I was doing something unusual the other day – watching TV. And while poking around the dial, I saw a promo for a show called Psych. Seems like a fun show, set in my hometown of Santa Barbara, CA, but I saw something that turned me off. There is the star of the show, and he is doing an imitation of Al Pacino in Scarface. “Say hello to my leetle frien’,” says our hero and I thought, well, I guess I won’t be watching this.


Because I have heard every variation on “Say hello to my little friend” there is. It’s a joke and an imitation that should be retired.

But shame on me, because while going through an old script this weekend, I found something similar that made my hair curl.

“I won’t do it,” says my character stamping his foot. “You won’t get me to do that in a million years. God as my witness, I will never put on a dress.”CUT TO: The next scene, where, you guessed it, the character is wearing the dress. (It wasn’t exactly that bad, but you get the point.)

We are talking about cliche, and our #1 job as screenwriters is to avoid these. These are old jokes, tired rhythms, lame parodies, and, yes, imitations of old movies we and our friends around the water cooler have seen a million times. It’s time to dispense with them all.

So, as a public service, I would like to institute the First Annual Cattie! Awards and I am officially opening it to the group for nominations. I want to hear from you in the Comment section below the worst offenders you have either seen on TV or read in a script (your own or someone else’s) that fall into the category of the soon to be banned. I would like to post the list on the site as a handy-dandy guide to NOT doing something that will devalue the worth of our writing.

The winner of the Most Offensive Screenwriting Cliche will be awarded a copy of our STC! software, along with enshrinement in the Cat! Hall of Fame (presently looking for a location somewhere in Beverly Hills or is that too cliche?), along with our undying thanks for saving us from the fate of ever using these cliches again. So folks, let’s hear from you all!