Horror movie length

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  • Horror movie length

    I'm finishing up the first draft of a horror script. Everything that should be in there, is (at least I think so).

    I've learned to write lean, so it's going end up somewhere in the neighborhood of 82 pages.

    What worries me about the page count is not that it's shorter than the average horror movie.

    What worries me is what execs and managers and agents THINK should be a minimum page length for a horror movie.

    In other words, if it doesn't meet their minimums, would that prevent them from even reading it?

    Your thoughts are much appreciated.
    PuppyTummy.com

  • #2
    Re: Horror movie length

    If I saw an 82 minute horror movie on Netflix or something, I'd skip over it. My first impression would be that it has an underdeveloped plot that lacks substance. Even writing lean, it's not hard to fill 90 to 110 pages, so maybe consider getting some feedback by someone who understands writing before sending it out

    As far as execs go, if it's an amazing story, I think they'd be very delighted to see something that won't have a demanding budget and can fill more showtimes at theaters all because it's short. But I don't think an 82 page script is going to initially inspire optimism.

    The question is, does your short script defy expectations based off initial impression?

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    • #3
      Re: Horror movie length

      To answer your question more directly though, since I don't feel like I did a good job of it with my initial response.

      I think it might vary from person to person, but if they've already gone through the trouble of requesting the script to read it in the first place, I'd imagine most would at least give the first few pages a look. After that, the quality of your writing will likely determine how much more they read and what they ultimately do with it.

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      • #4
        Re: Horror movie length

        Everything that should be in there, is (at least I think so)
        Care to post a page or two?

        FWIW. As long as script is 75 pages, it is considered a feature length film. In the end, it all boils down to story telling.

        --fallen

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        • #5
          Re: Horror movie length

          Originally posted by iknownuffin View Post
          I'm finishing up the first draft of a horror script. Everything that should be in there, is (at least I think so).

          I've learned to write lean, so it's going end up somewhere in the neighborhood of 82 pages.

          What worries me about the page count is not that it's shorter than the average horror movie.

          What worries me is what execs and managers and agents THINK should be a minimum page length for a horror movie.

          In other words, if it doesn't meet their minimums, would that prevent them from even reading it?

          Your thoughts are much appreciated.
          Spec should be 90-110 pages. I think horror films should be shorter than most genres, so if it's closer to 93 pages all the better. 82 seems short -- but pretty sure some werewolf spec with no dialogue sold or made the black list and it was like 30-60 pages. I couldn't find it. But it wasn't a normal length as there was no dialogue.

          So 82 pages tells me you have like 1 or 2 characters and a lot of not speaking in a tense horror movie.

          Braveheart I recall the script being so much shorter than Clerks was and the movies are the exact opposite in movie length wise. So one page per minute doesn't apply.

          Look if it's amazing, people will be so excited it's 82 pages and not 122 pages. However, knowing nothing, the changes you wrote 82 pages and the spec feels right is slim.

          I don't have the script in front of me, but maybe break up your action lines more. Add more dialogue? White space. Get it to 90 pages and I think you'd be doing yourself a favor.

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          • #6
            Re: Horror movie length

            Originally posted by iknownuffin View Post
            I'm finishing up the first draft of a horror script. Everything that should be in there, is (at least I think so).

            I've learned to write lean, so it's going end up somewhere in the neighborhood of 82 pages.

            What worries me about the page count is not that it's shorter than the average horror movie.

            What worries me is what execs and managers and agents THINK should be a minimum page length for a horror movie.

            In other words, if it doesn't meet their minimums, would that prevent them from even reading it?

            Your thoughts are much appreciated.
            You're fine. There are probably some one-sentence Action descriptions that will take up more than a few seconds of screen time. A lean script is better than an overweight script; you can always add pages. It's more difficult to pare down 110 pages to 100 pages than it is to pad 82 pages out to 100 pages. Your 82-page script gives the future director places to expand key moments and put in his "breather- shots. If you want to carry your precious few darlings an extra page, or revive some of the darlings you killed, maybe you can make it a 90-page masterpiece. That's an hour-and-a-half movie, which, IMO, is a respectable, watchable horror movie length.
            “Organizations for writers palliate the writer‘s loneliness, but I doubt if they improve his writing.“ — Ernest Hemingway

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            • #7
              Re: Horror movie length

              Originally posted by iknownuffin View Post
              I'm finishing up the first draft of a horror script. Everything that should be in there, is (at least I think so).

              I've learned to write lean, so it's going end up somewhere in the neighborhood of 82 pages.

              What worries me about the page count is not that it's shorter than the average horror movie.

