Any filmmaker knows that a film begins with a script. A bad script produces a bad film, and vice versa. This is why a filmmaker in pursuit of box office success must endeavor to procure a good script from a well-trained screenwriter. Bad scripts are very common in the market and most of them have two standout errors.

One of these errors is too much action details. What a script does is to lay out the scenes to be shot in a movie production. Each scene begins with a brief description of the setting. Something like:

INT. RESTAURANT – DAY

What follows is a description of the characters present and their actions in the scene. Something like:

Kalu walks in and sits at a table in a corner. He looks around for a waitress, and sees a man by the counter, pulling a pistol out of the breast pocket of his suit.

Above is an example of a good action description. Compare it with this, for the same scene:

Kalu walks into the restaurant and closes the door. He removes his eyeglasses and glances at the people in the restaurant. He reads a poster on the wall. To his right, a man sneezes over his food. Kalu looks away, disgusted. He takes gentle steps to a table, wipes the chair clean with his handkerchief before sitting. He folds the handkerchief…

What I have done above is not necessary for a film script. There are just too many details. A script should have minimal description of actions taken by characters, giving the actors the opportunity to creatively interpret their roles and the director the creative freedom to do his damn job!

The other error most scripts have is having many characters that talk in the same way. Dialogue is the most important part of a film script. A script should be 80 – 90% dialogue. Amateur screenwriters often forget who their characters are while writing dialogue. Imagine a very regular pastor speaking like this:

PASTOR KEN:

Men, this is not the way to do this. Bro, listen make I tell you. That your style no just make sense.

Don’t get me wrong. Unless in the script, Pastor Ken is designed to speak like this, this is wrong for a regular man of God.

As a screenwriter, don’t forget who your characters are. In another post, I will be teaching you how to give life to your characters and allow them to speak themselves instead of forcing them say things your own way.


PS: Chika Writes Enterprise is here to make sure you have excellent stories and scripts for your movies. We have served top clients in Nollywood to their satisfaction. Contact us today for an unforgettable experience.

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Chika Ugwuodo

Chief Executive Officer at ChikaWrites Enterprise
Chika Jude Ugwuodo is the founder of ChikaWrites Enterprise. He is a published writer and creative content developer. His years of experience in the commercial writing industry cuts across storytelling, screenwriting, blogging, book and article writing, editing, online content creation and ghostwriting. He lives to create and write. And when he is not writing, he is teaching others the skill and consulting on projects. He is single and lives in Enugu state, Nigeria from where he runs his business.

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