Script Analysis Reel Authors logo

Screenwriting Tips

Expert screenwriting tips by working screenwriters

Your Script Must Emote Well to Readers

Great scripts take you on an emotional journey.

Do you remember the journey some of these movies took you on?

If your script does not emote well to your reader, it’s not going to impress them.


Bring plenty of emotion into your screenwriting

Work hard at bringing LOTS of emotion into your screenplays. Emotion is the key to drawing your reader and theater audience into your story.

Write a story and characters that your reader and audience feel for.

If it's a character, it doesn't matter if they love (Forrest Gump) or hate them (Joffrey Baratheon from Game of Thrones anyone?), what matters is that they emote to them.

If you emote to something, it's very hard not to be interested in it and its story. You are drawn into its narrative.

You want to follow that story through to its conclusion - be it them overcoming their fears and challenges, or if you hate the character maybe their well-deserved death (Joffrey Baratheon's or Kevin Spacey's character in Se7en being good examples).

The Black List founder talks about emoting to your reader

In a recent Austin Film Festival interview, the Black List founder, Franklin Leonard, talks about what makes a script great including emoting to your reader:

FRANKLIN: A beginning, middle, and end that keeps the audience interested in what happens next, elicits emotion of some sort of emotion (anything from fear to laughter to awe to sadness), and lives the audience viewing some aspect of their lives - no matter how small - differently than they did before being exposed to it.

FRANKLIN: The main (and biggest) mistake a writer can make is forgetting the human element. Emotional resonance, regardless of the genre, is the thing that will distinguish a screenplay (or any sort of storytelling or art more generally.)

Our Screenplay Coverage service

Due to production work we have suspended our coverage service for now.

Related articles on this site

Open in same window

Drama and Conflict

Your Script Must Emote Well

How to Create Great Characters

How to Write Great Dialogue

Character Arcs

Character Intros

Put your Characters in the Worst Possible Situations

The Stakes: Set Them High

External links

Open in new window

AFF Interview: Greg Beal, Franklin Leonard and Matt Dy

Wikipedia: Se7en

Wikipedia: American Beauty

Wikipedia: Forrest Gump

Wikipedia: Shawshank Redemption