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brevity, logline, spec script -

The short version: screenplays read best when they are lean and mean. The longer version… The standard length of screenplays used to be 120-ppg. It has been a long time since that has been the case; decades, in fact. It isn’t against the law or anything to write a 120-ppg screenplay, but we have to ask if there is a 90-ppg version of the same story to be told. If the project is something like an adaptation of a novel, it’s fine to go long. But if we’re looking at a spec script, then it’s best to lean toward a...

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logline, narrative focus, protagonists, structural beats, sub-plotting -

I sometimes see scripts that are pursuing multiple ideas. For example, we might have a horror script that is about two characters; one is contending with a cult, the other is contending with a slasher. It’s one thing if the cult and the slasher are connected. But if not, then we have two protagonists of two different A-stories uncomfortably residing under one title. There is of course such a thing as sub-plotting; narratives with an A-story, a B-story, a C-story, etc. But making each of those story threads reside within its own context is an approach that better works in...

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logline, one sheet, Synopsis, trailer -

When we’re shooting a movie, we understand why the image needs to be in focus: so the audience can best see the subject. The same thought can apply to the screenplay of the story that is being shot. Back when I was managing, I would sometimes run into writers who would claim they were completely unable to synopsize their scripts in any way. I’d ask for a logline, and they would tell me they just don’t think that way, man. The script is too involved and sprawling and intricate to boil it down to a single sentence! Writers who think...

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