              What worries me is what execs and managers and agents THINK should be a minimum page length for a horror movie.

              In other words, if it doesn't meet their minimums, would that prevent them from even reading it?

              Your thoughts are much appreciated.
              Your answer is in bold and you answered it yourself. As Bono said, the average is 90-110 pages so the minimum is 90. Like Prezzy said, I skip 82 min movies. Can it get read at 84 pages? Sure, but it's harder due to the NSE (Netflix Skip Effect).

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Horror movie length

                Originally posted by Bono View Post
                82 seems short -- but pretty sure some werewolf spec with no dialogue sold or made the black list and it was like 30-60 pages. I couldn't find it.
                That sounds like an interesting read. Does anyone remember the name, or if not that the year?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Horror movie length

                  Originally posted by iknownuffin View Post
                  I'm finishing up the first draft of a horror script. Everything that should be in there, is (at least I think so).

                  I've learned to write lean, so it's going end up somewhere in the neighborhood of 82 pages.
                  If your lines-per-page count is currently 56, then reducing it to 53 could increase the page count to 87.
                  Know this: I'm a lazy amateur, so trust not a word what I write.
                  "The ugly can be beautiful. The pretty, never." ~ Oscar Wilde

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Horror movie length

                    Originally posted by Crayon View Post
                    If your lines-per-page count is currently 56, then reducing it to 53 could increase the page count to 87.
                    Don't do this. It's already slight and on top of that you'll piss everyone off with cheating the page lengths? No.

                    You said its a first draft -- get feedback on which parts need "more" of something, and go from there, and give them more.

                    Add another small thread of something -- a character that needs more development or a small arc added in for them in relation to what's already going on. Another obstacle of some sort. Another small set piece sort of thing to amp up the tension.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Horror movie length

                      Originally posted by Crayon View Post
                      If your lines-per-page count is currently 56, then reducing it to 53 could increase the page count to 87.
                      Originally posted by figment View Post
                      Don't do this. It's already slight and on top of that you'll piss everyone off with cheating the page lengths? No.
                      Okay, 53 lines per page would be a reduction too far, but if you've got more than 55 lines per page then apparently it would be acceptable to reduce that to 55.

                      Although, ultimately, just write more stuff.
                      Know this: I'm a lazy amateur, so trust not a word what I write.
                      "The ugly can be beautiful. The pretty, never." ~ Oscar Wilde

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                      • #12
                        Re: Horror movie length

                        Thanks for the help. I'll see what I can do. I don't want to fluff it for fluff's sake, but maybe I can elaborate on a few of the scenes/characters already written out.

                        I did check on some horror movie lengths and found that "Lights Out" was only 81 minutes (though the script itself was 106 pages). So there is a precedent. Hopefully the powers-that-be recognize this so they can be more forgiving should I come in at less than 90 pages.
                        Last edited by iknownuffin; 06-20-2020, 09:05 AM. Reason: added more stuff
                        PuppyTummy.com

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                        • #13
                          Re: Horror movie length

                          Actual length of the movie vs script is what I was talking about. It's rarely the same.

                          Clerks script was 163 pages and the movie is 93 minutes off the top of my head.

                          Braveheart script I recall how it was say 120 pages but the movies was 3 hours plus. Because the battle scene would be "they fight" and the movie version was 10 minutes of "they fight."

                          I just want to make sure you have this awesome style and the story made the script 82 pages vs just 82 pages of what is really a novel? You know? That's my fear for you w/o seeing the script itself.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Horror movie length

                            Originally posted by iknownuffin View Post
                            Thanks for the help. I'll see what I can do. I don't want to fluff it for fluff's sake, but maybe I can elaborate on a few of the scenes/characters already written out.

                            I did check on some horror movie lengths and found that "Lights Out" was only 81 minutes (though the script itself was 106 pages). So there is a precedent. Hopefully the powers-that-be recognize this so they can be more forgiving should I come in at less than 90 pages.
                            Yes it was but it was poorly-developed from what was originally a 3 minute short. The backstory explaining *Diana's existence was literally a 30 second voiceover with newspaper cuttings to back it up. One movie does not substantiate 81 minutes as the norm or desirable. The reason why 90-100 mins is the aim is because most horror movies are in that range.




                            She really shit me up and I had to sleep with the light on for ages.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Horror movie length

                              Seems too short. Hard to tell. But that's the first impression.

                              You can add a twist and new complications and easily add ten pages. That's not fluff. Make it harder for your main character, box them in so they can't get out unless the have to kill or sacrifice someone innocent-- you could add that as a subplot.

                              Plenty of great things you can do to increase the story.
                              "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

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