Sunday, September 24, 2006

Screenwriting Rules

Sorry that I've been so remiss in blogging. I've had my hands full since August: sending daughter off to college, life, various catastrophes, and juggling several projects. I feel like I'm coming up for air (or I'm a Phoenix rising from the ashes). Take your pick.

I'm still doing the monthly column at, and I just sent them my newest one, "Witless". My husband says its the best one I've done yet, but what does he know.

On another note, I'd like to digress and ruminate a bit on the "screenwriting rules". You know, all the things you're not supposed to do---but I've seen done on sold, produced scripts.

For example, you're not supposed to write "unfilmmable bits". Well, in MY BEST FRIEND'S WEDDING, Ron Bass gets away with those cutting and witty asides that can't be filmed. (Yeah, but he's Ron Bass).

I've been told that you shouldn't have action paragraphs more than three lines. However, on the draft I read of WHAT LIES BENEATH, the action paragraphs are much longer.

So what does this all mean, in the end?


Rules are meant to be broken. And who thought up these crazy rules in the first place?

Do whatever you have to do to tell your story your way.

Now I'm not talking about weird formatting and the like, because there is a standard format (and with good reason). Typos and grammatical errors will just peg you for an amateur who doesn't know how to edit.

If you have a great idea with great writing, no one will notice or care if you broke or rewrote the rules.

Ask Ron Bass.

1 comment:

Peter Andres said...

PJ, It was a pleasure meeting you today at the house. I'll contact Renee if I can arrange for my people to come out.
Peter Andres