Spec script length....

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  • Spec script length....

    I've just about finished two specs scripts. Should I really worry about the fact that one is 73 pages instead of 90-120 (I write horror so they're typically shorter) and the other is 81 instead of 90-120.

    When they get read will their number of pages make THAT big of a difference. -or- will I be asked "Can you make it longer?"

    I know that TOO SHORT could be a problem, just like TOO LONG (no perversion please )

    I just want to know what to expect when it comes to script length and I'm sure the brilliant DDers can help me..

    thanks,
    brad

    p.s. I know that "just write a compelling story and don't worry about it" is going to be the typical response but I would still like to know if there is a general rule of thumb when it comes to this subject. Thanks again.
    People will think what I tell them to think when you tell what to tell them to think. ~ H. Simpson on being a critic

    http://www.mediafire.com/pop17scripts

  • #2
    Re: Spec script length....

    11 inches.

    Yes, you should worry. You want at least 90 pages or people will think it's too short... even for a horror script.

    My guess is - something's missing. Might be characters, might be suspense and dread set pieces, might be story, might be a whole bunch of things. Read 5 of your favorite horror scripts, then read yours. Why is yours shorter?

    - Bill
    Free Script Tips:
    http://www.scriptsecrets.net

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    • #3
      Re: Spec script length....

      Do you have big chunks of action (4-5 line paragraphs)? If so, slice those babies up until you have 90 pages and readers will love you for having such a speedy script.
      Script Reviews - 5 a week! http://scriptshadow.blogspot.com/

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      • #4
        Re: Spec script length....

        Martell is right, as usual.

        This issue comes up frequently. If you have a 70-page script, I can bet that you don't have enough story, and I will win nearly every time.

        "The fact that you have seen professionals write poorly is no reason for you to imitate them." - ComicBent.

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        • #5
          Re: Spec script length....

          If you're using Final Draft, kick the font over to Courier New. That'll add a few pages.

          Seriously though... I'd say it all depends on what's on the page. If it's a solid 85 pages of pure "Thrill me!", I really doubt that you'll get dustbinned for being five pages short.

          On the other hand, I'd also say listen to Bill. I've never sold a script... I'm just operating on what (as a horror fan) I'd prefer. Gimme that short 'n sweet ballbuster over something with twenty interminable minutes of padding.
          "Forget it, Jake. It's Hollywood."

          My YouTube channel.

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          • #6
            Re: Spec script length....

            Comedy, Horror = 90-110

            Action, Thriller, Drama = 100-120

            I would never go below 90 or above 120. Others have done this and succeeded, but it is not recommended.

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            • #7
              Re: Spec script length....

              One of the best pieces of advice I've been given: think in terms of words, not pages.
              "There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you."
              -Maya Angelou

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              • #8
                Re: Spec script length....

                I agree with all, but if it's long (serious dramas only) make it's under 240 pages.
                "A screenwriter is much like being a fire hydrant with a bunch of dogs lined up around it.- -Frank Miller

                "A real writer doesn't just want to write; a real writer has to write." -Alan Moore

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                • #9
                  Re: Spec script length....

                  Originally posted by Madbandit View Post
                  I agree with all, but if it's long (serious dramas only) make it's under 240 pages.


                  Under four hours, huh?

                  Braveheart was under 120 pages. Book of Eli was 109, and was shortened in the development process. The longest version of Watchmen that I know of was 134, and they didn't go with that draft. There's no excuse for a spec to be much longer than 110-120. Ever.
                  For more of my thoughts on screenwriting, check out my blog.
                  Jonny Atlas Writes!

                  - Sic Semper Tyrannis.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Spec script length....

                    Yeah, many epic movies are suprisingly average length script-wise. The English Patient was around 104 pages.
                    "There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you."
                    -Maya Angelou

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                    • #11
                      Re: Spec script length....

                      And it'll be sh1ttiest one minute of screen time if the correct, most efficient verbiage isn't utilized. It can very well be the difference between 140 pages and 110.
                      "There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you."
                      -Maya Angelou

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                      • #12
                        Re: Spec script length....

                        Listen to biohazard.
                        http://twitter.com/JohnSwetnam

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                        • #13
                          Re: Spec script length....

                          Originally posted by JonnyAtlas View Post


                          Under four hours, huh?

                          Braveheart was under 120 pages. Book of Eli was 109, and was shortened in the development process. The longest version of Watchmen that I know of was 134, and they didn't go with that draft. There's no excuse for a spec to be much longer than 110-120. Ever.

                          It's just my opinion. No biggie.
                          "A screenwriter is much like being a fire hydrant with a bunch of dogs lined up around it.- -Frank Miller

                          "A real writer doesn't just want to write; a real writer has to write." -Alan Moore

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                          • #14
                            Re: Spec script length....

                            Thanks for all the advice guys!

                            brad
                            People will think what I tell them to think when you tell what to tell them to think. ~ H. Simpson on being a critic

                            http://www.mediafire.com/pop17scripts

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Spec script length....

                              did you learn anything Brad?
                              But this wily god never discloses even to the skillful questioner the whole content of his wisdom.

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