* I wrote this post on the morning of the 25th (of July), but I could post it today because I was on vacation (and very happy about it) with a rare and impossibly slow Internet connection (not that I cared that much about it – thanks to the holy trio of sun, sand and sea.)
After weeks and weeks strenuous of editing, and double-checking the page limit (80-120 for feature scripts, over 150 to be disqualified), I managed to rewrite my originally 240-page script to a tightly written 142-page one.
To my delight, it had become a lot tighter, and I hadn’t lost too many solid scenes. I was congratulating myself on the delicate balance I had found between showing and telling. It was past 2 on the morning of *my self-inflicted deadline (more on this in a bit), and I was still not completely finished editing.
Every time I looked I noticed stuff I could word better, repetition I could avoid, extra spaces that had been previously missed. But I had to give it up sometime, and I was looking forward to some shut eye: I was to get up only 4 hours later to catch a plane towards my hard-earned vacation.
So I crossed my fingers, hoped I hadn’t overlooked some deadly errors and opened the submitting page and to my horror, I saw the note: 135 pages max. Oops. Anything over 135 couldn’t even be downloaded. So cursing myself for not having checked the tiny number on the submission page earlier (but in my defense, why mention 150 as the absolute max. here and have a different number on the submission page?), I started, in panic, to brainstorm about what more I could possibly cut, without damaging the story.
I did my best to sharpen the dialogue further, edit some obvious parenthetical stuff and I did cut all the transitions (though I think some of them remained – I know you are not supposed to edit at the last minute, but desperate times…).
So I submitted my freshly edited, 135-page story at about 3.30 AM. I crossed my fingers, and got my confirmation email shortly after.
The irony is, I was hell-bent on not rushing things. I had started the rewrite months before. But I am one of those people who sometimes get the best inspiration hours before the impending doom deadline, even if the deadline is self-inflicted.
As opposed to the latest possible deadline of 31st, I’d wanted to finish it by 24th, since I’d be on a plane on the 25th and I wouldn’t have access to a fast and secure internet connection.
Some of my favorite scenes were actually finished on the night of 24th, and you did read about my final editing adventures…
This part was written today:
I submitted another script today, this time the pilot episode of a comedy/drama series.
Funnily enough, this time if I were to have a problem with the page number, it would be that I didn’t have enough. It’s 41 pages, and an-hour dramas are supposed to be a bit more than that, typically somewhere around 60-65. And well, it is not a sit-com. So I guess it would be an half-hour comedy/drama. Oh well…obviously I do hope it is liked. And if it is liked, the initial page number won’t matter a bit.
The thing is, when I created it, I didn’t know that much about standard lengths, and my episode page numbers (I wrote about 22 for this series) ranged from 40 to 90. Ah, the sweet oblivion of writing freely when you don’t have a clue about industry standards…
Wish me luck. And I do wish you the best of luck with all of your writing ventures. May luck, inspiration and correct (and timely) editing be with us all…