Andrew S.

How many screenplays have you read for BlueCat?
I have read approximately 200 screenplays for BlueCat.
 
What projects are you currently working on?
As a freelance writer, I am always hustling to get on projects that will expand my portfolio. I was most recently hired by an independent production company to design a number of pitch decks for the scripted series’ they plan on presenting to TV Networks. I am also currently workshopping a television pilot of my own and plan to release a blog comparing culturally significant albums that were produced in the 60’s and 70’s. 
 
What is your main job when providing feedback to a writer?
My main job is to help the writer. Whether that incorporates re-arranging scenes and plot devices so that the action flows more fluidly, or rounding out character arcs so that their development is more three-dimensional, offering advice that helps get the script to the place the writer envisions is my main focus.
 
What is your attitude toward a screenplay before you start reading?
Be open minded. There are certainly movies/scripts that I am naturally inclined to favor but when I receive a new script I let go of any pre-conceived notions of what particular genres, characters, etc… should look like. I focus exclusively on what the writer is trying to accomplish. A good story is a good story no matter what the genre is and some of my most favorite scripts have been about characters and genres that I would never have imagined being engaged with. 
 
What are three common problems that keep coming up when reading a screenplay?
1. Slow pacing; not making the dramatic premise abundantly clear within the opening pages and allowing too much time to pass before we see the obstacle the protagonist is faced with. 2. Heavy-handed, unrealistic and expository dialogue that becomes increasingly redundant over time. 3. Characters of the opposite sex are often times written superficially — men tend to write women as mere objects thrown into the narrative to drool over the male protagonist, while women often write men as unrealistic and overly emotional. 
 
As an experienced reader, do you have any advice for writing a screenplay?
Avoid the above problems. Know where you plan on taking the script. Have an outline done and be prepared to take constructive criticism from anywhere you can get it. Keep in mind that great scripts aren’t written, they are re-written!
 
What do you think is the hardest part of being a screenwriter? 
Dedicating 100% of yourself to the craft is definitely a challenge. Many people want to be writers but don’t have the discipline to work on something every day. As the brain is a muscle, writing is the exercise that will keep it in shape. 
 
What is the heart of a successful screenplay?
An engaging protagonist the audience wants to root for and a tangible obstacle he or she has to overcome. The best scripts I have read follow those two things to a T — everything else will fall naturally in to place.

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