Monday, November 30, 2009


Better watch this video for great examples who are making money online and offline, and a big reason - by offering the film for free!

This also refers to the fundamental - piracy can help in increasing sales! Some folks are trying interesting things by utilizing the Internet. interesting (simple) formula: Connect with Audience + Give a Reason to Buy = Make Money

Watch the Video

The Internet is a super-distribution machine that allows copies of digital media to flow in an almost frictionless way. As the wealth and survival of traditional media businesses are built on selling precious copies, the free flow of free copies is undermining the established order. If reproductions of media are free, how can we keep on financing films and how can we find value in the media we create and sell? BRIAN NEWMAN (former CEO Tribeca Film Institute).

For more about Brian visit

Watch the Video

Article: Internet-based movie reaches 4 million views

I recall what Scott VanO (cinematography instructor, CFS) would ask us to do at times:

" of you go online and find the Top Video on the Internet."

"Sooo....what did you find?!"

"Does it look like a job of an amateur? Or a home-made video? What do you find?!"

"You always, ALWAYS find that it's a professionally done video. (Amateur works don't make it.)"

I came across this article, which reinforces the same fundamental. This "unusual amateur film" has taken the (online) world by storm; of course, it's been made in the professional way. Goes to show you never know where you may reach with a story well told!

And...they took on which film of all? Lord of the Rings Trilogy! On $5000/-! Unbelievable.

Check out if you haven't...

Excerpts from the Article:

Since release in May The Hunt For Gollum has been seen by over 4 million people all over the world. Made on a tiny budget of £3000 and distributed via the Internet, the film is an astonishingly high quality 40 minute movie made in England by unknown director Chris Bouchard.

Viewers have said the high quality visual effects, solid acting, camera and spectacular choreographed fight sequences make for a film that pleases fans of books and films alike. Having been marketed purely through word of mouth, it became one of the most viral videos on the net.

With a score of 7.2/10 on IMDB and favourable reviews on social networking sites, the filmmakers appear to have crafted a very unusual amateur film that has satisfied the hardest to please fans, including several Tolkien societies.

Several of the crew have now been picked up by professional films and BBC productions. And yet others are working on another Rings prequel due this December called Born of Hope. Director Chris Bouchard has since had offers of funding for his next project.

Article: Internet-based movie reaches 4 million views

Film: Hunt for Gollum (39-min)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Blog: Meet the Reader: Feedback

Feedback is a vitally important element of the screenwriting process -- without it, you will never know if your work is connecting with readers and audiences the way you want it to. For this reason, you should incorporate the obtaining of feedback into your writing process from the very beginning.

Meet the Reader: Feedback

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Viewed: FOOD INC.

An extremely refined film, Food Inc. brings a lot of attention to certain areas of the food industry. Showcasing the ills of the system, and like ever the villains are always the same - big conglomerates and the government working hand-in-glove.

Food Inc. chiefly focuses on the meat industry, though also takes a good look at the usage of Corn and Soybean and the companies behind them. It depicts touching stories of a mother who lost her son and who is now an advocate fighting to bring-in more checks into the system and some stories of farmers. 

One is managing to hold his own by producing the meat in a natural way, another was fighting a battle with a world's leading corporate and eventually had to settle since he couldn't pay off the legal fees. There are other stories too of people who believe that things are not right, who do their own thing and yet find the going tough against the powers-that-be.

The film successfully showcases the might of the corporate and how difficult it is for individuals to take on them. Through extensive use of different footage including hidden camera, the film puts various points into play - the changing food industry, consumption of people, corporate growth, politics and a strong focus into manufacturing.

The food industry is compared to the auto plants and footage from such factories do highlight the reality - it's a belt system and every is automated. One ominous inference is that it's very difficult to control what you are eating. The film rides on the shoulders of two experts and they do make insightful comments and explain the complexity of this industry.

It does not help when corporate decline to interview, but then that comments on the state of affairs. The film paints different shades and does a decent job of creating that something's wrong.

Though the film dabbles into Organic as the positive deal, it doesn't delve into the negative arguments against it. The film does end on an upbeat note - if once giant tobacco industry can be brought down, then why not the food inc. However the ending does seem hurried. The last 15-minutes seem to rush too soon taking away the impact with which it builds in the beginning and middle.

