Horror movie length

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  • #16
    Re: Horror movie length

    It sounds fine to me.

    If you want to make it longer, just add white space.

    Also in horror visual tension is important. There are going to be drawn-out scenes in the final film. Write those scenes as you see them. Write a lot of one-line actions and descriptions.

    Use a lot of white. This assuming that your script isn't already full of white. If it is, then the length is a problem. But it sounds like your writing is tight. Make it a little bit less tight.

    With credits the film would be at least 85 minutes. This is solid for a horror film.

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    • #17
      Re: Horror movie length

      Originally posted by tuukka View Post
      If you want to make it longer, just add white space.

      Also in horror visual tension is important. There are going to be drawn-out scenes in the final film. Write those scenes as you see them. Write a lot of one-line actions and descriptions.


      Use a lot of white. This assuming that your script isn't already full of white. If it is, then the length is a problem. But it sounds like your writing is tight. Make it a little bit less tight.

      With credits the film would be at least 85 minutes. This is solid for a horror film.
      This is terrible advice. And no one adds end credits into the equasion when judging screenplay length.

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      • #18
        Re: Horror movie length

        I think the advice is this.


        action lines look like this.


        xxxxxxxxx
        xxxxxxxxx
        xxxxxxxxx
        xxxxxxxxx


        try this


        xxxxxxxxx
        xxxxxxxxx


        xxxxxxxxx
        xxxxxxxxx


        White Space = use the enter key
        space out action

        Still yes credits don't count, get it to 90 pages -- have people read it -- as 99.9% sure it being short is a bad thing. Still chance it's brilliant.

        Comment


        • #19
          Re: Horror movie length

          Ah, I see. Though, considering the rest of the advice I'm not convinced,: 'Write a lot of one-line actions and descriptions'. Especially as that bit of advice was in the same paragraph as the bit about writing drawn-out scenes.

          Hence I thought the white space advice was to turn this

          xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
          xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
          xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

          xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
          xxxxxxxxxxxxxx


          into


          xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

          xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

          xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

          xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

          xxxxxxxxxxxxxx


          And 85 minutes has never been solid for a horror. 'Get to 90' as the minimum minimum - I'll wager the average 'solid' horror length is 95-100, the minimum obviously being 95.
          Last edited by SundownInRetreat; 06-22-2020, 08:07 AM.

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          • #20
            Re: Horror movie length

            Originally posted by SundownInRetreat View Post
            This is terrible advice. And no one adds end credits into the equasion when judging screenplay length.
            My previous post obviously wasn't clear enough - My mistake.

            The point is that there are many horror movies that are less than 90 minutes long. So I don't see it as a problem that the script is short. It's enough for a horror film.

            Evil Dead 1 & 2 & 3, What We Do In The Shadows, Paranormal Activity, Wicker Man, Don't Breathe, Halloween H20, Rec, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (50's version), The Fog, Phantasm, Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer, Trick'r Treat, Inside, Friday The 13th Part 2, Them, Child's Play, Creep 1 & 2, Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil, Autopsy Of Jane Doe, are all 75-89 minutes long. With credits. There are of course many more, but most of those are quite well known. A huge number of low-budget horror films are just 80-90 minutes long.

            Horror movies typically have drawn-out scenes that create atmosphere and tension. Or action scenes where you want every line to "punch". Writing the script so that it has "air" is fine. One-line actions and descriptions and lot's of white space can be effective when writing suspense/action set-pieces. I would assume that this horror movie has either of the two, if not both. Someone mentioned that a short script allows the director to have "breather" shots. This is true, and breathing room is important in horror movies. However, you can *write* those breathers.

            It's important if the script is good. Not if it's longer. If the script is good, there is no need to add new scenes.
            Last edited by tuukka; 06-22-2020, 09:01 AM.

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            • #21
              Re: Horror movie length

              Originally posted by Bono View Post
              I think the advice is this.


              action lines look like this.


              xxxxxxxxx
              xxxxxxxxx
              xxxxxxxxx
              xxxxxxxxx


              try this


              xxxxxxxxx
              xxxxxxxxx


              xxxxxxxxx
              xxxxxxxxx


              White Space = use the enter key
              space out action

              Still yes credits don't count, get it to 90 pages -- have people read it -- as 99.9% sure it being short is a bad thing. Still chance it's brilliant.
              Yes, this is what I meant. And when it comes to writing set-pieces:

              xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
              xxxxxxxxxxxxx

              xxxxxx

              xxxxxxxxxx
              xxxxxxxx

              xxxxxxx

              xxx

              xxxxxxxxxxxxx
              xxxxxxxxxxxx

              And so on...

