I read a lot of screenplays. None of them are perfect. It’s a big part of my job as an unemployed movie director to evaluate these scripts and suggest improvements.
Almost every script I’ve ever read could have been better if the writer had followed the advice of director and story artist Emma Coats, who famously tweeted a series of “story basics” learned during her tenure at Pixar.
1: You admire a character for trying more than for their successes.
6: What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal?
13: Give your characters opinions. Passive/malleable might seem likable to you as you write, but it’s poison to the audience.
I found myself so enamored with Emma’s observations that I wanted some way of reminding myself of them while I work. I considered printing them and pinning them to my office wall, or turning them into a text screensaver.
Alex, I wish you’d do the rest, and make them available as high-res JPEGs.
Then I could finally start writing.