Screenwriting : Does the length of you're script really matter? by Jeremy Hunter

Jeremy Hunter

Does the length of you're script really matter?

I just finished the second half re-write of one of my scripts. I've never been this satisfied with anything I wrote before. Every scene adds to the story, there doesn't seem to be any filler, the actions and dialogue were written with ease although the length, which I've been told most screenplays should be between 90-120 pages is far beyond that with 165 pages. With screenplays such as Scarface having page numbers beyond 180 does the length of your script really matter? This is beyond my first screenplay, I've written over three hundred thousand words of script last year alone and likely five hundred thousand words or more in the five years before that but this is the script I want to show to the world. Not the garbage I wrote before this, but this. I plan on having it edited professionally but before I do I want to know, does the length of your script really matter?

Philip Sedgwick

It does matter. Scripts over 120 pages tend to be ignored. Folks like Aaron Sorkin can write whatever length they want. But an ideal spec script, depending upon genre, should be 110 pages or less. If you need to cut a script down "Your Screenplay Sucks" is a great book for keying on redundancies in narrative and dialogue. I found this book very useful for finding repetition. I'd suggest getting down to not more than 120 pages before you turn it over to a pro. Otherwise, some of your favorite parts may be deleted. By the way, a spec script does not need to have transitions unless relevant to the story. If someone gets knocked cold CUT TO BLACK might work. Maybe calling matched shots is important, but I leave out all dissolves and cuts (and of course camera directions). I've read scripts where the writer used Fade Out and Fade In with every scene change. Takes up a lot of space. Also, using a script formatting program: Movie Magic, Final Draft, Celtx can often shorten scripts with proper formatting. Resist the temptation to cheat margins. They know.

Kev Minton

Jeremy, the industry standard is 120 pages for a sceenplay. The basis for this is the standard time lapse of a film is 2 hours and a script should equal a minute a page. When you submit a spec script to a studio or producer they will probably put it to the side or trash it if it doesn't meet industry standards in length and format. A known talent can get away with something outside of standard length.

Dominic Matich

These guys are right Jeremy, one of the hardest things to do as a writer (maybe always in your career) is to kill your babies. Cut the things out of your script that you think are vital to it. Just always ask yourself "does this scene move the story forward?" If not cut it.

Tim Aucoin

It matters if you're a first-time screenwriter. Keep it between 90 - 110. The hardest part of screenwriting is figuring out what scenes you have to cut. "Killing your darlings" is an important part of the process.

Phil Dyer

The industry standard script length used to be 120 pages, but it's closer to 105 now. As a script reader, it's a big red flag for me when a script is under 85 pages or over 120 pages. Movies should be as intense and condensed of an experience as possible, so a longer screenplay makes me think that the writer doesn't have enough experience editing and condensing his own work. (I'm not saying that's the case with you, just in general.) However, a very small percentage of screenplays do tell a story that needs to be longer than 120 pages, but there would have to be an extremely good reason for that.

Jeremy Hunter

When I started writing this script I thought it would be a one hundred page spec script which I could use to help get my name out there. I've written over six hundred pages of back story which may sound insane to most people but all that writing was needed to fully develop these charecters into who they are on page. I know these charecters like they're my best friends, I could give anyone an in depth look at everything that happened throughout each of these charecters lives and everything that's going to happen when the music's over. After re-writing the last hundred pages four times I know that this is a story that simply can't be told in two hours, this is a story that needs atleast two and a half hours. I can write twenty spec scripts this year which are the appropriate 90-120 page length requirment no problem but when it comes to this script I don't want to take away too much because I don't want to destroy the magic I have right now. This is a script which could become "The Godfather" of this generation. Am I arrogant in that remark? Probably, but when it comes to my writing I know when to keep the story going and I know when to give it a rest. I'll get some more spec scripts finished this month. Have this one edited to perfection and hopefully one day my vision will come to life the way it is meant to be.

