The way the screenplay reads determines the fate of how the script reader and or development executive will view it. As we know it’s a visual medium. This type of story is told in pictures and images that you want when it is being read for the reader to be able to visualize in their mind’s eye. That means it can’t be overly descriptive or too dialogue driven. In that sense it is the opposite of writing fiction where there is an emphasis on description. Try to visualize it in your mind’s eye and capture it in a succinct way as you transfer it to the written word.
Overwriting slows down the read as a screenplay is meant to be read in the time we see it unfold on the screen. Too much detail is unnecessary as the other creative players, the actors and director, will fill in the blanks in terms of how everything ultimately looks.
The real problem with over writing is that script readers and development executives skim what they read. This is because they are overloaded and constantly reading so skimming helps to get the job done quicker. If you can get them to see the story in their mind’s eye at a quicker pace your script will seem better.
This approach does not have to sacrifice the story. It just tells the story differently than if it were written as a novel. Many great films have been adapted from novels and there is an art to doing that. Mostly it’s about condensing the story without compromising it.
So best advice to making sure the story you are writing as a screenplay will be a good read is in the revision stage where you can focus on taking away anything extraneous.
Every scene must drive the story and serve a purpose. The running time is the amount of pages so trimming off some pages is also a valuable exercise.
Mostly you want to ask yourself how I can communicate the visual most vividly in a few words and does the character really need to say this. Question every scene and the elements in the scene and you will be doing your screenplay a big service.