Yes, I know, your competition entry is unique and took months of blood and tears, but I've read hundreds, if not thousands, and I see the same problems time and time again.
So, bear with me. See if any of these could possibly apply to you.
1. Your treatment doesn't match your script
There's too much about the beginning, too little about the middle, and almost nothing of the end.
The first page and a half of your two page competition treatment correspond to the opening 30 minutes - with the second act taking up a third of a page and the ending crammed into a sentence at the end. Does this ring a bell?
We all know how difficult it is to explain all that stuff you need to know at the start... so, don't.
We actually don't need all that information. Tell us the story - in proportion. A quarter of the treatment should equal a quarter of the film. It's tough, I know. But that's the job.
(Of course it could be that your script really does spend an hour and a half setting things up, in which case, boy, have you got problems!)
2. Your protagonist doesn't drive the story
Your treatment is so busy telling me all the awful things that happen to her, that your protagonist never gets round to doing anything for herself. Her actions, if they exist, are reactions.
Your protagonist must take the story by the scruff of its neck, and make things happen. She must decide on a goal and go for it.
I don't care if it's thriller action like Gravity or gentle indie romance like Juno, she has to drive the story forwards by her own actions.
3. The basic premise or pitch of the treatment/script is flawed
This is the biggie. The most common fault with the competition entries I see, and most difficult. You can sometimes fix the other two, if the idea behind the treatment is strong to begin with. But if the premise is weak, there's nothing there.
Most competition treatments have one good idea, maybe one-and-a-half, but a great premise needs at least two good ideas, maybe three. Often, those ideas are there, half developed in the writer's mind, but need to be brought out.
As a competition judge, I can only go by what you write. If the ideas aren't on the page, I can't guess at them. It's a shame. I'm sure many treatments and scripts could be great, if the premise had been developed more clearly.
Get your entries ready for the Euroscript Screen Story Competition 2014
If you win the Euroscript Screenwriting Competition you'll get three full script reports (usually running to 10-15 pages) on three drafts of your screenplay and as many meetings, telephone conversations and as much email correspondence as you need with your Script Editor. This intensive script development programme has one goal: to get your screenplay ready for market. Deadline for entries 31st March.
See full details of the Euroscript Screen Story Competition 2014
And if you want to fix your premise/pitch...
...I'm running a weekend workshop on selling and pitching to help you develop the best premise for your treatments and scripts. You get two days of practical information on what producers and agents want to see and how to approach them for the best results. Plus intensive work on your individual premise/pitch with personal feedback. January 25-26 - there are a few places left.
Find out more about the Complete Selling and Pitching Weekend now.
THE ONLY PLACE TO TALK ABOUT THE CRAFT OF SCRIPTWRITING.