Darren Tomalin

HI there, my opinion and experience as a reader for an agent/producer, is that it's fine having a great story and incredible characters, but the chances of it getting picked up are very slim when the odds are already against you. Scarface and Godfather weren't spec scripts; Coppola and Stone can write what they like. Do those first ten pages make the reader want to carry on? You would probably say yes, but the reader is going to have to fall in love with the characters and story as much as you have. So, until you are established, this one WILL sit on the shelf unless you break through that first hurdle (yourself) and cut cut cut. Good luck

Julian Nabunya

@ Jeremy i was about to ask you think about Tv , but you said in your last post that editting will be consindered for your babie , for me when i think my idea is too braod and 90 minutes is not enough for my characters to express them selves fully , i resort that to Tv , may be if i was writting novels i could have opted for that too , i have a feeling that every idea has its own family . its either for Tv family or cinema family but they cannot be for both .

Justin Demeere

Might just consider making it a novel instead. I set a personal limit of 100 myself.

Amanda Murray

I think when you are an unknown, yes, it does, unless you are planning on producing the movie yourself. If a movie company doesn't know who you are and, at the same time, see that your script is well above the recommended limit, they are likely to just reject the script. On the other hand, if you are a well-known writer in Hollywood with established connections, the page count probably doesn't matter so much.

John Young

thescriptlab.com is an amazing source for all info about writing screenplays. Horror (slasher horror) would probably be around 80 to 90 pages, you tend to get to the point of the story faster with those and can't stretch them out. Mostly everything else should be around 120 pages (give of take a few pages). The pacing of the story may increase or decrease the amount of pages.

Jeremy Hunter

I've got a couple scripts in the works right now, spec script wise the second longest script I wrote was 139 pages, that one is from this summer, I havn't gotten around the editing it yet but I will once I get these two I have in mind out of the way. I finished one last month, the length was 110 pages. The ones I have in mind will be about the same. It takes me about three days to finish a rough draft script and about a week to get it to final draft. (As long as the internet isn't there getting in my way.) If anyone wants to take a look at the first ten pages send me a message, I'll be happy to send them your way, all your advice helps me become a better writer. I just want to be the best that I can be.

Chad Glass

General rule is 1 page = 1 minute. Shorts are best under 10 minutes. Otherwise, it jumps to feature length and those are either 90 or 120 minutes, with rare exception. Typically I have learned that screenplays are not read or are optioned/bought and then shelved indefinitely. Graphic novels seem to have more appeal today to garner attention.

Leon Reaper

i would definately make atleast 80+ pages, I do that that then add finishing touches on them, you can write loads and loads but from what i hear(im no expert) many parts of scripts get put on the ''cutting floor'' or become deleted scenes instead

Diana Laskaris

There's an old adage that says start your scene 30 seconds after it started and finish it 30 seconds before it's finished. In other words, you need to be sure that what you are writing engages the reader/viewer and gives them everything they need to attach to the story and the characters, but no more. You want people to hunger for more, not check their watch to see when it's over. If you can do that, the pages will speak for themselves.

Chad Glass

Great point, Diana.

Justin Demeere

I read your log line and I think it needs work. The log line should have 4 parts. 1) Who is the main character. 2) What that character is trying to accomplish. 3) Who or what is trying to stop the main character. 4) What happens if the main character fails. I try to keep my one sentence log line at a maximum of 27 words. Once that is done then I start writing. Just my 2 copper.

Jeremy Hunter

The log line I have on here doesn't just need work, it's terrible. I know that, I wrote it in ten minutes and since then I have wrote an entirely new ending to the script. The log line will need to be re worked and perfected and I get what a lot of you are saying, unless I am a writer with several produced scripts under my belt no producer, agent, whatever the case may be will look at the script, especially with a page length of 165. I get that but quantity wise, it doesn't bother me if I have to leave this one on the back burner and have some other scripts which are page length requirement finished first. It doesn't take me long to have a script completed, this is just the one I am most proud of and resembles my best work, my best writing. I think all artists have that one piece of writing, music, that one painting which outshines the rest and for me, being twenty years old, having already completed several scripts, this is that one piece of writing I am most proud of.

Curtis James Coffey

Unless you have an Oscar under your belt or established credits, length matters. With RARE, and I mean RARE exception. Keep it under 120 pages. In fact, try not to pass 110 pages. I guarantee there's plenty that can be cut. I have a script that's 145 pages on my profile, I know it needs re-writing and cutting, and I plan to do it. It's just part of the process.

