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Screenwriting : What are the top 5 reasons spec scripts are rejected? by Victor Titimas

Victor Titimas

What are the top 5 reasons spec scripts are rejected?

Or not bought...

CJ Walley

It won't make enough money.

It won't make enough money.

It won't make enough money.

It won't make enough money.

It won't make enough money.

Beth Fox Heisinger

Haha! Sad but true!

Doug Nelson

Basically, 'cuz they're no damn good. C.J. is right; filmmaking is a business that only survives by making money.

CJ Walley

To elaborate on this;

It's not good enough to attract valuable talent, so it won't make enough money.

It'll cost as much to make than revenue it will generate, so it won't make enough money.

It's too similar to a property they have in the market, so it won't make enough money.

It's too difficult a concept to market effectively, so it won't make enough money.

It appeals to too small a demographic, so it won't make enough money.

Lindbergh E Hollingsworth

CJ nailed it. And Doug brought up the second point that was spot on. When a write gets a big 'phat' paycheck for script. it is a RESULT of having written a script that is in top form.

Dan MaxXx

If you’re talking about selling scripts to Hollywood corporations... Fear and Time. People (salary folks) don’t get fire for saying “NO.” People get fire for saying “YES.”

And who wants to start from scratch? That’s what specs are. Nobody asked for it.

Wal Friman

1. The logline is a mess

2. The first paragraphs confirm it wasn't a coincident.

3. The title on next script on the pile gets the reader's fantasy going.

Craig D Griffiths

If we take a standard commerce approach to this it is easy to see the truth.

What problem does the product solve? In this case does it entertain the people who are willing to pay to see it? (is there an audience - a chance to make money).

Does it represent value? Can the product get to the market at a cost that makes enough profit to justify the effort?

That translates to CJs point. If a producer/studio/whoever can spend $10 and make $100 they will do that forever.

I am so so so happy we didn’t get the “Structure”, “format”, “rules” or “Hollywood wants” answers. We landed immediately at a sensible answer.

Louis Tété

Unfortunately this ain't the 90's anymore

CJ Walley

It's essential we hone our craft and raise our awareness of commerciality. Communities like ours are are all too much danger of becoming overly introspective. On many screenwriting forums, Victor's question would be answered with something more like; Typos, Formatting, Using We See, Bold Sluglines, and Structure. We have to get real when it comes to any conversation about selling a script. First and foremost, we're submitting an investment proposition to a business person, not handing in our homework to a teacher.

Felix Boahen

Real talk, CJ. So we need not to impress producers with the number of screenwriting rules we've learned. All we need to do is to bring out something marketable, is that right?

CJ Walley

If we want to sell a property, it has to be seen as valuable. Everything is critical from concept to execution but a highly valuable concept executed poorly is always going to be more valuable in a business sense than a worthless concept well executed.

That said, we should absolutely take pride in mastering our craft to our best ability not only for personal fulfilment but to find paid work via assignments. We may find it's us looked to when someone needs that badly executed concept turned into something worthy of attracting valuable talent and potentially securing awards.

So try to be a business headed artist who's less concerned about validation from peers and more concerned about entertaining an audience.

Richard Gustason

Pretty much the main thing is you got to ask yourself "Is this spec sellable?" I mean, if you looked at your script from a different pair of eyes would you buy it or want to film it? Sometimes 5 things as to why the spec is not selling is really just one main thing you need to work on. The other four will fall into place. But this is an opinion so take it as it is.

Dan Guardino

Poorly written.

No connections in the business.

No track record.

Quit before they paid their dues.

Steve Cleary

1. Hero doesn't experience a character arc

2. Fails the Bechdel test

3. Not enough gay characters

4. Too much scatological humor

5. Poor technical formatting

Stephen Floyd

If you make it yourself, you don’t have to ask that question.

Craig D Griffiths

Steve Cleary

Have to disagree this time. I have a script about a lesbian drug dealer that ticks all your boxes. It’s not going to sell. Just not the sort of films that gets made.

Steve Cleary

Craig D Griffiths Sounds like an interesting premise to me! Is it a thriller? I often see leads on InkTip or Screenwriting Staffing looking for LGBTQ material (though their actual preference is likely for it not to be written by straight white middle-aged males, which is fair enough :^)

Craig D Griffiths

I had one person option it. They wanted a happy ending. If they purchased it they can rewrite it to end anyone they want. But a murderous drug dealer - not really. I am also not a happy ending kind of guy.

I think it was just a bit to bleak.

I agree if I was writing about the experience of being a lesbian. I can only harvest the stories of friends so much. Eventually you need to live something. But I can write how I have seen my gay friends react.

Amy was a street level dealer who wanted more out of life and wanted to be able to be a better mum to her little sister. She is also trying to reconcile with her ex-girl friend. She set up her own deal cutting out her boss - this is when shit went down hill.

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