So, I’m doing a rundown of Top 5 Mistakes I see regularly in script reading and writing. Here’s the first one in the series on GIVING Feedback, scroll down for one on Submissions — don’t forget you can download a Submissions Checklist from the B2W Resources Page.

If you have an idea for a post in this series, email me or Tweet me as @Bang2write. So, ready for the Top 5 Submission Mistakes?? Suck on these …

1) Not reading the submissions guidelines

Seriously, always read the submissions guidelines and/or the FAQs. What’s more, every single time I head up a writing competition or scheme, I get sent the wrong documents by overeager writers … Or worse, I get blank ones!

Look, I get it. Everyone makes mistakes, plus sometimes technology is responsible for not delivering attachments, but it’s still very easy to avoid these clangers. Make sure you download The Submissions Checklist from B2W’s Resources Page to be sure.

2) Sending to the wrong person/ place

Don’t send a comedy script to a horror filmmaker; don’t send a heartfelt drama piece to an agent or publisher that specialises in science fiction. Or vice versa. Obvious stuff again, yes, but happens all the time. DO YOUR RESEARCH. That’s just basic. MORE: 29 Ways To Find An Agent, plus BFLA’s Carole Blake’s 29 Ways NOT To Submit To An Agent

3) Bad cover letter / email

Nothing scream “amateur” more than a bad cover letter or email. “Bad” can mean pretty much any number of things … So concentrate on these 3 things instead:

  • Confident
  • Polite
  • To the point

For more on these, check out How To Write A Cover Letter, plus there’s a model query in this post on getting your work solicited via email.

4) No One Page Pitch And/Or  Title Page

I know, I know – writing one pagers is a slog and seems pointless. Who the hell reads them, anyway?? Trust me, readers do. Okay, they probably skim them, but a good one pager is still a GREAT way of selling your idea “off the page” BEFORE they open the screenplay or novel. If your one pager is GOOD, the reader is more likely to approach your work with OPTIMISM. You can’t buy that! Here’s a great infographic on How To Write One Pagers breaking it all down.

Secondly, ALWAYS include a title page! The title page NEVER contributes to the wordcount. And unless the submissions guidelines tell you NOT to, always put your contact details on the title page. This includes your name and EMAIL ADDRESS. MORE: 10 Ways To Make A Good Impression As A Writer

5) Not naming files!

Are you naming files “screenplay.doc”, “shortstory.pdf” or “one page pitch.docx”?? NEVER, EVER DO THIS.

It’s very simple … Name files with the TITLE of the work, plus your OWN NAME (unless the submissions guidelines tell you not to).

Good luck with your submissions!

Breaking Into Script Reading – Back For 2017! 

How do IMy sell-out course, BREAKING INTO SCRIPT READING will be back for its THIRD year in 2017! If you’re interested in becoming a script reader, or finding out more how script readers may assess YOUR own writing – or both! – then this is the course for you. The course will run 11th-12th February and early bird tickets are on sale now. GET THEM HERE, or click the pic on the left. See you there!

For B2W offers and free stuff first, join my EMAIL LIST

8 Responses to Top 5 Submission Mistakes

  1. Jo says:

    Is there a reader course in California that you know of? It would be nice to travel abroad for it, but that just upped the price considerably.

    • Lucy V Hay says:

      Alas I don’t know of any Jo, but watch this space cos we’re hoping to offer my LondonSWF course online soon 😀

  2. L. Fabry says:

    Do you have any examples of a good one pager, that would be super-helpful!
    Rock on,

  3. Olivia Davis says:


    I am new to the “Screenwriting World. I am currently learning the craft of screenwriting. I currently have a script in the works but, it needs a lot of help.

    Thank you for reading my message today.

    Ms. Davis

  4. Leila says:

    Thanks for your priceless advice, Lucy, I appreciate your help.
    Just a quick tip from my experience – don’t underestimate the quality of content you submit, because site owners always check it for grammar and originality. Of course,they won’t accept uncertain articles. If in doubt, use a plagiarism checker like Unplag and proofread your work twice. Caution is the parent of safety.

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