Tiffy Diamond

Just from experience and from being a script reader for studios it's probably in your best interest to cut that down to the standard 90-120 pages. Just until you're a well established screenwriter it's best you stay in that pages realm or you look novice. I remember reading Kill Bill by Quentin Tarantino before it came out. It was the longest script I've ever read. BUT it was Quentin Tarantino, he was a well established Director/Writer/Producer so he could do that. I say just until you get your foot in the door cut some scenes. :)

Darren Tomalin

The other option is to break the story in two and save the second half as a sequel (maybe a threequel if you have that much to explore) but I would ensure that the first script still works as a stand alone with no cliff hangers. Find/work out a good jumping off point for your story at the 90-120 'sweet spot'. Without knowing your story I don't know if this would work but that's also part of what writing is; making it work. Remember that Lucas' original SW script was like a million pages and episode 4 worked as a stand alone but what he had cut out made Empire and Jedi after he'd broke all box office records!

Tim Ferguson

Look at it this way: You are a producer. 2 scripts arrive on your desk. One is 90 pages, the other is 160 pages. Which do you pick up first?

Darren Tomalin

More likely; how about 100 scripts arrive - 90 are 90 pages, 10 are 160 pages, it's said that only ten percent of sent scripts actually get read past the logline.

Chuck Dudley

Oh Jeremy Jeremy Jeremy... We get it. You love your pages. Your babies. Your hard work... Now it's time for the REWRITE. You gotta kill 'em. You can DO IT! Talk to you when your screenplay is @ 110.

Ioan Serban

If you have 165 pages of high quality script writing, if it grabs you from the beginning and keeps you interested throughout, then keep the pages... don't listen to people who turned down Forrest Gump script, just because of its length, or because it didn't match their idea of a "produceable" script! IF you wrote something that good, every producer in town will make time to read it - I get requests every week for a good script from producers friends, sadly there is nothing I can send to them, because too many scripts are formulaic, predictable, incomplete, self indulgent, although there are lots of great scenes, excellent dialogue, but not one script has it all... I truly hope that yours does.

J. Alberto Leyes

Go with your gut Jeremy, 125, 165, 180, if you are really sure about the quality of your work you do no need to ask for opinions. Personally I appreciate things outside the box .

Shawn Schepps

Jeremy - Unfortunately, it matters. There are reasons why film scripts adhere to the 100-120 rule. It would take a rare producer, agent or executive who wouldn't dismiss a script of 165 pages, especially if it's your first. Screenplays have rules. The original "Scarface" followed Brian DePalma got a hold of it, but he had the work to back it up. Page count is one of the rules. There is a terrific book called, "Making a Good Script Great" by Linda Seger. It's very accessible. It's actually a fun, quick read and will answer a lot of your questions. I'm just telling you this out of experience. You've clearly put your heart into your script. I'd like you to have the best chance possible with your first spec. So check out that book. I wish you lots of good wishes. Best, Shawn Schepps

Linda Summer

Hi Jeremy - here is a link to a useful article about how to get your script past a professional script reader. Hope this helps. http://www.scriptmag.com/features/meet-the-reader-12-signs-of-promising-...

Vasco Phillip de Sousa

The length of a script does matter, it should be the right length for the story, and at the right pace. Now, why is it that long? Ideally, it should be paced at a page a minute. 165 pages is coming close to three hours. Is that how long you want the film to be? Time the scenes, and see whether the page-a-minute really applies. Perhaps there is description you don't need, or things that can be said in fewer words. Or, maybe it really does need to be 165 pages. There are some long films that are very successful. The length matters to some people, and there are those who will turn down a script because it doesn't fit in their rule book, but there are plenty of successful films at that length. Make sure it's the right length for your story.

G Allen Cantrell

What I have been told by people in the industry, is simply this question. Keep in mind one page equals roughly one minute of screen time. Would you sit through a 3 hour movie?

Vasco Phillip de Sousa

Titanic, Gladiator, Gone With the Wind, Avatar, the Hobbit, ... a few people would sit through a three hour movie.

Edwin Adrian Nieves

Hey Jeremy, this is a link I recommend you check out: "Screenwriting for Success: 10 Mistakes to Avoid http://bit.ly/X5veoC" Glenn Magas says this about Page Count, which I believe most of us would agree on, "Let’s keep it simple. 90 pages minimum, 120 pages maximum. Anything less, then you’re not at feature film length and the script reader knows it. Anything more, you can’t tell a story in 2 hours! You lose. This is not a ‘rule’. This is a ‘rule of thumb’. Follow it and get your script read!" As he says, just a rule of thumb!

