Advice from a writer and reader to the aspiring writer.
I have been doing a lot of script reading lately, for my own consulting, for friends, and for judging contests (just recently started doing that!) And one of the things that I notice the most and to be FAIR, I have fallen into this trap as well, is this: The script is BORING for about 30 pages-that is 30 minutes.
What would happen if you went to the movies and NOTHING happened for 30 full minutes? I know some films take forever to set up-but at least make it interesting.
If 5 to 10 pages into a script, I can’t tell you what it’s about or what is happening, something is wrong. People have a very short attention span and now I get it. I know why my own scripts sometimes have had issues-too long to get things happening.
Of course this does depend on the type of script you are writing, but still something must draw the reader or the audience in right away. Ever read a book that the first chapter was boring? It’s hard to move through. One HUGE famous author whose work I love by the way, took so long setting things up, I would start his books on chapter two or three just so I wouldn’t be bored out of my head. He was a great writer, and famous and here I sit writing a blog instead of rolling around in money, but seriously the first chapter was always so slow and not helping the story.
Les Miserables-the BOOK-the FULL version is LONG, and slow at first, but it is so well written that you don’t feel that way when reading it. David Copperfield is that way as well. You can spend time, but make sure it’s interesting.
I just read an action script where honestly NOTHING happened until page 40! 40! yes I said 40! The idea was good enough, the characters were okay, but NOTHING happened for so long I was thinking of other things while reading it. I really wish the scene 35 pages is was how he opened the script, then I would have been not able to put it down-which I did about 17 times.
So I am just sharing some advice from me, a writer and a reader to you, the writer. Make it interesting immediately until you are famous and can babble on for 40 pages and no one will care.