              Comment


              • #22
                Re: Horror movie length

                Wherever you've written an:

                AAARGH!

                simply change it to an:

                AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!
                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


                • #23
                  Re: Horror movie length

                  Originally posted by tuukka View Post
                  My previous post obviously wasn't clear enough - My mistake.

                  The point is that there are many horror movies that are less than 90 minutes long. So I don't see it as a problem that the script is short. It's enough for a horror film.

                  but most of those are quite well known. A huge number of low-budget horror films are just 80-90 minutes long.


                  It's important if the script is good. Not if it's longer. If the script is good, there is no need to add new scenes.
                  No worries, Tukka, and thanks for clarifying.

                  Not to argue but I think the films you listed are a bit selective - the exception rather than the rule. Yes, F13 part II and Paranormal Activity are<90 mins (87) but the rest of the franchises are >90m. John Carpenter admits The Fog was thin and ran out of steam too quickly, requiring him to add some jump scenes so as to beef up the runtime, whilst Phantasm, Tucker and Child's Play are all 89m so near-as-dammit 90m.

                  But yes, if it's great then leave it be.

                  That said, how many were specs? What are the chances of grabbing a busy reader's/exec's/prodco's attention with an 85 page amateur spec? I bet it's extremely likely they're passed over on the assumption that they're not up to par.
                  Last edited by SundownInRetreat; 06-22-2020, 09:31 AM.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Re: Horror movie length

                    Again script length and movie length rarely line up. A lot of horror movies are shorter for many reasons -- a lot of the time it's because they are made cheap and they can't afford things. If you saw Jason Take Manhattan you would know he was in real NYC for 30 seconds.

                    So they made 82 min horror movies because they could save money.

                    I love indie movies. I love horror. Horror is often the first stop for many filmmakers breaking in. So to judge spec length in 2020 on horror movies of the past is hard.

                    Anyway -- my point is I bet the 82 min movie -- the spec was still closer to 100 pages than 80.

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                    • #25
                      Re: Horror movie length

                      Originally posted by Bono View Post
                      Anyway -- my point is I bet the 82 min movie -- the spec was still closer to 100 pages than 80.
                      Agreed. They had to cut huge chunks from that film as they just didn't have the moolah.

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                      • #26
                        Re: Horror movie length

                        A lot of low budget horror is often written as low budget horror - The scripts are short.

                        Anyway, the script in question here is something we haven't read. I wouldn't add 8 pages of unnecessary scenes if the script is already exactly as long as it should be. OP stated that he writes in short and economical style, which probably means that the film would run longer than there are pages in the script.

                        OP only needs to press enter 5 times per page on average, to reach the 90 pages. 5 white lines per page. Maybe 7 lines on same pages, only 3 on some. Maybe adding a line of action or description here and there, to get that one extra line of black, and one extra line of white.

                        If the story and characters work as they are, adding 8 pages of scenes just to reach a page count sounds like a bad idea. It's unnecessary padding, and does a disservice to the script. Just add white instead. It's by far the most practical solution.

                        (This assuming that the script isn't full of white already).

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Re: Horror movie length

                          Originally posted by TigerFang View Post
                          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.
                          Originally posted by tuukka View Post
                          A lot of low budget horror is often written as low budget horror - The scripts are short.

                          Anyway, the script in question here is something we haven't read. I wouldn't add 8 pages of unnecessary scenes if the script is already exactly as long as it should be. OP stated that he writes in short and economical style, which probably means that the film would run longer than there are pages in the script.

                          OP only needs to press enter 5 times per page on average, to reach the 90 pages. 5 white lines per page. Maybe 7 lines on same pages, only 3 on some. Maybe adding a line of action or description here and there, to get that one extra line of black, and one extra line of white.

                          If the story and characters work as they are, adding 8 pages of scenes just to reach a page count sounds like a bad idea. It's unnecessary padding, and does a disservice to the script. Just add white instead. It's by far the most practical solution.

                          (This assuming that the script isn't full of white already).
                          Same thing, only different, iknownuffin. Write on.
                          “Organizations for writers palliate the writer‘s loneliness, but I doubt if they improve his writing.“ — Ernest Hemingway

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