Notes for Beginning Writers

In my experience this is what happens with one's first (or maybe first couple) screenplays. Image
You want to write it out first without plotting it. You don't want to put that beat-sheet on the cork board because you've got this idea and you just start writing it down.
And then at some point after months, perhaps years, of working on the damned screenplay you come to a realization that it sucks.
And you go back to try to de-suck the screenplay and the notes you get involve completely re-writing the entire thing.
The thing you've just spent months (years) writing.
And you say "ugh" and you just make a couple smaller changes because a page-one rewrite which fundamentally changes the first act (so that the last act can work) and you have to lose that scene you really like because it actually has nothing to do with your main character and what their want is and what their struggle is.
And it's all because you didn't plot out the dang movie in the first place.
You know, with a beat-sheet.
So, either you should just suffer through those first couple of screenplays that have major structural problems, or you should start out with the good advice of making a beat-sheet.
I'm not going to make that decision for you. Why? Because writing your first two screenplays is really freakin' hard, that's why. So if you get through it, and it sucks, it's OK. You finished. Sure, you put years of your life into it. But now you have it. And you can start working on the good screenplays that are coming...

For all that is holy make your lead character active. Stuff can't just happen to them and they are just "acted upon". They have to make choices. Deliberate choices to do important things. And those choices they make have to affect what's going on for the rest of the movie. Maybe they're put in a terrible position but they have to make some choices about what to do about it.

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