Yet it's an important film. As it says in the end, take note of what you eat, take onus of finding things, you have a 'right to know'. Be responsible.

Rating ***1/2
[Max Rating ****]

[Viewed on Mac at Langford Town, Bangalore on 25th Nov, 2009] 

Viewed: ALCHEMIST (Play)

Mahesh Dattani adapts the famous novel by Paulo Cohelo, which is about following one's dreams. It tries hard to be earnest and creative, but fails to provide momentum and does not elicit emotions as it could have.

Even otherwise, this may not be an easy play to adapt considering how the protagonist isn't so active. Yet...there seems enough areas of conflict; though he deals with many people on his journey to find treasure the conflict is more of internal. The lad has to find his way and he goes on a journey meeting various people, angels and villains. Eventually discovering that his love is what is chief treasure.

Apart from some good bits of lighting, the overall production was weak; acting wasn't too polished, except for a few performances by some of the leads. The key area that failed to govern he show is directing - in trying to be creative by playing with the set albeit lighting and playing with backdrops, the 'story' failed to get going - not enough momentum courtesy lack of rising tension.

On a personal note, it was good to see a pal, Moorthy's old room-mate, Abhimanyu playing some parts in the play.

Rating **
[Max Rating ****]

[Viewed in Bangalore at Christ University auditorium on 22nd Nov, 2009 with Mota, Lull, Krishnan and Radhika]

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Documentaries: American Boy + ItalianAmerican - Martin Scorsese

Discovered this, a 52-min film. Old documentary by Scorsese on his friend, Steven Prince. It is also supposed to be the inspiration for Tarantino's famous Pulp Fiction scene - Uma Thurman with a syringe in her heart, jabbed-in by Tarantino.

American Boy

Here's another one: ItalianAmerican

[The films may look raw being quite old but check out the credit list - not just 2-3 guys making the film!]

A review:
Two Early Scorsese Profiles, of His Parents and of an Actor

Must-Reads: 'The Sky is Falling' + HYBRID DISTRIBUTION

Old articles ( a year old,) but extremely insightful.

(A very, very long one:)
Mark Gill: "Yes, The Sky Really Is Falling."


I know I don't have to repeat all the ways that the independent film business is in trouble. But I'm going to do it anyway—because the accumulation of bad news is kind of awe- inspiring.

The marginally good news is it won't hit the ground everywhere. The strongest of the strong will survive and in fact prosper. But it will feel like we just survived a medieval plague. The carnage and the stench will be overwhelming.

But it's not so easy for the big boys anymore either. The average cost of a major studio production is $70.8million, and the average marketing budget in North America alone is $35.9 million. In other words, there's an average of more than $100 million at risk every time they get up to bat. And if they're going to lose $75 million or more, they know it by 2 p.m. Los Angeles time on opening day.

Hollywood has spent a lot of time and money making films that are at best mediocre and then hoping for marketing to save the day. We can blame a good movie for this very bad habit. "Jaws" ushered in the era of wide-release marketing-driven movies. It lasted for more than 30 years. A lot of bad films got made under the theory that quality didn't matter. But it's not working like it used to.

Here's why: fooling the audience is getting harder for the major studios in the age of blackberries, instant messaging and cell phone texting. Good buzz spreads quickly, bad buzz even faster.

Clearly, only the better films will succeed in the theaters of the future. Certainly the number of releases will drop—by half or more. Probably everyone other than the folks who work on tentpoles will be paid less. The words "theatrical necessity" will take on greater and greater meaning. Probably a lot of theaters will close. But I think the best theaters showing the best films will always have an audience. And the rest of the films will have their premiere in Walmart, or on your cell phone.

The result of all these changes—especially the catalyzing effect of lower costs and high technology—is very good news for people who care about the quality of cinema, singularity of voice, resonant themes, and all the other things that today can rarely be found outside independent film.

It all comes down to what a former glove merchant named Schmuel Gelbfisz said more than 50 years ago: "Make Fewer Better."

The single biggest change should be to only make movies that we absolutely love. Not ones we like. Not ones we need to do as a favor. Not the ones we do because they seem like a good "piece of business." Not ones we do because we think, hope or wish that "the kids" will like them.  Not the knock-offs of the ones that worked at the box office last year. In a word, we should only pick the films we're passionate about—and that have an audience.

