Signs of a Bad Premise: How Writers Can Spot the Problem – Explained by Cody Smart

In the blog post “Signs of a Bad Premise: How Writers Can Spot the Problem – Explained by Cody Smart,” the focus is on providing valuable insights for writers to identify problematic premises. Cody Smart sheds light on various signs that can help writers in recognizing a flawed premise, enabling them to strengthen their storytelling abilities and create compelling narratives. With a keen eye for detail, Cody shares his expertise and offers practical guidance for distinguishing between a strong and weak premise. Whether you are an aspiring writer or a seasoned author, this article aims to equip you with the necessary tools to craft exceptional stories from the very foundation. So, let’s dive in and explore the valuable insights Cody has to offer!


In the world of storytelling, a solid premise serves as the foundation for any great script. It sets the stage, captures the audience’s attention, and forms the basis for a compelling narrative. However, spotting a bad premise can be challenging for writers, especially those who are just starting their journey in the world of screenwriting. Thankfully, Cody Smart, an experienced independent writer and script doctor from Chile, has taken it upon herself to explain the signs of a bad premise and equip writers with the tools to identify and overcome this common hurdle. In this review, we will explore Cody Smart’s insightful video titled “Signs of a Bad Premise: How Writers Can Spot the Problem” and dive into the valuable lessons she imparts on the art of storytelling.

Understanding Cody Smart

Before delving into the key takeaways from Cody Smart’s video, it is essential to become familiar with the talented individual behind these enlightening insights. Cody Smart holds degrees in English Literature & Linguistics, Screenwriting, Development, and Producing. She has honed her skills through various ventures, one of which was working as a script analyst for Sony. This experience equipped her with an intricate understanding of what makes a script work and what leads to its downfall. Cody Smart’s expertise extends beyond analysis, as she is also a judge for multiple script and film competitions, indicating her unmatched discernment in the field. Moreover, her writing prowess has been recognized, with awards for her captivating shorts. Currently, Cody Smart serves as the head of the coverage department at a prominent script hosting site, offering invaluable feedback to aspiring screenwriters. With a bi-monthly vlog dedicated to providing tips for screenwriters on Story Data, she consistently offers guidance to help writers elevate their work to the next level.

Unveiling the Warning Signs

The core purpose of Cody Smart’s video “Signs of a Bad Premise: How Writers Can Spot the Problem” is to equip writers with the ability to identify a weak premise and provide insights on how to improve it. Cody Smart emphasizes the significance of a premise, highlighting its role as the initial seed of an engaging story. Without a strong premise, a script is likely to fall flat, failing to captivate and engage the audience.

1. Lack of Originality

Cody Smart emphasizes the importance of finding a fresh take on old material. A bad premise often lacks originality, relying heavily on clichés and familiar tropes. Writers should strive to inject their unique perspective into their premises, whether it be through an innovative twist, an unexpected character dynamic, or an unexplored setting. By infusing originality into their premises, writers can grab the audience’s attention and differentiate their work from the multitude of stories already in existence.

2. Absence of Conflict

Conflict lies at the heart of storytelling, and a bad premise often fails to establish a compelling conflict. Cody Smart advises writers to clearly define their protagonist’s goals and the numerous obstacles they will encounter throughout their journey. Without conflict, a story loses its tension, leaving the audience disengaged and uninterested. By developing a premise that inherently contains conflict, writers can pique the audience’s curiosity and keep them invested until the very end.

3. Weak Stake and Emotional Investment

A bad premise often lacks a strong stake or fails to evoke emotional investment from the audience. Cody Smart encourages writers to craft premises that make the audience emotionally invested in the protagonist’s journey. Whether it is through high stakes, relatable characters, or an emotionally charged setting, establishing a strong emotional connection is crucial for reader engagement.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What makes Cody Smart an authority on identifying bad premises?

    • Cody Smart’s extensive experience as a script analyst for Sony, judge for script and film competitions, award-winning shorts writer, and head of the coverage department at a script hosting site make her an authority in identifying bad premises.
  2. How can writers ensure originality in their premises?

    • Cody Smart suggests injecting fresh perspectives, innovative twists, unique character dynamics, and unexplored settings to ensure originality in premises.
  3. Why is conflict important in a premise?

    • Conflict drives narratives and keeps the audience engaged. Without conflict, stories lack tension and fail to capture the audience’s attention.
  4. How can a writer evoke emotional investment in a premise?

    • Cody Smart advises writers to establish high stakes, relatable characters, and emotionally charged settings to evoke emotional investment from the audience.
  5. Where can viewers find more of Cody Smart’s insights?

    • Cody Smart shares her work and valuable insights on her YouTube channel and social media profiles, allowing viewers to further benefit from her expertise.


In conclusion, Cody Smart’s video “Signs of a Bad Premise: How Writers Can Spot the Problem” offers valuable insights into the world of storytelling. By highlighting the significance of a strong premise and providing practical advice on spotting and improving weak premises, this video serves as an excellent resource for aspiring screenwriters. Through her extensive experience and expertise, Cody Smart offers a fresh perspective on the importance of originality, conflict, and emotional investment in crafting compelling stories. Writers who heed Cody Smart’s guidance are sure to enhance their storytelling skills and captivate their audiences with engaging premises.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Seraphinite AcceleratorOptimized by Seraphinite Accelerator
Turns on site high speed to be attractive for people and search engines.