In my last post, I talked about how there are no hard and fast "rules" to screenwriting if they keep you from writing the best story possible. However, if there were rules, these are some I would suggest. Or, to quote Captain Barbosa "...more of what you would call 'guidelines' than actual rules". So without further ado:
- Thou shalt not use a song and dance routine to make characters realize they actually like each other: "I hate you and completely resent you coming into my life. Wait, what's that you say? You'll dance to "My Girl" with me? I love you."
- Thous shalt not Montage: Please, resist the urge at all costs. Unless your movie is based around a character named Rocky and he is training to defend America against the evil communist cheaters, all set to the tune of 80's glam rock.
- Thou shalt not use magical bullets: A bullet weighs around 3-4 grams. Can we stop believing that it can stop the forward motion of a 220 pound man and then throw him ten feet backwards through the air?
- Thou shalt not use "The letter home" cliche in war movies: You might as well take that soldier and put him in a red Starfleet uniform. We all know he's going to die.
- Thou shalt not start a movie with the character waking up: Unless it is absolutely vital to the story to start there, we will assume that your character wakes up and gets ready before going to work.
- Thou shalt not use the magical computer: Oh, your character said they took some computer programming classes at the Community College? Perfect! Let's hack that government super computer from this remote terminal and then uplink it to the Alien spacecraft so we can override their flight controls and make it crash.
- Thou shalt not say "No Service" with your cell phone: I think this link pretty much covers why not.
- Thou shalt not write your hero into a corner where they have to do something really stupid to keep the movie going: "Hey Aragorn, we have this completely invincible ghost army. Should we go finish this thing?". "Nah, that's cool. Tell them to sit this one out while we march off to our our probable death, thereby dooming all of Middle Earth."
- Though shalt not use stupid villains: "Sir, our super weapon is complete." "Did you put the really big, easy to see, self destruct button on it?" "Yes" "Did you label it so that anyone will know they just have to push that to end our plans?" "Yes". "Excellent, bring the hero in here, tie them up next to the superweapon, use only one rope and leave only one guard. But not until after I am done telling them my plans".