Why Plot Holes Happen and How Screenwriters Can Avoid Them

Why Plot Holes Happen and How Screenwriters Can Avoid Them


Why Plot Holes Happen

It’s easy — and lazy — to immediately point fingers at the screenwriter. Sure, there are many cases where screenwriters are to blame. However, the process of development and filmmaking as a whole only begins with the written word.  There are many filter systems in place before a movie is released to the masses — script readers, development executives, producers, directors, script supervisors, and talent. The blame doesn’t just fall on screenwriters.

Too Many Hands in the Cookie Jar

Hollywood likes to over-complicate things. There is a reason that a place called Development Hell exists, and that reason is the fact that there are all too often too many hands in the cookie jar.

When a screenplay is either under consideration or has been assigned to a screenwriter, the writing process doesn’t stop there. Development executives and their underlings — assistants and script readers (one in the same) — have the first taste. And they wouldn’t have jobs if they didn’t have a purpose, so that purpose results in notes. Yes, the term that causes most screenwriters to cower in fear.

Notes are offered ad nauseam. It starts with the development executives and their team and continues with producers, studio executives, directors, and talent. That amounts to dozens of subjective opinions offered by people that have their own vision of whatever implementation of concept is in question.

The screenwriter is pulled this way and that, with everyone believing that they know how the script should be in the end. Screenwriters are tasked to apply the many different notes through many different drafts and then usually additional screenwriters are brought in to enhance certain elements of the script. When that happens, now you have multiple writers with their own creative perspectives. And sure, most of them are clamoring for that 33% or more involvement to nab the heralded onscreen writing credit.

And the irony is that by the time all of this happens, the project has likely been packaged and sold to the studio or financier for the green light, thus, they will be shooting with whatever they have by the time that the set production schedule begins— based off of the overall schedules of the talent involved. So all of their work trying to develop and write the “best possible shooting script” often ends up hurting them in the long run.

Thus, we see different shifts of tone, atmosphere, logic, character arc, story arc, etc. And they’re stuck with it because the deadline has come and gone and it’s time to shoot.

Read the full article on Screencraft.org

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