Pandora Machine Style Guide
Most screenplay style guides have "exceptions". This one does not. It has all the stuff I hate, and what a screenplay will get changed to, as a shooting script so you may as well do 'em now.
Being passive and wishy-washy
What's wrong with this sentence in a screenplay?
"She leaps up and starts running at full speed down the corridor."
"Starts running..."? No no no. Maybe she runs. Maybe she pushes herself into a full gallop. I don't care, but she doesn't "starts running".
That's the kind of thing which drives me nuts.
You absolutely must write what we see and make it as active as possible.
And under no circumstances will you ever write "They are locked in a life-or-death struggle" or I will put your name in the slug line of the scene with a note saying that you wrote that terrible "action".
Directing on the page
You know how they tell you to not "direct" in a screenplay? Well that's malarkey. The thing you want to do is to direct without making it obvious. Alex Epstein in Crafty Screenwriting has a great style for doing this.
Avoid camera directions like "zoom in" or "close on". Instead of:
Wide shot — Earth
We zoom in until Africa comes in full screen
We continue to zoom until we see the desert in Chad and then we can make out trees and we see a man looking up.
The EARTH slowly revolves
The desert and trees
A MAN looks toward the heavens
Okay, maybe that's not the world's most awesome example. But my point is, don't describe camera movement. Make the reader feel like they're moving by emphasizing what's on screen.