Darren Tomalin

Yes we would sit through a three hour movie "Titanic, Gladiator, Gone With the Wind, Avatar, the Hobbit, ... a few people would sit through a three hour movie." Of course they would but Cameron, Scott and Jackson (already having a massive fan base with fans of the books anyway) can write what they want and they wrote AND directed said examples. But we're talking about a SPEC SCRIPT, comparing Jeremy's epic with these examples of already produced films by industry heavyweights is of no help. Getting his lengthy script read in the first place is the biggest hurdle Jeremy faces and it is down to length. A reader will not look at Jeremy's script and say "this is going to be the next Titanic" they will not get past the page count - fact. Though they should.

Vasco Phillip de Sousa

Well, perhaps he can write a 120 page script in the mean time, and direct the 180 page one later. All I'm saying is that he shouldn't throw it away simply because of its length.

Chuck Dudley

Maybe not toss the entire screenplay -- just 50 pages. OK 45.

Georgia Hilton

Yes. Write a book if you want, but a screenplay needs to be between 90 and 120 pages for any chance to get the film made.

Tim Ferguson

"The length of a film should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder." (Alfred Hitchcock)

Donna - Marie

If this is the first screenplay you are trying to get commissioned you should definitely stick to the 90-120 page rule. Once you are as established as Oliver Stone or Tarantino,then by all means be excessive. Production companies are usually nervous about taking a chance with new talent. The longer a screenplay is, the larger the budget required for the film, for these reasons you need to cut some pages I'm afraid. Good luck with it!

Kev Minton

You've gotten a lot of feedback about this topic and I hope you realize the majority of the people are saying the same thing because it is the formula for studio standards. Most of us will be independent fimmakers but it's still best to follow a structure. A person who can't find an end to a story doesn't understand structure. You give the impression that you have a lot of back story in your script and that's a no no. Someone suggested writing a novel, that's a good idea if back story is your thing. If you want to make movies and I think you do. There are a lot of good books out there to help you with that. I'm trying to understand why you called the rest of your writings garbage as well? I know we like some of our pieces better than others but I would never call my other work garbage. You're a young writer and should take advantage of your energy and focus on one piece at a time but get them right one at a time and have a catalogue of work to do for the next tens years of filmmaking.

Jeremy Hunter

@Kev, I realize that format and structure are both very important things in writing. I got busy and cut the script down to 128 pages which cut a couple charecters altogether and a few scenes I once thought were great but didn't necessarly serve an end purpose. I'm going to go through the script one more time and see if there are any other scenes I can cut without taking away from the story, there probaby are, I just have to find them. I've grown a lot as a writer during the past year and have written 20 rough draft scripts or more, out of those twenty there are only a few worth continuing with but those twenty helped me become a writer who pays an equal amount of attention to dialogue and actions in my writing. When I started out I wrote three page monologues I thought were great but now see that they were anything but. I wrote one demensional charecters that walked around aimlessly. Now, every charecter has a clear view of everything and resemble what I believe to be real people in fucked up situations. As writters, I think we all have some room to grow, we can't all be Tarintino's and Stone's but we have to constantly push ourselves to be the best writers that we can be. I need to get busy writing now, kill some more babies so to speak.

Jeremy Hunter

Final page count 115

Jeremy Hunter

Thanks for all the great advice, I didn't know there was that much filler in the script until I cut it out. I never would have had the guts to do that before. I felt too much of a connection to my work but now, now it feels like every scene reading it back to myself is great when before some scenes were draged down by pointless driving scenes which lead to nothing. I think the script is finally ready to send to agents, producers, people who will do what is needed to get it sold. Tomorrow I will get started on a fresh logline and new synopsis and then next week I will start editing old screenplay and get them to a level that this one is at now. Sincerly, thank you to all who commented :)

Diana Laskaris

Congratulations and best wishes, Jeremy!

Shawn Schepps

Donna - Marie gives you very good advice,

Shawn Schepps

Ken makes good sense as well.

