An excerpt from my script review for Top Gun: Maverick which will be available 03/20/23:
This tip comes from our beloved 3way himself…
Be bold after you’re repped.
What does that mean?
Don’t submit a spec that’s 170 pages long.
This particular draft is the script that’s used for production, so there’s a bunch of things in there that won’t be necessary in your spec.
Give us your compelling story in about 95 to 110 pages, depending on genre.
Don’t included “alternate” scenes or lines of dialogue.
Again, this one is meant for production, so giving the character alternate lines to try out is fine. This project is already being produced, and it may be something the actor or director wanted to try out.
Same with scenes. Only include the crucial portions to tell your story.
What a professional reader is looking for is a concise narrative that audiences will find interesting, not three pages of alternate endings that all have “cool” attributes.
Don’t forget to proofread.
The writers of this draft were more than likely on a quick turnaround, so the typos will be excused.
For us as amateurs pitching a spec though? Typos are the easiest things to fix in your script, and by doing so shows you value the reader’s time.
Taking the “they’ll see my genius” approach as you shrug off going back to polish your script won’t work out well.
Lastly, don’t emulate what you see in a FYC script.
These scripts are meant for judges during awards season, and although I don’t agree with the bloated, typo ridden, nonstandard format, I’m also not the one doing the judging.
But please understand that shooting scripts and spec scripts are not always the same thing, so make sure you’re formatting your spec accordingly. (However Top Gun: Maverick didn’t win the “Best Screenplay” Oscar, so maybe others felt similar…or they just didn’t want to seem “uncool” to their Everything Everywhere buddies.)
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