The screenplay format is interesting because it comes with a time limit. The average movie is around 150 minutes, or 2 1/2 hours. Usually, you figure a minute per page in a screenplay. This is not a hard, fast rule but a guideline, but it let’s you know how far along in a story you are.
I am, as of Monday morning, on page 85. I’ve brought two of my meddling kids back together, and things are going really well for the heroes. So ti’s becoming imperative that things need to go south big time for them. The antagonists, namely Kray and the new Laral overlord, need some love. I’ve got 90 pages to accomplish this and tie-up the trilogy in a bow.
But this is the first draft of the story. The next one will be prose, and that can be as long as I want. So why do screenplay if it’s so limiting?
Again, as I’ve said before in this space, it limits me to what a camera can depict. It’s certainly never going to be shot in this form, even on the minuscule chance it ends up on Netflix. It’s to increase action and reduce exposition. I know there are plot threads that will need shoring up, characters added or dropped. Mine is a style that sometimes gives voice and point-of-view to characters who will never appear again after their scene ends. In screenplay format, these are “Guard on the left” and “woman faking orgasm in the deli.” (Wait. That’s When Harry Met Sally.) And after this sits for a season, I’m going to have to get into these characters’ heads.