Friday, December 15, 2006

Arousal Draft #3: 2 day extension!

I know, mea culpa, because I waited until a week before Arousal's draft 3 deadline to begin rewriting in earnest. Still, though—in my defense, I had printed out everyone's feedback and kept it all in mind so that when I did start rewriting, I wasn't beginning in a total vacuum. A stitch in time and all that.

Page length has been pretty amusing to observe with each successive draft:

Draft #1: 107 pages (31 Aug 06)
Draft #2: 117 pages (16 Nov 06)
Draft #3: 125 pages (17 Dec 06)

In my own view, a script's length (and here I mean only a reader's script bandied about for a studio sale) really hits the mark at 109 pages—109 is enough pages to develop a feature length story, but doesn't look too daunting to read on a Saturday night because of the twisted pyschology behind 99 cent pricing: if you had a choice between reading a 110 page script and a 109 page script, you'd probably choose the 109 pager because that 1 page difference feels much shorter.

While I was pretty happy that draft #1 came in so svelte, and luke warm that draft #2 was longer, you can imagine my face while looking at my behemouth of 125 pages. Good Christ, I'm not James Cameron yet!

So axe some of it I must. I'm trying to cut between 6-8 pages (leaving me with a decent 117-119 pages). That's a lot to strike out, but it's possible to excise a line here, a word there, a paragraph here, a redunancy there... I'm constantly amazed how much repetition can be removed to make each remaining word really pack a punch.

This part of the process is where you really question the need for scenes (indeed, the need for every word of every paragraph in the script), and where I feel the most important work is accomplished, where the script's sparkle finally begins to show. It's painful because you've got to kill some babies along the way, but the script is almost always the better for it.

Draft #3 new deadline: Sunday, December 17, midnight.

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