Help with Rewrites



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  • Help with Rewrites

    I completed a script that came out to 201 pages. I'm trying to shrink it down to 120 pages, as is the norm. Currently I am at 147, and I am afraid to rewrite anything else out of the story for fear of losing its integrity.

    Can everyone else tell me what they do at this point? What the heck do you do?

  • #2
    Instead of long descriptions full of wonderful adjectives that completely visualize the eye-searing action, go short.

    Take out those scenes which don't support plot or character growth. In other words, those really cool scenes that you just love and had to put in there, but aren't necessary -- kill them.

    Since, I'm sure you've done some of that already to trim from 200 pages to 146, I'd also look at killing a supporting character or two. Also look at dialogue, see if you can't make it more concise.

    Lastly, if your story is a natural 146 pages, then don't ruin it just to make it fit a rule. However, each and every one of those 146 pages had better be amazing.

    Another way of chopping down length is to minimize action descriptions. For a great example of that, read Braveheart. Wallace chops the battle scenes into short descriptions. This is a gross oversimplification, but it was something like this:
    The English cavalry charges the Scots. The Scots stop them with a wall of wooden spears, then charge. (that was something like 3-5 minutes of screen time condensed into two sentences.)

    Anyway, good luck.



    • #3
      Or keep it at 147 the "green mile" and the "sixth sence" scripts that I have read were all like 200 pages The action lines should be almost like describing a picture in newspaper ad
      short straight to the point let you story be youre picture


      • #4
        The Green Mile script is 128 pages. It's also written by Frank Darabont who directed it.

        Sixth Sense was around 120-125 pages.

        I know there are some really long scripts out there, but those two aren't among them.


        • #5
          I was almost shure "the green mile" was 200 pages. Mabye i read in a dream I dont know

          Or mabye it's just my weird weird mind,

          I feel so confused


          • #6
            No problemo. You were right on there being longer scripts out there.

            I'm thinking Bladerunner was one of those really long ones, but I'm not sure on that.

            Take care, Wizard.



            • #7
              Trimming the story

              If you think you've trimmed all you can and you're still at 147 pages, you may want to think about cutting back on the story. Maybe you've got characters you can eliminate, a subplot or two that doesn't affect the main story. Maybe you could start the story a little later.

              You're fighting an uphill battle to get your script read if you leave it at 147 pages. A big part of writing is brevity, painting a picture with as few words as possible. Like DS says, try to get each scene descriptioin laid out in a sentence or two. Similes help a lot.

              Dialogue, too. Make sure your characters are witty and brief, and don't repeat themselves. Start scenes later and get out earlier. Make sure you don't have a lot of characters saying hi and bye.

              You've probably done most of this already, if you've already lost 54 pages, but keep at it, you'll get there.


              • #8
                Re: Trimming the story

                Cut out anything that would be the director's, cinematographer's or art director's job.

                Example: Let's say you are the lucky bastard who gets to adapt The Lord of the Rings into a screenplay.

                Tolkien got to wank on about scene-description, spending a page of type describing a f=ucking HILL. What do *you* write instead? "Boromir ascends the hill."

                That's it.


                • #9
                  Re: Trimming the story

                  remember that scripts downloaded from the web are reformatted in txt or doc or html files and page lengths are no longer reliable, unless you get a formatted hardcopy.


                  • #10
                    200 pages, chopped to 146. You are in trouble. Here is an excercise. Every single scene and character discription in your masterpiece is ONE breathe. If you can not say it in one breathe it's tooooooo long.

                    thank you TRIM THE FAT


                    • #11

                      "I was almost shure "the green mile" was 200 pages. Mabye i read in a dream I dont know"

                      I'm (pretty) sure you cant read in dreams - Something to do with the part of the brain that processes language being shutdown during sleep -


                      • #12
                        Article Just For You!

                        I decided to run this week's Screenwriting Article to help you with this problem. It's called CUTTING CLASS and you can find on my website (link below).

                        - Bill

                        PS: Even BRAVEHEART was under 120 pages.


                        • #13
                          cut subplot

                          Are all your subplots direclty related to your theme? One way to make a massive cut is to remove and entire subplot - that will cause a lot of ripple effects though.