If you want to survive in this brutal climate, you're going to have to work a lot harder, be a lot smarter, know a lot more, move a lot faster, sell a lot better, pay attention to the data, be a little nicer (ok, a lot nicer), trust your gut, read everything and never, ever give up.

If you're looking for a cool lifestyle, you're in the wrong business. If you want work-life balance, go get a government job.


Hybrid distribution is the state-of-the-art model more and more filmmakers are using to succeed. It enables them to have unprecedented access to audiences, to maintain overall control of their distribution, and to receive a significantly larger share of revenues.


Welcome to the New World of Distribution. Many filmmakers are emigrating from the Old World, where they have little chance of succeeding. They are attracted by unprecedented opportunities and the freedom to shape their own destiny. Life in the New World requires them to work harder, be more tenacious, and take more risks. There are daunting challenges and no guarantees of success. But this hasn't stopped more and more intrepid filmmakers from exploring uncharted territory and staking claims.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Quotes (on Writing)

"It is defeat that turns bone to flint; it is defeat that turns gristle to muscle; it is defeat that makes men invincible. Do not then be afraid of defeat. You are never so near to victory as when defeated in a good cause."
- Henry Ward Beecher

"Writing makes a map, and there is something about a journey that begs to have its passage marked."
- Christina Baldwin

"Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
- Cyril Connolly

"Writing gives you the illusion of control, and then you realize it's just an illusion, that people are going to bring their own stuff into it."
- David Sedaris

"In Hollywood, defining the content of a movie is like sex-- everyone thinks they can do it and do it well.  And they're not inclined to give up the chance to do it just so someone else can do it."
- Terry Rossio

"Writing is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public."
- Winston Churchill

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Blog: Integrity in the making of films

Creativity, Integrity and commercialism – are there conflicts?
Magnus Dennison

I am going to write about film producers who have made creative choices to ensure their films are commercial successes. My question is whether these films lose their integrity when the motivation for making them becomes financial.

Read the complete blog...

Monday, November 16, 2009


Michael Moore brings life to this topic in the times of recession / meltdown with his characteristic humor and conveys the hassles within the American system quite successfully.

If one has followed the happenings then it perhaps won't provide a new insight. Corporate bungling, lower-income group folks losing homes, greed of the politicians and top finance companies.

What it does is provide an interesting telling. Delves into some history and Moore as always digs-in and gets archival footage of news, films, tv and uses them as great pieces of humor. He frames Regan as the guy from whose era the fall started and makes most fun of his favorite target, Bush.

Perhaps this film could get pretty academic and Moore being more of an entertainer doesn't provide too much depth. However by going after the 'villains' - the corporate people, it does provide an interesting view.

His main theme is capitalism up against democracy. And he votes for democracy. There are not too much arguments for capitalism and not too much about regulation.

It's more of a dramatic film than a serious-study one, which aims to re-visit the glaring goof-ups - irresponsible spending, zero accountability, people losing homes...and it does a decent, entertaining job.

Rating ***
[Max Rating ****]

[Viewed on Mac at Ravi's house, Sun City on 16th Nov, 2009]

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Articles: Lying Mirrors + I am Hindu, you are Muslim

Why TV (serials) can be such a dangerous medium for children - the onslaught on the mind can be very damaging. Watch it out especially for your kids and well...even for you!

I feel like adding - be careful of the cinema too :-)

Read on...

Lying Mirrors
(Hindu) - Latika Gupta

Television, in glorifying outlawed customs and practices, sows the seeds of stereotype in children who blindly imitate in life what they see on screen.


Many current serials revolve around glamorisation of social evils. The colour and gloss of television images distract us away from the misery of the victims of child marriage and bigamy. Rather, the colorful screen makes the sufferers look attractive.

The fact that children imbibe values and attitudes through exposure to media is a major daily event unfolding in our life. Our media are pushing young girls into becoming submissive, coy and servile. The media pretend to enhance their capacity to take on the challenges of modernity whereas in fact, it is training young girls to accept oppression as a way of life.

Lying Mirrors

I am Hindu, you are Muslim

A study conducted in Daryaganj reveals that children develop an exclusionary awareness of religious differences quite early. How can this be countered in the educational system?

