Screenwriting : How Bad Was Your First Script? by Imo Wimana Chadband

Imo Wimana Chadband

How Bad Was Your First Script?

While I'm still growing, and learning, I can see definite improvement now that I'm crossing into my 4th script. I'm working hard, pushing myself to become better, and solidify my writing.

The past week, I have taken on the painstaking task of revising my first script...and man, oh man...was it horrible! haha

To put things into perspective, when I first finished it, I revised it and couldn't get it to anywhere lower than 123 pages. I literally tried, but thought there was no further I could improve it...Now...

I'm not even finished with this first new revised draft, and I've already cut down 22 pages! :/ Cringe worthy, right?

How did things go with your first script? Any horrible tales like that of my own?

Craig D Griffiths

Bad. The story was okay. But it just seemed to be there. It didn’t talk of anything.

People could watch and say “why did I watch that?”

The one thing I did have from page one, is good character dialogue. My characters are individuals and all sound like real people.

The biggest issue was it was plot driven. Things happened to the characters rather than as an outcome of their actions. It felt a bit episodic.

Still love it. But it’s not great.

Stephen Floyd

Action read like a novel, and it didn’t really have a third act.

Juno Dante Night

Stephen Floyd We've all been there.

Dan Guardino

My first script was a piece of crap. It read more like a novel than a screenplay and my formatting was a train wreck. The second and third screenplay I wrote was not much better.

Jim Boston

Imo, my first three scripts were horrible!

None of them had much of a plot.

A later effort, a take on "Animal House," had a bit of a plot...yet it suffered due to lack of character development.

I've still got those screenplays stored away...but they're so bad I don't even want to pull them out to look at 'em. (Oh, well...)

Dan MaxXx

I wrote my first script using a word processor, before the age of computers and Final Draft software. The concept was a coming of age story about 4 teenage friends out on the night... Then I saw "Hanging with the Homeboys" and it was the same concept as mine. I trashed my script after one draft.

Krista Crawford

Same here, it was like a novel. I pretty much had paragraphs of descriptions.

Jeff Caldwell

Awful. It was one of those hitman falls in love and wants out stories. I was 18 and hounded one of my professors at film school to read it. He finally read it and my dad was there to take me back to Philly. He invited us to his apartment and asked me if I wanted the truth or the lie. I said the truth. He said, "I didn't like it." Right in front of my dad too. it was awesome though. it was a 101 in harsh reality. his two compliments were that my format was good and I was persistent as fuck (in his own words). he just thought I needed to live more and experience life to tell a truly impactful story.

A few years later I got connected to a Hollywood director through a stroke of luck and typed a pilot up on word in a week or two. He read it. I actually think he liked it too, but he had some notes and whatnot. it was informal anyway, not a legitimate pitch. But he asked me the coveted question... "you got anything else?" and the answer was no because I was severely underprepared for everything at that point in my life. Also a great lesson. Always be prepared because you just never know. We emailed back and forth a few times but he was back in LA filming a show and I didn't want to come off as a pest so we kinda just lost touch. Anyway, sorry for rambling lol.

Tyler W. Moore

My first feature script was the first one I had actually written in screenplay format. It was 172 pages because I thought I had to write in all of the shots. The disadvantages of self-teaching.

Philip Sedgwick

My first script came about on Script Thing. Had a cool t-shirt, too.

Anyway, the script wasn't bad... an Indian mystic who has a vision he should play for the LA Lakers during the Magic, Kareem heyday... maybe a bit dialogue heavy (as most first scripts are), but I had talent interested. It's main liability, I didn't consider the cost of NBA licensing.Had no chance of being produced.

David Whelan

My first few scripts I'd dictated every camera move by typing CAMERA in block capitals. And I used thoughts as well as in 'Cade was thinking about shooting' for example. I liked the story though of my first formatted script back 2005 when I got Final Draft so I might revisit it one day. It was however, when really thinking about it a repackaging of Minority Report so maybe I should just leave it lol

Doug Nelson

My absolute first script (Lar's Homecoming) sold right off the bat in '72 to MTM. My screenwriting has gone downhill ever since.

Dan Guardino

Travolta's late manager/producer tied up my first screenplay for a year. It was a piece of crap but it was based on actual events and they must have liked the story. I have another producer wants to produce it but I would have to turn it into a documentary to get the funding. I don't know if I want to go ahead and make it into a documentary or not. Does anyone know where I can find a documentary script to see how they are written in case I decide to go ahead and do it?

