Lindsey E.

How many screenplays have you read for BlueCat?
I have read over fifty.
What is your job when providing feedback to a writer?
My goal is to help the writer convey the story he/she is attempting to in the most effective way possible. I strive to highlight the strengths of the screenplay and also to illuminate areas that could use improvement and to offer suggestions for that improvement.
What is your attitude toward a screenplay before you start reading?
I approach every screenplay with an open mind. I’m always excited to read new material and eager to be taken on a journey.
How do you stay focused when reading a script you don’t find interesting?
Each script has its merits so I try to focus on those. Additionally, I take notes as I read so that definitely helps me stay focused.
What are three common problems that keep coming up when reading for BlueCat?
1.) Plots that lack an increasing intensity leading to a climax. I’ve read several that just follow a straight flat line to their conclusion as opposed to an incline with increasingly intense obstacles that have to be overcome.
2.) Characters without goals/desires they are working towards (I feel this directly impacts the plots I’ve noticed).
3.) Characters that are stereotypes instead of distinct individuals (a signifier is when a character is describes as “a typical ____”).
How do handle being critical without being mean?
It’s important to not belittle the work, and to use examples to illustrate to the writer a weakness he/she may not have noticed while writing. Because writing is a process I also try to keep in mind that even the worst screenplay can turn into something phenomenal with concentrated effort and revision. Above all else, I try to be direct and give critiques like those I would want to hear about my own writing.
How do you avoid unwarranted praise?
I think again, it’s important to be direct. If something is particularly well done I think it’s enough to say so and to give an example.
Do you have any pet peeves?
Sloppiness is my biggest pet peeve. I’ve read screenplays where midway through the protagonist’s name changes. It causes unnecessary confusion and is something that can easily be avoided.
What is the heart of a successful screenplay?
A story full of obstacles that have to be overcome, and a cast of human and compelling characters that have goals they are striving to achieve.  
What do you believe is the hardest part of the job of the screenwriter?
Detaching yourself from your work is extremely difficult, but it allows you to more objectively approach your characters, story, plot, and other elements.
What advice would you like to offer a screenwriter before they enter BlueCat?
Have a reading of your screenplay if you can. Get actors or friends to give your characters voices. It’s a great way to notice inconsistencies in your story, awkward dialogue, and a slew of other potential issues that are difficult to see while you’re buried deep in your work.

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