The study points out that early socialisation, which takes place in the family, creates prejudices which are in conflict with the stated goals of educational policy.

The Article:
I am Hindu, you are Muslim

Article: Hosting Short Movies on the Web

Hosting Short Movies on the Web

"Do you love scripting and shooting movies? Do you have a movie that has a spellbinding storyline but not quite sure how to market it? Well, you have probably heard about and their phenomenal success hosting virals on their web site. It started out very small, on a shoestring budget, and grew over just a few years into a business worth millions.

Shooting video for fun has been a commonplace global pastime for years. Even back in the 80s there was 'Candid Camera', and a host of video clip shows on TV. The clips shown on TV like UK's 'People do the Funniest things' are no more than 1 minute in length. Soon, broadband speeds allowed for the hosting and transmission of these clips on the web. No advertising costs, just a web site with a video clip embedded."

Read this article from Screenwriting Basics.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Article: The Anguish of War for Today’s Soldiers, Explored by Sophocles

The Anguish of War for Today's Soldiers, Explored by Sophocles

The ancient Greeks had a shorthand for the mental anguish of war, for post-traumatic stress disorder and even for outbursts of fratricidal bloodshed like last week's shootings at Fort Hood.

They would invoke the names of mythological military heroes who battled inner demons: Achilles, consumed by the deaths of his men; Philoctetes, hollowed out from betrayals by fellow officers; Ajax, warped with so much rage that he wanted to kill his comrades.

Now officials at the Defense Department are turning to the Greeks to explore the psychic impact of war.

The Anguish of War for Today's Soldiers, Explored by Sophocles

Article, Bollywood: The Big Crash

Hindu: The Big Crash

Looking at full-page advertisements in leading newspapers, you'd think every movie released this year was a winner. Misleading claims of several big-ticket movies getting 'the highest opening' and 'the largest box-office collection' aside, it goes without saying that Bollywood has had the worst year in recent times.

Trade analyst Amod Mehra says: "It has been a very bad year with over a Rs. 1,000-crore loss. Normally, in a year, we have 15 per cent success rate, inclusive of hits, super hits and blockbusters. But this year, we can barely reach the five per cent mark. The biggest problem I see is that, with corporates coming in, all the budgeting has gone haywire. They are overpaying each artist.

Hindu: The Big Crash

Interview, WGA: Technically Speaking - Nurse Susie

Technically Speaking - Nurse Susie

Schelling still graces the operating theater for the occasional open heart surgery, so it was a miracle that she found time to talk to Technically Speaking about the ways the nursing profession is represented on the screen. Here's the big take away: That cliché where the doctor screams, "Get me a (important medical term here), STAT!" doesn't happen in the real world. Who knew?

What does Hollywood get right about the nursing profession?

What they do seem to portray really well is that nurses are professionals, that they know what they're doing, that they're the patients' advocates. They show that very well.

And what do they get wrong?

Sometimes, it's the doctor-nurse relationship. Sometimes, on TV, it's common that doctors yell, "Get me this, now!" and nurses say, "Yes doctor!" That is a miscommunication to the world at large because we're more collaborative with our physicians. We work as a team. It's not necessarily them saying, "Do this" and we do that. We have conversations about things. We don't have people yell at us, and we run away and go get something. I think that's a common TV trick and that's bothersome.

Technically Speaking - Nurse Susie

Psy Blog: Is humor ever not funny?

Is humor ever not funny?
"The Office" takes on suicide

"The Office" has gotten a lot of attention over the past week or so for its Halloween episode, which showed boss Michael Scott in a noose, sharing a particularly poorly worded suicide prevention message. I was struck by how a similar image, also in the public sphere this past week, generated a different kind of response. Ireland's "Sunday World" newspaper published an image of a man in a noose as a way of drawing public attention to police delay in removing the man's body.

I wonder if because "The Office" is a comedy, we are prepared to laugh at whatever comes across the screen. But, in the case of the photo published in the newspaper in Ireland, the image of a man hanging was not at all humorous. Similar image, very different contexts.

Is humor ever not funny?
"The Office" takes on suicide

Psy Blog: What the lips say about how we feel and think - even deception

What the lips say about how we feel and think - even deception
What our lips reveal about us - even when lying!