Shawn Schepps

Your last post sounds like you're on the right track. Good for you. When I started writing, so many years ago, a director I was working for looked straight at me and said, a red marking pen will become your best friend. I knew with certain clarity, in that moment that he was absolutely right. It has served me well. Yes, we must often kill our babies to get to our cleanest draft. You know that. You wrote that. You'll do well. Good luck with your next pass.

Harvey Jacobs

I assume this is a spec script and not an assignment and will hopefully be your first sale when it is picked up. If this is so, then don't judge page lengths by shooting scripts or those of successful writers. The current page length for specs is 90-110 and you should not exceed that. If you're submitting to a scriipt consultant or whatever, make that his objective. You'll be surprised how how much you can trim.

Laura Koons

Wow, I can't believe you got it down to 115 pages so quickly. Is this the "White Dragon" script? I still like the title : )

Jeremy Hunter

If someone gives me a job, advice, I take it and get it done and still produce the best quality project. This is still "White Dragon" , I have been working on several other scripts since I started this and have finished a few but I know this will likely be my first sale, dependant on wheter or not I find an agent ready to take me on as a writer. I'm motivated by sucess, only a few people have read the script to this point and all had good things to say but the script is defineatly an improvement from where it once was. No filler, just a to-the-point story, there were a lot of pointless scenes in the last draft of the script now that I think about it. I will have a new log line and synopsis on Stage 32 later on today.

Shawn Schepps

That's awesome, Jeremy. I think, for me, rewriting is the best part of the process. The first draft is a killer. Sounds like this rewrite was done with knowledge and smarts. Good for you. I wish you the best.

Jeremy Hunter

For me, writing the screeenplay is the best part. I hate writing log lines and the synopsis to a script, even though those are what first peak the readers interest I just like writing screenplays. Does anyone on here know of any agents willing to read a new writers material?

Darren Tomalin

My agent is always looking for new scripts, I'll PM you the email address. Send your logline and PDF of the script.

Jeremy Hunter

I'm sending it now :)

Darren Tomalin

Cool, I'll make sure it gets to the right reader. Good Luck!

Jeremy Hunter

Thank's

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Marvin Willson

Jeremy - its way too long. Aim to get ti down to no more than 100 pages for a baby writer. Its not just the page count, even page costs money and the chances of someone investing in 165 pages (even if you are Aaron Sorkin), is a lot less likely than 90 pages. Make sure your action is no more than 4 lines long ( I aim for 2 max) and restrict dialogue to the same unless absolutely necessary. @ Darren - I don't know of any reputable agent/manager that would accept a script from a baby-writer that is 165 page long... ANY!!!

Darren Tomalin

Some nice thread necromancy going on here. @ Marvin, that's pretty much what I said in my previous posts. I passed it to my agent after Jeremy had taken on board the advice offered here and cut cut cut. It ended up being a lean read with great potential.

Tim Ferguson

Maybe ask yourself 'I had to read 10 scripts, how many pages would I tolerate?'

Dustin Bowcott

It's not the size of your script that matters, it's what you do with it. If a professional reader is put off by a script at 165 pages then perhaps they'd be better off in another job.

Benjamin L. Harris

I currently have a script being read by the head of Roadshow Australia which is 187 pages long... the short answer to your question is no it doesn't matter but I would not be entering it into any competitions as it will most likely be pushed to the side or not even looked at (this I have been told by a prooof reader at "big break competition"... in saying that "everyone" believes they have a killer script, we wouldnt be in the business if we all didnt think we were amazing at it! the truth is if you truly believe your script is 120% fantastic then don't worry about the length, if not then try cut it back a little and save the scenes you cut back so you can possibly add them in later. Inglorious Basterds was 386 pages long for memory

William Martell

A page of screenplay equals about a minute of screen time, so length does matter. Most movies are under 120 pages (110 being the sweet spot) so that a film can show every 2 hours and leave time to sweep up the popcorn and pry the cocacola glued shoes from the floor.

Benjamin L. Harris

as above 110-120 minutes is the key timing of films not to air once every two hours for money it is actually because the average human needs to urinate once every two hours

Dustin Bowcott

A page from a screenplay does not equal a minute of screentime. One could write a 75 page screenplay that films for 120 minutes. It depends whether your pages are laden with action (that takes longer to film) or dialogue. I filmed a short recently from an 8 page script. The film time is almost 12 minutes. That equates to approximately 1 page per 1.5 minutes.

