1. Being set in New York for no good reason.
“Hmm. I have this uninteresting, unoriginal screenplay. It could be set in any city in America. However, I am incredibly uninspired, and I will therefore set it in New York.”
My problem with this is that almost nobody can relate to it, and it’s not as interesting as bad screenwriters think. News Flash: interesting things can happen in other cities. How many movies can you think of that are set in Los Angeles, a city with a metropolitan area of the same size? Now see how many you can name for New York. And when the hell was the last time you saw a film set in Chicago? Or Denver? Or Pittsburgh? Other cities have underground crime, prostitutes, immigrants… Hell, Detroit and Vegas have more of all of those. Jesus Christ, give us the diversity of the American experience already, you assholes.
This wouldn’t be as bad if New York weren’t so often being used as “Generic noisy American city.” New York is not generic. It’s not a whole lot like living in most other American cities. And most Americans don’t live in New York. If you’re writing something that could be set in any city, set it someplace more everyday like Cleveland that more people can relate to. (Most Americans don’t live in Cleveland either, but they live in places more like it than New York.) All this NY circle-jerkery does is piss me off. Oh… another film that’s just an extended inside joke for people who aren’t me. I think I’ll stop caring now.
I think we should all agree that writers need to start living in different fucking cities so audiences don’t get bored when they “write what they know”, which isn’t jack shit.