Bill Albert

Spent a lot of time writing shooting scripts. Finally found out that's the wrong way to do what I was doing.

Adam Harper

My first 10 pages were okay but then the rest story was just going through the motions. I also found myself racing to the end so I could quickly go back and fix everything. The script is bad - thin on plot and wafer thin on character.

I've spent the best part of a year stewing over why I need to tell the story. My characters are well rounded now and I'm happy to let them guide me through the story so I'll be doing the next draft soon (and barely anything from the original script will be kept)

Imo Wimana Chadband

Hahaha It's fun hearing these stories. I don't know about you, but when I wrote my first script, I was pretty confident I had the best piece of material too. I thought to myself, "I'm going to make big bucks with this right here!, I nailed it!"...What the hell was I thinking? haha

Oh Doug, for real?! That's some accomplishment there for a first script. At the very least, you've had achievements many of us, at present, only aim to attain.

Mike W. Rogers

Imo! Did you see the news from Stage 32? Looks like LA is coming to you!

Joleene DesRosiers

I became an expert at exposition writing. I also assumed the reader could "see" what I was thinking! I thought I was doing the right thing, but I wasn't. I still think it's a great little story, but it would need to be completely written.

Thuy Hugens

First scripts are usually horrible because we believe we hold some great, earth-shattering message to share with the world. Once you get that baloney out of the way you can focus on learning the craft and truly begin writing.

Imo Wimana Chadband

Mike W. Rogers I'm super excited!!! I'm heading to Tobago this weekend as Independence Day is Saturday, and I'll be back in Trinidad on Monday. I so can't wait to be a part of the workshop next week, and meet some of the Stage32 crew that have been doing great things online here.

Imo Wimana Chadband

Hahaha, Joleene! I can definitely relate to that. I was cringing the entire time revising my first script. There was so much exposition.

Thuy, my story was...well not great...lol...but it's not bad. I'm still going to clean it up properly. My downfall was just not having a clue about format and how a script should be written. I was throwing my poetry in their like there was no tomorrow, haha.

Mike W. Rogers

Imo Wimana Chadband Have a great time, Buddy!! Use all of it to your advantage!

Imo Wimana Chadband

Mike W. Rogers Thanks man. Most definitely, bro!

Matthew Barker

My first script was so bad, the waste paper basket I threw it into promptly spat it right back out, then ran out of the house into oncoming traffic so it never had to suffer such indignities again.

Bill Costantini

Hi Imo,

Oh it was bad, Imo, it was bad I'm telling you.

It was so bad that Final Draft paid ME to stop using their software. Yes sir, it was bad.

It was so bad that, after I entered it in the Page Screenplay Competition, the following year they changed the rules to exclude anyone named "Bill" from entering. It was that bad, Imo.

It was so bad that my script consultant went into seclusion for five years after reading it.

It was so bad that a Faith-Based Producer bought it, just so he could burn it.

It was so bad that the protagonist left at the Midpoint and never came back. What a protagonist, I'm telling you. What a protagonist.

If was so bad that not even Save the Cat could save it, Imo. That's how bad it was.

It was so bad that the L.A. City Council passed a resolution banning me from the city limits "until 2064, or until Hell freezes over, whichever comes last," Imo. That city council, I'm telling you. "Whichever comes last." No respect. No respect at all.

Yes sir, Imo...it was a bad script. A bad, bad script.

Imo Wimana Chadband

Kay Luke glad to see your presence again :)

I'm trying my best to use all criticism to grow, and improve. I'm working hard man. I just finished the first revised draft a few days ago, I got it from 123 pages, down to 97. I hope that really shows promise to my future as a writer.

Imo Wimana Chadband

hahaha Matthew Barker It sounded like it had quiet the gruesome ending to it's life. May it's soul rest in peace. It's sacrifice was the first that sparked improvement to your craft, so it's death wasn't in vain.

Imo Wimana Chadband

*cringes

That bad huh, Bill?

Now you've got me curious enough to sacrifice my sanity and well being, to lay eyes upon such a script, capable of causing such havoc in the realm of the industry which has grown so dear to my heart.

If any consolation, I, Imo, will stand firm in petitioning the reversal of your banishment. For you have risen to become a master of the pen, both physical, and digital, and hold great value in these perilous times, where both writers and studios need a hero to look to.

Matthew Barker

Thanks Imo! It was for a good cause!

Mike W. Rogers

Just listening to. "The Coen Brothers, This Really Ties the Films Together",. and now I have to start over. Highly recommended.

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