William Martell

Oddly, the 10 page car chase in the BULLITT script is only 8 minutes of screen time. 1 page per minute is an average, and a professional script that is 110 pages is most likely to turn into a 110 minute film.

Benjamin L. Harris

This also depends on the level of detail involved in your script, you will find the more scripts you write the less detail you will feel needs to be in there as a good producer won't need everything laid on the table for them as they like to create their own image in their mind (remember everyone's mind thinks things differently) imagine Michael bay, Guillermo del toro and Quentin Tarantino given the same script you would have three movies that are exactly the same yet have a completely different feel/camera angles/cinematography etc

David Dogman Harvey

This amateur's opinion. No one will read your script. As stated a short script can be longer. A long script has to be edited, so unless your adding to much detail and extraneous scenes, I'd might consider writing novels.

Andrew Bruce Lockhart

165 pages for a spec script is, as most say, too long. I would guarantee you give it to consultant they would get it down to 110 - 120 easily. The biggest thing against you will be the cost of getting it made. At that many pages you'll no doubt have many location and many characters. Each adds to the cost of the film.. which makes it harder to make. Even tv is expensive, I saw something the other day that said the average game of thrones episode cost $8million+ to make. So the idea has to be pretty epic to get that kind of money... a film obvioulys would be in the 20 or so millions if not more. Yep its sadly about what its going cost and how much will it make... So...if your coming at that with a 165 page spec script.. you are setting yourself an even harder thing than the thousands out there doing the 90 - 120 pages.. if that makes sense.

Owen Mowatt

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Phillip "The Genuine Article" Hardy

Hey Jeremy: I suspect 98 percent of the script readers out there will tell you 165 pages is way too long. Movies like "Braveheart" and "Titanic" are exceptions to that rule; but I'd say they're a rare breed. Here's my suggestion. Put your epic script aside for at least a month. Then take a real critical eye at editing down your work. You'll be surprised at how you can convey the same story with less. I just did this a few nights ago with a historical script I recently finished. I just spoke with a producer the other day, who said he prefers scripts right around 105 pages. Again, you should definitely listen to your inner artistic voice. But know going in there will probably be an immediate bias to your script if it's over 140 pages.

James David Sullivan

I think it's way too short. Why not add on another 400 or 500 pages? ;-)

Phillip "The Genuine Article" Hardy

According to Wikipedia, Berlin Alexanderplatz, a German miniseries by Rainer Werner Fassbinder was released in the US and played in installments at art house movie theaters. it was over 15 hours long. So, if there's a will there's a way.

Jakeb Maryott

Think of the viewer. If you think every page is something they would enjoy watching, if each scene is necessary, then 165 pages is fine. Shoot the film yourself though because that manuscript is not likely to make it past a script reader.

Benjamin L. Harris

I wrote a 186 page $100 mil plus epic that I gave to the head of Roadshow... He looked at it and basically said it is way too long as a first film (meaning with knowing me or any accreditations) he then said he would look over it in due time and we discussed other film concepts, after coming to an agreement on writing a film I wrote a very short 86 page script in a completely different genre to which he was thrilled about but more importantly spurred him on to picking up my 186 page straight afterwards!!! My point is that although anything above the standard is somewhat frowned upon ... If it is good it will get read but I would suggest giving them something shorter initially

Benjamin L. Harris

Also Thanks to the process we decided to venture down I am now pleased to say I am writing two seperate films for Roadshow and producing a tv show so it does in actual fact pay to start small and work your way up to the top

Cherie Grant

I'd distill it even further. Look at the Harry Potter films. Big books edited down to the most essential scenes.

Pierre Langenegger

Benjamin, major congrats on the deal.

James David Sullivan

It also helps to learn how to spell "seperate".

Benjamin L. Harris

.... I was walking while writing, apologies if I offended you I'm hope one day you will get over the fact I was incapable of giving 100% of my undivided attention to what I was writing! I wasn't aware this topic had become an opportunity to point out the fact I spelt a word incorrectly... I was under the impression this was a SEPARATE subject entirely! (See what I did there)

James David Sullivan

Try making a rationalization like that to a producer and see how sympathetic he or she is.

