View Full Version : trimming the margins
08-09-2005, 02:56 PM
Any of y'all know how much you can screw with the margins before people start to get suspicious?
Final Draft has that formatting option where you can choose normal, tight or like, really tight. Anything other than normal looks ridiculous.
So I thought I'd widen the paragraphs a bit, but I wonder if there's an unofficial, unspoken limit to pushing the formatting, particularly in the action paragraphs, and in those pesky, narrow dialogue paragraphs.
Deus Ex Machine
08-09-2005, 03:16 PM
The unofficial unspoken limit is the industry standard.
Anything less or more will be under or over, respectively, the unofficial unspoken limit.
This is all completely off the record, on the QT and strictly hush hush...
08-09-2005, 03:35 PM
I wouldn't do it. If you think your script is too long, then find ways to cut it rather than cheating the margins. The people who read these things have seen dozens (or hundreds) of standard scripts; if you cheat, they're going to notice it. And if you cheat too much, it may annoy them (not so much because you've "broken the rules," but because you thought you could trick them). It's probably not going to get you an automatic pass, but it might put you a strike or two down in the count with some readers, and why risk that if you can avoid it?
If you honestly feel you've cut everything you can, and you've gotten the script to a point where every single word is absolutely vital -- and if you're not way above the max page count (say around 90 for a comedy, 120 for a drama) -- then just suck it up and send it out that way. I don't think a 98-page comedy is going to get an automatic pass from a reader, assuming the reader agrees that you've written and rewritten until it's as tight as it can be.
08-09-2005, 04:01 PM
"and if you're not way above the max page count (say around 90 for a comedy, 120 for a drama) -- then just suck it up and send it out that way. I don't think a 98-page comedy is going to get an automatic pass from a reader, assuming the reader agrees that you've written and rewritten until it's as tight as it can be"
Wow. You consider 98 pgs to pushing it that far for a comedy? I was thinking that would be pretty much right on the button. In fact I even strived to make mine hit 96. Anything in the 80's just seemed too little.
08-09-2005, 05:12 PM
I agree with refriedwhiskey. Edit your script as much as you can.
Try these Final Draft settings. (Gotten from a producer at a studio.)
General 1.50" -- 7.50"
Scene Heading 1.50" -- 7.50"
Action 1.50" -- 7.50"
Character 3.50" -- 7.25"
Parenthetical 3.00" -- 5.50"
Dialogue 2.50" -- 6.00"
Transition 5.50" -- 7.50"
Shot 1.50" -- 7.50"
You can also set your line-spacing to "Tight" and no one will complain.
08-09-2005, 06:23 PM
Cut the script, not the margins.
If you're lucky, eventually they will buy it and run it through their program... and they'll know the actual page count... and you'l have to cut it anyway. Might as well just cut it now.
08-09-2005, 09:04 PM
140 pages? Yikes!
Write a 1-3 senence synopsis of your story. Better to be one sentence than 3.
Now cut every scene, line of dialogue, bit of action that is not described in that 1 sentence.
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