This intern will PASS, CONSIDER, or RECOMMEND your screenplay. 95% of screenplays submitted are passed (meaning they will NEVER be looked at ever again by anyone) because these scripts are horrible. I could go on an on about the outrageously bad scripts I’ve read for managers, but that’s another blog. Less than 1% of scripts submitted to managers/agents are Recommended.
These are the questions that inters answer when doing script coverage. If your script has any flaws, (meaning they don’t answer these questions correctly) it will NOT BE SEEN by the manager/agent. Before I submit a script to anyone important. I make sure my screenplays answers all these questions to get a RECOMMEND.
Is it clear whom the story is about? Who are rooting for?
Can you identify in some way with the main character? Are they likeable?
Are the characters believable?
Is their behavior consistent with human nature?
Is character revealed through what people do visually rather than what they say? (Film is a visual medium)
Does the main character change, grow, or develop? (they should)
Is the main character active or passive? (should be active)
Are the supporting characters good “foils” for the protagonist?
Are the hero and the antagonist evenly matched? (antagonist should be evenly matched or more powerful)
What’s at stake for the main character? What do they want?
Are major characters introduced too late?
STRUCTURE and STORY
Is the opening exciting?
Does the story “get rolling” quickly enough?
How is the exposition handled?
Is it a good story? Is it compelling? Is it involving?
Is the conflict, and what the story is about clear in the first few pages?
Does it flow? Or are the scenes choppy or confusing?
Does the script have strong narrative drive? Or does it ramble?
Does the story develop or unfold in an interesting way?
Are the scene transitions smooth or visually interesting?
Does the second act sustain your interest?
Do the climax pay off on the promise of the beginning?
Does the structure feel balanced, or is something out of place?
Is the ending satisfying? Or does it leave you with that “so what” feeling?
Does the antagonist get their comeuppance? Does the punishment fit the crime?
Does the writer “follow through” on all his story lines? Do minor characters work out their problems?
Is there strong conflict?
Will the main idea of the film “grab” an audience? Is there a “hook”?
Are there elements on which to build an advertising campaign?
Is the concept unique?
Is it easily explained in a few words? Is it pitchable?
Is there a clear theme? What is this movie about?
Are there other films with similar themes that can be used for comparison?
Does it sound the way people really talk?
Is dialogue consistent? Do people stay “in character?”
Do all the characters sound the same? (They shouldn’t)
Is the dialogue appropriate to the period of the film?
If it’s a comedy, is it funny?
Does the dialogue “track well?”
Is the script too “stagey” or too “talky,” relying too much on dialogue and not enough on visuals?
Are the speeches relatively short and easy for actor to memorize?
Would the production be expensive?
Are there any special sequences that would drive up the budget or that could be trimmed to save money?
Would “star” actors or other talent be requested to make the project work? (Would it work only in the hands of certain directors, for example?)
What other films does this reflect in terms of potential budget?
Do casting suggestion come to mind? Sometimes the writer will make casting suggestion in the script? Are they appropriate?
Would casting present any special problems or challenge?
Are there too many characters for the size of the story?
THE BOTTOM LINE
If you ran the studio and could only make ten movies a year, would this be one of the them?
Would you see this movie or recommend it to a friend?
Who is the intended audience for this film? Is that audience large enough to justify the cost of the picture? (A film must make three or four times its production cost to show a profit?)
Does the script work “on its own terms”? It may be exploitive horror movie, but is it a GOOD exploitive horror movie? If it’s a comedy, is it funny?
Is it an appropriate for the studio you work for? Is it what your employees are looking for?
Is the idea timely? Does it relate to something currently in the public awareness? Is the timing right for this movie?