Benjamin L. Harris

Not exactly making yourself look and better here bud, you're way off topic. However I am now finished with this conversation.

James David Sullivan

If a person won't admit his or her mistakes, that makes a powerful statement. And if a person won't take time to proofread his or her own comments before publishing them, that also makes a powerful statement.

Phillip "The Genuine Article" Hardy

Yes, I think execution at dawn by the literary police is the only reasonable punishment.

Richard Toscan

If as you say, you write a first draft in three days and get to the final draft in a week, you're either a genius as a screenwriter or fooling yourself. Using Scarface as a length benchmark goes in the foolish category. As far as I know the version available for download is a shooting script or well on its way to being that so the page count is misleading. And it was written by a giant in this industry. And it was written a long time ago. Screenplays are noticeably shorter nowadays. If you're going to crank out scripts well north of 120 pages, be prepared to fund, produce, and direct them yourself. And Benjamin is right about length for a spec script to shop. When someone with the cash decides you write well, then slip them the 180-page monster.

Leontien Parlevliet

Most of my scripts countf 160 pages and sofar I never had a remark about the lenght. Only in screenwriting contests such scripts are not accepted.

Karen Keslen

Depends of your story. Unless you wanna enter in screenwriting competitions, they have specific rules and length for scripts

Marc Sigoloff

I think it matters who you are. If you are trying to break in I think it is best to keep it standard length. Producers are less likely to read a very long script from a spec writer. I have one in mind that would probably run about 180 pages. I'm not going to bother to write it unless I sell a screenplay. Oliver Stone was already a writer/director when he wrote Scarface. Of course, there are exceptions to everything, and I'm sure someone will be happy to find one. The point is breaking in is very difficult. Why create unnecessary obstacles?

Leontien Parlevliet

If I get it right a spec script has to be written like a play without any Shots?

Andrew Bruce Lockhart

Leotien... not heard that before. A spec script is as I understand a 'speculative' script .. as in one that has not be requested to be written but you have written to try and pitch to someone... its should be formatted as all other film scripts are. In general most scripts don't include shots but people do put them in.

Leontien Parlevliet

I once submitted a formatted script without shots to a producer but it was refused because it looked like a play.

William Martell

Um, spec scripts don't have any shots. That's usually the sign of an amateur: littering a script with shots.

Dustin Bowcott

Screenplays are full of shots. Even speculative ones.

Leontien Parlevliet

I think so too. I studied the Screenwriters Handbook and its many excerpts

Benjamin L. Harris

If you feel it needs to be in there put it in but keep in mind the industry term "fluff" which essentially is what people use to extend the length of a script by filling in extra pages with useless text and also pointless unnecessary scenes... Shots are required to create a visual for the producers but keep in mind that the producer would also like to create his own image of the movie in his/her head... Over descriptive is a sure fire way to have a producer throw your script in the trash

Leontien Parlevliet

I only use shots when it´s necessary. In particular in flashback scenes, dreams and if I want to make thoughts of the character clear to the audience..

Marc Sigoloff

I've done that without adding shots.

Elisabeth Meier

In addition to all the first answers I can only say that you reduce length best when you absolute strictly cut down your action and general descriptions. Don't be too detailed in these and leave space for the director's creativity and interpretation. Not everything that you have in your mind can be realized and other things which you didn't describe can. Hence, keep it flat/shorter.

Elisabeth Meier

I have to add something, because I agree to Jacqueline Dury above to put this too long script into a drawer. I would say not only to wait 6 months, but to write immediately some other scripts which fit to the standard. In case you then pitch one of these others and they ask you 'what else do you have' you can pull out this long script and tell. The more you can offer the better.

Leontien Parlevliet

Regarding your last remark, Elisabeth, I experience every time again that most production companies only want to receive one script

Elisabeth Meier

@Leontien I did not mean he shall send it together. Just write others and have it in his bag when pitching. Many producers want to see whether you are a complete newbie or have some experience in writing screenplays. The experience can be shown in a bunch of screenplays that you of course leave in your bag while pitching and only show to prove you are a real screenwriter and no flash in the pan. Hope you understand what I mean, to me it feels complicated what I just wrote...

Leontien Parlevliet

Okay, I got it!

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