writer"?

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Characters

  1. Does this script have vivid characters who each speak in their own voice?
  2. Do you want to know what happens to them?
  3. Does the central character change over the course of the story?
  4. If it's an ensemble film, does more than one character change?
  5. Do the dialogue and tone seem consistent from scene to scene?
  6. Does the way the people speak fit the tone and setting of the story?

Craft

  1. Does this writer know how to use description and dialogue to create suspense, tension, drama and conflict?
  2. Does the conflict propel the story forward?
  3. Do the main characters take actions that carry the story along?
  4. Are these actions in keeping with who these people are? Or do they happen "conveniently"?


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