111: What If Your Script SUCKS & How To Fix It (Part 1)

Film Trooper Podcast - What if your script Sucks
Film Trooper

[Podcast] What If Your Script SUCKS & How To Fix It (Part 1)

In this episode, I explore what happens when your script isn't working and how to fix it.

orange bar thin


One of the great freedoms that we all possess is the ability to write a story.

And story is king in filmmaking ...

It’s not the camera ...

It’s not the newest drone …

Story remains the most vital aspect of filmmaking ...

I should clarify, filmmaking as a form of storytelling.


Since today's indie filmmakers can rush out and make a film right now ...

Maybe they shouldn't ... Yet.

Until they've worked out a great story.


I don’t have the most amazing equipment, but I have enough to make a feature film that looks good and doesn’t deter from the storytelling process.

My feature film, THE CUBE which was shot for $500 without a crew, was my experiment in seeing if I could make a feature narrative for so little.

Working on my next feature narrative ...

I don't want to leave the world of the ridiculously low micro-budget behind ... just yet.

I want to see if I can tell a better story within those parameters.




Is that the writing process can be painful.

I commiserate with every writer and filmmaker who has worked so hard to create a good story ... only to have people NOT respond to the material.

I’m human, believe me, it feels awful ...




You question everything ...  

  • “Why am I doing this?”
  • “Maybe I don’t have any talent.”
  • “This sucks, sucks, sucks.”

Then after you go through the self doubt and pity party ...

You get back to work.




It’s not personal ...

Although it feels like it is … But professionals get back up and do the work.

And doing the work, means working the problem.

Why is the story NOT working?

It’s no longer fixing MY story ... I'm fixing THE story.


In this podcast episode, I’ll share with you my new script in all of it's painful glory.

The goal is to be transparent about the creative process.

Part 1 is to expose the problems ... which is the script itself.

Part 2 is about working on fixing the problems.


If you’ve listened to Podcast Episode #105 with Disney and Pixar screenwriter, Rob Edwards, you would have heard me ask specific questions about how the Pixar Brain Trust meetings work.


Film Trooper Podcast - Rob Edwards, Screenwriter and Pixar's Brain Trust

If you’re not familiar with Pixar's Brain Trust, it’s essentially a meeting where all the top creatives get together on every story that is being developed with the purpose of making the story great!

By Pixar’s own admittance, every Pixar film is terrible at one point.  So, like us, they’re only human ... They will often find themselves at moments when the story isn’t working.

But unlike the Hollywood studio process, where a screenwriter will receive “notes” from all sorts of studio suits, that may have no bearing to the overall story and vision …

And where those notes are expected to make it into the following drafts …


Pixar works differently.


Whomever is the creative lead for that particular project will present the story to the BrainTrust, which consists of all the other directors and writers from the other teams.

Whatever exchange of ideas happen in those meetings ... The creative team presenting doesn’t have to implement any of the ideas.

There is no mandate to implement any of the notes.

But the candid discussion about what is working ...

And what is NOT working in the story ...

Reveals solutions on how to fix the problems.


There’s more to the BrainTrust structure ... So, I recommend going back and listening to Rob Edwards talk about it in podcast episode #105.


But here’s what cool ...

This stuff is free!

You can do this for our own projects.


I just wrote a new script.

Yes, I know it’s not 100% there ... yet.

But, in part 2, you’ll see how I form my own BrainTrust group and will workshop my script with them …

And you get to see this happen live!


My goal is to let you know that you’re not alone in your creative struggles.

The creative process is messy.

And sometimes, it’s not a place to think about marketing, sales, etc.

The creative process should afford you to only think about what’s in front of you ... and that’s the story.


In this podcast episode, you'll hear my script.

I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time ...


Like I said, we all have the freedom to write a story.  We all freedom to organize our own Brain Trust group.  

And now, we all have the freedom to put our script into an audio presentation.


I’ve taken the time to narrate my script; acting out all the parts the best I could.

I added music and sound effects to create a cinematic world of sound that best communicates my vision without having to shoot one single frame … yet.



Now that I have my script in this format, it should read and feel like a movie.

I should be able to identify the pacing problems, and the story moments that are working, and the areas that aren’t working.


I want you to imagine you came across this film on Netflix ...

After you watched it, what would you think?

What kind of reaction would you have?

We’ve all watched films and said to ourselves, "Man, that film fell short in this area, or they should have done this instead."


By creating this audio format, much like the Black List Table Read does on their podcast, where they record and perform the best of Hollywood’s screenplays that haven’t been made yet ... You allow yourself to better visualize how your story is playing out.


Without further adieu, here is the logline for the story you’re about to hear:


In this paranormal thriller, a 12 year old girl, alone in her house, must connect with her dead twin sister to help fight off a vengeful spirit before it possesses her.


Please enjoy this audio presentation, almost like watching the movie itself!

Keep in mind all the things you would have fixed in the story ...

Then join me for part 2 ...

Where we put the Brain Trust to work in making this story better.

Thanks for listening and enjoy!


gray bar thin


I finished my film ...

But now what?

You're in luck!

This FREE video series can help.

blue bar thin

Was this post helpful?

If you've found value in this post, please share it!

Follow Film Trooper at ...




Scott McMahon is a Fellow Film Trooper at Film Trooper, a website for helping filmmakers attain filmmaking freedom. Scott recently made a feature film for $500 with no crew called, The Cube. Want to know what equipment was used to make that film? Grab a FREE gift at www.FREEGEARGUIDE.com