Screenwriting : Too short??? by Zlatan Mustafica

Zlatan Mustafica

Too short???

I just finished a screenplay. I read it through a couple of times and it looks good. Then I checked the page count and .... it is 72 pages! What the H!? This has never happened to me before. I usually end up in low 100´s on a first draft. Either I´m a genious (which I´m not) telling a story in 72 pages or I´m missing something huge. Is this good or bad???

Craig D Griffiths

I love it. Gives you room to look into a second plot or an interesting character in a little more detail. Or perhaps you have told the best version of that story and it only took 72 pages. A bit like Gandalf " A wizard is never late, he arrives exactly when he means to arrive" (or something like that). Your story is exactly as long as YOU needed it to be. Well done.

Zlatan Mustafica

Imagine the look on my face right now, Craig. I´m sitting here looking at it and asking (almost out loud) what´s wrong with it? :) Oh, man... You sure learn something new every day, no matter how many of these things you write. Yeah, I am just going to have to look it over from all angles as usual. Thanks, Craig, thanks for the support. Love that quote from Lord of the Rings, by the way.

Andrea Ruschin

There's no definitive way for us to say whether that's good or bad -- it's your story, and if it is feasibly told in 72 pages, then that's a good thing. If push comes to shove and it's really bothering you, perhaps this is the time to take a step back and let it sit for a couple of weeks. Look at it with rested eyes and see if it still holds up then. Personally I'd hesitate to try to add a second plot only to pad your page count (it will likely read as padding rather than organic in the story if it wasn't your original intention) but you can certainly try it to see if it adds a dimension or adds depth to your story at hand. After that waiting period, it may well happen. Let us know how it goes!

Zlatan Mustafica

Thanks, Andrea, and I am kind of in the same state of mind right now. It feels almost wrong adding more to it as it is. Maybe you´re right in suggesting to get away from the story for a short time and come back to it later and look at it again. I´ll probably do that. On to another script! :) Best way to get my mind off of this one. I´ll let you know what happens, for sure.

Dan MaxXx

get some coverage. 72 pages is a little "light." Unless u are directing as well.

Dan MaxXx

people edit down movies because the script does not work. I'd be nervous of your short page count.

Eric Christopherson

Yeah, my impression is a script is not considered feature-length if not at least 90 pages. I'd put it away for two weeks and daydream on what might be added, fleshed out.

Zlatan Mustafica

Valid points,all the way, guys! Thanks for all the tips. Yeah, I mean you realize why I was so surprised by myself in this case. Logically, there is still work to do on it, obviously, I mean it is just a draft. What I am happy about is that I managed to execute it quite well in 72 pages. And I think I have an idea about where those 15-20 additional pages will come from. I envisioned this story to land somewhere between 80-90 pages originally. It´s a low budget piece with two major characters with a grounded, human and emotional story mostly character and dialogue driven, so I´m close to where I want to be on this project... I think... God knows what I´ll come up with tomorrow...

Dan Guardino

The page count is too low for a feature film.

Zlatan Mustafica

Of course it is, Dan! :) That is almost understated. I was more sharing that to see if others have experienced the same conundrum, if you will, from a writer´s point of view and get some feedback on others findings and thoughts on similar situations. Like I said I never wrote anything that short in my life that I thought I finished, you know? Sorry if my original post was unclear. Nevertheless, your input is always appreciated.

Dan Guardino

I never really had that problem. You might try throwing more hurdles or problems your central character will have to overcome to reach his or her goal. Not know anything about the screenplay that is just a thought.

Zlatan Mustafica

And it is a fine thought, Dan. I have some ideas now thanks to all the nice people like yourself here at S32. There is a one huge hurdle in form of a hero of the story which the protagonist actually is not. He is his own very antagonist in the story and I may just have let my hero, or I should say heroine,(a female hero not the drug LOL) down a bit. She has more to offer I think and I am exploring that right now.

Jorge J Prieto

Zlatan: You got this. Give it time. It will come to you, other scenes, just as long as they enhance your story, not be a detriment.

Zlatan Mustafica

It always does one way or another, right Jorge? Yeah, you´re so right, hopefully as those scenes come to me I sure hope I don´t mess up the rest of it :) Thankfully, doing what we do there is always more re-writes LOL :)

Marjolein Smit

Wow that is awesome! You got every important thing already in in 72 pages? Don't get scared for being good haha :) now you can relax and enjoy looking for places to hide some extra hidden treasure, go or it !

Zlatan Mustafica

Marjolein - Yup! Pretty much, but I have realized, of course, that what I have is a solid, really solid, backbone of the movie, which is great, Now it´s all about decorating that cake, flavoring it with the right stuff without taking out the core soul of it all. :)

Zlatan Mustafica

Patricia - Thanks for the great advice! I have been truly lucky to meet this lovely lady who offered to read it in its current version and gave me amazing feedback on the work thus far. Not only did she confirm some of my own thoughts on certain things (where I fall short) but also pointed out several other little things that are crucial to the story and character development. You have just done pretty much the same :) Stage 32 is truly a magical Place with incredible people Always willing to selflessly lend a helping hand. Thanks, Patricia, once again.

Jorge J Prieto

Zlatan, you see? You have some truly great advice. Btw, don't forget a good director can also enhance and add action sequences that will extend the length of the film. Now if is a horror short is better than long, I think. 85 pages. I use Magic and it gives me a page count as I move along and this is helpful for me. Just a suggestion for your next screenplay. Good luck my friend.

Zlatan Mustafica

Awesome advice all around, Jorge. Thanks for the support. I truly appreciate all of you. And FYI my dear people, I am quite happy with how this story is turning out. I changed the beginning completely and made the flow/transaction into the plot more organic for the two characters the story revolves around. As I read it back it actually enhanced the depth of both characters as they were better introduced and the background was explained much better than what I had at first. Now.... I have to get some sleep LOL..

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