The End of the Screenplay…Or Is It?

So, for the first time in months, I am confident I have a full-length screenplay in the can. Done. The only problem is it’s about sixty-five pages, not my usual ninety. I have tried different ways to “stretch it” these past few weeks but now I’m not so sure.

I think the story is too straightforward to be elongated too much. “Night Ride,” as it is tentatively named, is a road movie, and I don’t want to spend too much time off the freeway. The journey is ultimately the film’s destination. Also, the moments off the road feel like exposition. Sure, there is room for subplots—but I don’t feel inclined to write them into the story. With such a strong A-plot, it just never felt right to dilute it with extra stories.
I am also wary of writing more scenes in the ride itself. I know how limiting it is to film an entire movie in a car. There needs to be a balance between inside and outside the car.

I have a few ideas on how to add pages, but right now, I need to take some time off, re-read the script as if I just stumbled upon it in a few weeks, and see where those new edits take me. I know that the characters lack enough depth, so the next scenes I write should fill them out as sympathetic, three-dimensional people.

I believe in this script and I know taking time off cannot affect how much I like it. Sure, many screenplays die between the second and third drafts, but for once in my writing life, I have faith.

What do you when faced with a short story? Should I just accept the screenplay’s length and move on? Give up? Keep writing? What do you think?

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5 responses to “The End of the Screenplay…Or Is It?

  1. Have you checked InkTip? There are plenty of producers who look for short scripts for TV or something. Have you seen road trip films like Due Date, Tommy Boy, or Black Sheep? Perhaps they’re some inspiration to fill the gap and reach the 90. If you like, I can read it… perhaps I’ve got some idea to share ; )

  2. “I have a few ideas on how to add pages, but right now, I need to take some time off, re-read the script as if I just stumbled upon it in a few weeks, and see where those new edits take me. I know that the characters lack enough depth, so the next scenes I write should fill them out as sympathetic, three-dimensional people.”

    I think you’re on the right track with this. I definitely do *not* think you should just say, “It’s done, and I don’t need to worry about the length.” I mean, there are conventions that you can just ignore. And that’s true of any form. (I have to admit, it’s a pet peeve of mine when people think they are above conventions. It’s stubborn, and it doesn’t lead to growth as an artist.)

    Especially if you have this much love and faith in your story, then you owe it to the work to make it its very best. And knowing you, you will. 🙂

  3. Thanks so much! That means a lot. I’m at page eighty and pretty satisfied. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with an eighty minute movie. I could add maybe two more scenes, but I don’t know where I would put them.

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