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Test Your Screenwriting I.Q. (Pt. 7)

Steve Kaire gets to the truth of the matter when it comes to screenwriting misconceptions.

True or False

1. The first five pages of a screenplay should be devoted to giving exposition and the character’s back story.
That’s false. The back story should be layered in gradually throughout your screenplay.

2. Your logline should tell what’s happening in your story almost like an unfolding of your scenes in order.
That is false. Tell what your story is about, not what happens in your story.

3. The bible of the entertainment industry is the Hollywood Creative Directory.
That is true.

4. Dialogue should be overwritten in order to give the actors more than they need and be able to discard what they decide not to use.
That’s false. Dialogue should be minimalistic.

5. Unintended consequences are usually found in science fiction films.
That’s true.

6. You should always memorize your pitch.
That is false. If you memorize it and forget a few words, the pitch may not sound right and you’ll have to start again. Your pitch should sound like “practiced spontaneity.”

7. To file a litigation case for theft of material, you have to prove two things: similarity of the material and provable access to the company you’re suing.
This is true.

8. The length of most options is six months to a year.
That’s false. Most options are from one to two years in length.

9. A typical rewrite deal has half the money paid upfront and the other half paid when the material is turned in.
This is true.

10. Getting an option renewed is the best scenario a writer can expect from an option deal.
False. While getting it renewed is good, the best scenario is exercising the option. That means the option reverts into a sale.