When it comes to feelings and emotions, the lips can be invaluable; they can even help us to detect deception. Ever notice when people are stressed, their lips disappear or get smaller.j

Lips convey a lot of information that is often ignored or not even observed. Rich with nerves and highly vascular, the lips react in real time to the world around us. So when people receive bad news or witness a horrific event their lips begin to disappear, becoming very thin as vaso constriction takes place. Under extreme stress they disappear completely or are compressed together.

In a forensic setting you quickly realize that not all words we hear have the same weight.  If you killed someone with an ice pick, you will not react to the question, "Did you kill her with a machete?" as you would if you were asked, "Did you kill her with an ice pick?" In polygraphy, this is called the "hidden key."  By asking specific questions you can elicit very precise information as to what bothers an individual or, in some cases, that they have specific guilty knowledge.

What the lips say about how we feel and think - even deception
What our lips reveal about us - even when lying!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Viewed: GULAL

One thing about watching Anurag Kashyap film is that you are curious to know what he has done and how. Kashyap typically walks a line that is not the norm - be it the content he dabbles in or the way he portrays the life of his characters.

Gulal was the only film, whose rushes I had seen years ago, before he had made Dev-D, when he had come to pitch it to E-City Films. The movie was 70% complete as per the director and he wanted money to complete the film.

There was no color correction. We had seen some scenes (not the entire 70%) and one thing which always comes out of his films - strong performances. Piyush Mishra with his song and antics looked a captivating figure and one could see that though kind of raw it seemed quite unique.

Some friends had raved about it, some pals weren't so impressed. From what I recall the reviews were either at top or...bottom. Personally I have never been blown by his friends, though I have looked forward to his flicks. Black Friday was a good one, so was Dev-D and I even found No Smoking interesting.

I was also fortunate to see his first, Paanch, which was effective in its own way. A very niche film that was fueling with violence.

The same things hold to an extent in Gulal. It's about politics, about power, also about love and violence is a chief part of it. It is a niche film too, though it had the potential to transcend. It would be an interesting question - why it is not?

The film is a story of a timid, naive student who comes to a town in Rajasthan and gets sucked into the politics of a group of Rajputs who seek independence. The ambition for power also ensnares him in love, which eventually wrecks every thing for almost every one.

It is an interesting topic, a brave terrain to walk into, which Kashyap regularly gets into. He does a good job of representing the environment, and even completing an effective journey in terms of being with the story.

However, as he does that, he tends to spread himself thin by dabbling into too many point of views. With fast-paced editing and with lot of other 'angles', it seems there is an opportunity lost to build this into a great tale.

The 'angle' of the mad brother of the Senapati, played by Piyush Mishra, commenting on the side courtesy his rants and songs is a nice thing, and is a great window to watch the events. The other angle of people wearing masks that you keep encountering throughout the film is a stylistic device that though not intrusive doesn't seem to do much.

The bane of the film tends to be what is considered Kashyap's strength - his dialogues. At times they seem too cute for effect, which takes the effect out of the telling.

However, it has to be said, even in trying to tell a complex story, there are a lot of silent moments that tend to grip you. Over-all the film holds you but somehow one fails to care for the characters. It walks into areas where you can be empathetic but somehow it falls short - be it Dilip Singh (the protagonist,) Banaa (Kay Kay) or Kiran (Dilip's lover.)

Yet...there are enough moments when you like the guys and there are many like Ransa or Baati (Deepak Dobriyal) since their caring sides have been revealed.

Kashyap also portrays a very interesting feminine side - a woman (teacher) who is raped and lives her existence, Kiran who is an illegitimate Rajput, whose brother (Aditya Srivastava) aspires to be the Senapati / Banaa; Kiran is a power-seeker, who can sleep around for her benefit, yet..she is governed by her brother. Then there is Madhuri (Mahi Gill) the parlor girl, who is the mistress of Banaa and...Banna's wife (Jyoti Dogra.)

The acting as expected from a Kashyap film is extremely good over-all. But in attempting to tell too much, despite an editing that is on the quick-side (which is not necessarily a strength), and decent camerwork plus lighting, the story involves you but...somehow fails too connect greatly with the characters.

Though's a solid line walked by Kashyap, where he colors himself in the milieu of a unique place and tries to tell a unique tale.

