Dan writes in with a question:
I've been reading your blog and over the weeks, I've found precious information there. I really hope you can help me with my problem:
I've written an original horror movie script. The problem is: it's 165 pages long. Of course, I know it's waaaay too long. I should cut out a lot of scenes, bring it to a max of 120 pages.
So here's what i thought:
make 3 different scripts:
1. a slim, 110-120 page version of the script
2. a 170 page "Part 1 & 2" script
3. a 5 episode TV show script
My questions to you: Would this make sense? Is it a good idea to hint at the end of the script at the other 2 versions? I suppose I'll have to register all 3 scripts separately?
And there's one more:
I live in Europe, so selling a script in the US is probably damn near impossible. Let's say I'm very stubborn and i still want to try it. What advice can you give me?
My advice - the only option that makes sense is #1. I don't see how you can break a long story conceived as one unit into two pieces and have either one make sense on their own. That would take some drastic rewrites and then you still have a major problem in that you're now trying to sell two scripts. Longtime readers may remember how I feel about the words "To Be Continued..."
I don't see any value in writing a 5-episode script. When you sell a show in the U.S., there needs to be enough narrative engine to allow that series to continue for up to a hundred episodes, should the network see fit. True, every now and then a show makes it on the air with a premise that makes one skeptical it can last more than one season. As hard as it may be to believe, usually the network has worked with the writer and gotten at least some assurance that the writer sees several years worth of stories.
Can you get 5 years worth of story out of an idea that started as a slightly over-long horror film? I tend to doubt it. I say bite the bullet and start cutting your darlings.
As to the final question, that's a little outside my realm of experience. Rather than talk out of my ass, I'll invite my readers to comment if they have any insight.