What do you have to focus on when reading other people's screenplays to improve as a writer? No matter, how many screenplays I read, I can't seem to improve in my writing. What are the most important aspects in a screenplay you should focus on when reading other people's screenplays in order to improve as a writer when writing screenplays?

2 Answers 2


Round up the usual suspects.

  • How do they move the plot?
  • How do they pace the story?
  • How do they show character?
  • How do they do dialog?
  • How do they use timing?
  • What level of vocabulary do they use?
  • How do they produce emotion?
  • How do they make you care about the previous items?

Depending on the genre, you may have other "usual" questions. For example, if it's a comedic show, how do they produce laughter? (If they do.) Or if it's a horror story, how do they produce suspense? If it's an adventure, what produces excitement?

  • Keep in mind if an actor who is known for improvisation skills is cast attached to the show, you may have a dialog bit where the character isn't given a written dialog, but rather the instruction "[actor] does something funny" and let the actors just improvise dialog because they can be way funnier than the scriptwriter. Harpo Marx, Robin Williams, and Ryan Reynolds are some actors frequently handed scripts where their lines aren't there. Pruportedly, the Disney Film Aladdin was disqualified from most writing awards because so much of it was improved (Gottfried was also good for this too
    – hszmv
    Commented Jan 6, 2023 at 15:05

First you need to analyze your own attempts. If you find you can not determine what you are weak in, you may want to enlist some assistance from beta readers.

Then you need to concentrate on how those writers do what you are weak in.

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