Writers: Raj Singh Chaudhary, Anurag Kashyap
Director: Anurag Kashyap

Rating ***
[Max Rating ****]

[Viewed on Mac courtesy a dvd on 12th Nov, 2009 at Langford Town, Bangalore]

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Blog: Breaking In: Zen and the Art of Guerrilla Script Marketing

Staton Rabin: Breaking In: Zen and the Art of Guerrilla Script Marketing

"If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you; …
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same …"
--"If," by Rudyard Kipling

Maybe, when he wasn't writing classic short stories and novels like The Jungle Book, Kipling was secretly writing movie scripts. That might explain why his immortal poem, "If," is such useful advice for screenwriters. Trying to "keep your head" in this business is a never-ending challenge. But staying sane is critical to success. If you're a movie star, producer, director, even an agent -- "crazy" might even be considered part of your job description. But if you're a writer, it's a luxury you can't afford. If you want to succeed in this business, you need to be able to "keep your head when all about you are losing theirs …"

Staton Rabin: Breaking In: Zen and the Art of Guerrilla Script Marketing

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Sites: Hindi Film Songs Lyrics

This site has extensive amount of content, including lyrics in Devnagari. If you are confused about the lyrics or how it's spelled then just select 'Song stats' and put information.

Like 'Kaminey Vishal', reveals this (after I have clicked on 'nagari' in devnagari on left):

Another site:
Smriti - Hindi Song Lyrics

Sunday, November 1, 2009


I finally caught up with this Oscar winner (Best Foreign Film) and was blown away by its story-telling.

The Austrian film directed by Stefan Ruzowitzky depicts what it claims to be the biggest ever counterfeiting activity - led by Nazis counterfeiting British Pounds and Dollars. By the end of the operation, they had produced more Pounds than the actual mint/s of United Kingdom.

The story is about the man, Salomon Sorowitsch who is the best at this game. He was a student of art but took the easy way out, or rather worked to become master at this art.

During the Nazi occupation, as he struggles to survive in his camp, he is picked by the man who had arrested him to head the 'printing press' for money.

The film starts with Sorowitsch at a casino, post Nazi-era and establishes him as a cold,  seemingly selfish person interested in blowing money and attracted to women. It then goes into a flashback to reveal the entire story on how Sorowitsch works with his team to counterfeit money and deals with the challenges and resistance within the camp.

The story is about a selfish person whose focus is on surviving but under the circumstance he risks every thing to save his people. He wants to survive and get through but his need is to help other people make it.

With a tight and gripping telling, with excellent acting the film creates a truly memorable experience. It's so much visual and with Sorowitsch being a loner, a 'no-talker', it's a flick that captivates you and takes you on a unique journey.

Based on a book by Adolf Burger
Writer: Stefan Ruzowitzky
Director: Stefan Ruzowitzky

Rating ****
[Max Rating ****]

[Viewed on UTV World Movies at Manish's in Bangalore on 30th Oct, 2009 @ 9.30 am]


By Writers' Program Instructor Barney Lichtenstein

In terms of content, it is almost impossible to say, as what one reader passes on as too "small" or character driven, his colleague down the road may eagerly recommend.  What another thinks is too high concept or violent, her counterpart may relish as a fresh take on a standard action vehicle.  These various reactions have nothing to do with story analysts being capricious – on the contrary, good readers are extensions of the eyes of development executives, producers, and agents for whom they work.

One thing however that distinguishes professional story analysts from non-professional readers is the number of screenplays read.  Through the hundreds, perhaps thousands of scripts covered, a story analyst becomes fluent in the language of film.  He or she recognizes and appreciates professional methods of screenwriting – what I call "in-between details".

- Layout and pacing – Lean descriptions (doesn't describe every turn of the hand and movement of the head).

- Dialogue – generally short lines, not speeches, unless the script is a showcase for dialogue.

- Opening shots should ideally touch on theme.

- Look for predominant tone established quickly and kept consistent, balanced. "Seeds" should be planted if it is going to change significantly.

- Does the screenplay grab you by bottom of the first page, ideally the first sentence?

- Writing should make the most of a lead's entrance.

- Do secondary characters and even minor ones speak with their own distinct voices? 

- Look for strong set ups, or what I call "planted seeds", and their payoffs. 

- Is length appropriate for genre?