It’s one of life’s great cruelties that containers are always constructed too small to hold the things we want to store inside them. Luggage, moving trucks, garages; it always seems like if they could just hold a little bit more, they’d be perfect! Alas. Leave that second pair of shoes at home. Make one more arduous trip for that lamp you never liked, but your significant other can’t live without. Park your Bentley outside.
The same rule applies to screenwriting. For whatever reason, the magic number of pages is 120. If we go by the “one page = one minute” rule, that’s a two-hour movie. Since 120 pages can actually film faster than a page a minute (especially with some assiduous editing), you have yourself the hour and a half movie that every production company and distributor looks for. Shorter than a buck-thirty and the audience feels cheated. Longer and you lose screentimes. My screenplay runs a hair…well, actually a lock…longer than 120 pages. I think the last count was at 127. I don’t think that’s too shabby, considering the amount of world-building going on. Anyway, it’s going to be awesome.
So, that brings us to the synopsis, which, sadly, is supposed to be two to three pages. If scripts live and die by synopses, it’s no wonder that so many movies these days seem so flat and simple. Character arcs are reserved for the protagonist only and supporting cast are relegated to archetypal dramatic foils. It makes sense. If you only have three pages with which to excite a producer, you want to write dramatically to capture the reader. With three pages, that means having less content. In my case, I cut from the bone inside and out. Not only did I have to stick mainly to the hero’s journey, but the writing is a lot more wooden than I’d like. But what can I do? There’s a lot of explaining that has to be done just in case the reader isn’t familiar with fantasy settings.
In any event, the synopsis is done and sent to Mr. Actor. Lets all hope that he and/or his people can get it where it needs to go.
Of course, if anyone affiliated with Joel Silver should stumble here, I can send the synopsis/screenplay to you or Joel directly. 😉