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65 pages? 70 pages??? I’ve got almost 80 and need to know how much I have to cut

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Some help is at my other answer: How firm is the 120 page limit on a screenplay.

If you haven't sold a screenplay before, the more you exceed 120 pages the less likely you are to sell. That's just the facts, long screenplays are more expensive and harder to market, at 160 pages you are talking about 2H 40M of screentime. A few famous writers can get away with that, for Star Wars or Lord of the Rings or something, but with near certainty it is not a breaking-in-to-the-business screenplay for an unknown.

My answer at the link above provides another link to average lengths; stick to the 120 pages and make your story midpoint somewhere on page 59, 60 or 61. The leeway is if you have a short first act and long third, or vice versa.

  • 65 okay if I make it 120? – Matt Jan 16 '18 at 22:10
  • Probably, if the story turning point is clear, and everything before it is absolutely necessary to the story. If not, a director seeing 65/120 may try to cut 10 pages before it, putting it on 55 of 110 pages: Dead center and dead average total length. They think $50K, $100K per page, every minute counts. Don't ruin your story, some setups are complex and just take more minutes, or they will become too confusing. But it is better for you to be as ruthless as you can stand, than for the director butcher it to fit his budget! Typically you'll have zero say over it once you sell it. – Amadeus-Reinstate-Monica Jan 16 '18 at 23:43

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