Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Cut, cut and cut some more

After four passes through the play, the page count has reduced from 57 to 49 and the dialogue word count from well over 12,000 to a little over 9,000. The target according to the entry criteria is 7,000 but they *did* say at the workshop not to be too bothered about that.

I was aiming for the magic 44 pages (one page per minute) but it's getting tough now. Really tough. The fat is all gone. Extraneous scenes, flabby dialogue, all that went in the first pass. The second pass took care of anything I'd missed the first time round, and gave a hint at the hard decisions to come. Because the third pass really started cutting into the meat of the story and now it feels like I'm almost down to the bones. But still five pages and/or two thousand words too long. Or thereabouts.

I'll stick with it for another couple of passes through from start to finish, but I've got an increasingly loud little voice that's telling me not to go too far with this process. Going back to what they told us in the workshop, they expect a script to have to undergo quite a bit of "development" even after it wins, so maybe at this stage it's more important to worry about telling a good story - one that attracts the judges - rather than being overly concerned with whether it will fit in the time slot. That, after all, can be worked on later. First and foremost I have to convince the producer it's a tale worth telling.

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