An excerpt from my script review for Mission: Impossible Fallout which will be available 05/23/22:
What is the acceptable format for scripts?
Lucky for you there’s no exact structure, just some things that are accepted and some that are not.
Then there’s the whole bunch of “tolerated” shit in between, lol.
For instance, what’s not accepted for a spec script?
Two hundred and two mother fucking pages!
(Even if most of them are blank.)
You should take the appropriate time to tell your story, whether that’s 90 pages for a nice tight horror, or 120 for an attractive action.
Anything more than that and you risk losing the reader, sometimes even before he starts.
This also includes “cheats” where you know you’re over on page count, so you just combine blocks of description and we get wall after wall of actions.
“Tightening” your script doesn’t just refer to the exact number of pages, but to only including the details that your story needs to move forward.
(This being a shooting script, exact fight moves arguably needed to be included, but when writing a spec, just give the reader the general idea.)
Then there’s the “tolerated” stuff.
I’d put things like “we see” and “we hear” in this category.
Some people may be okay with it, others may hate it, but chances are it’s not going to tank your script from the get go.
Do I like when writers use it? No, because technically speaking, until the visuals are on the screen WE don’t see or hear anything, your characters do, so why not just state it as such?
It only truly bothers me when, like other techniques, it’s overused and I’m jarred from the story by being bombarded with what I deem a “we see fest”.
Another note to take away for your own writing, whether professional or amateur, is to respect your reader’s time so she respects your story.
You want to omit/delete scenes? Great. Edit them out and tighten your story.
Making changes on the fly? Sometimes it’s expected, but take time to proofread what was fixed, and don’t assume anyone will “let it slide” because your work is pure genius.
Even with all the omitted portions, this script still read long and sloppy making it a pain to get through.
(Remember when I said 3way must have been mad at me when he suggested I read it?)
Overall it was a mess, and I’m surprised to see these types of lazy versions being submitted for consideration.
Remember, respect begets respect.
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