Doc's Suggestions for Screenwriters


I''ve come up with the list below after thinking about the story lines of various movies and television programs that, while good, could have been better. I realized that sometimes the flaws were simple mistakes were made by the writer (or forced upon the writer by the director or producer), which could have been foreseen and avoided. In essence, this is a combination of a non-specific gripe list, along with a reminder of what not to do in my own writing.

1. The reason for the aliens invading earth should not start with the words "They need our ...."

2. Do not kill a dog. Better yet, don't have any dogs in the film (which would, of course, make films like "Lassie" problematic).

3. Once a character is dead, leave it that way. The only time it’s good to revivify a character is if they turn into a zombie.

4. Zombie dogs are ok.

5. No matter how cool or clever you think it is, do not name anything with an anagram or a word spelled backwards.

6. If the climactic scene involves the main characters just sitting on their hands and waiting it out, you've done something very wrong.

7. When it comes to story lines, "They went back in time and made it so it didn't happen, everything went back to the way it was, and no one remembers any of it" is the functional equivalent to "... and then he woke up and it was all a dream", and is just as bad (or worse).

8. Enough with injecting stuff into people's necks already.