Thursday, April 26, 2007

Done. Ish.

I've finished the second draft of my superhero movie, which means I felt about one second of elation, followed by the traditional hour-long period of mourning for all the versions of the script that it isn't.

The ideal running time for this sort of action comedy is about an hour and a half: almost the exact running time for Men in Black, which is never going to win a Nobel award, but is as lean, economical and funny a script as you could wish for. Two hours is okay, but that usually means the director has stuck in one action scene too many (Speed, Con Air, and I think deliberately, Hot Fuzz). A regular problem with road movies is that they regularly run out of steam when the protagonists get to their destination, so I've been very careful to keep the third act as tight* as possible. Currently, the page length is about 106 minutes, which is still easy to read as one hour six minutes, but is of course one hour forty six (I know it sounds obvious, but wait until you've been writing on five coffees and it's three in the morning, and your brain won't work any more**).

I'm aware all this stuff about acts sounds terribly formulaic, but to honest I wanted to write a formulaic movie, or rather ram together two formulaic genres: the superhero and road movie, and see if you could remain true to both. Whether it's worked or not... I have no idea.

Not sure why I'm writing this post really - I suppose it's nice to mark the point at which a project feels like it's finished, even though realistically, the cutting and polishing will go on for some time yet.

And now a cup of tea.


* like a tiger.
** not that I've done this since 1993, but still, the point holds.

11 comments:

Nicole said...

Damn. I could really use a superhero/roadtrip movie about now, too.

Dave said...

Yes indeed. There's nothing much on the box tonight. Is it out on DVD yet?

james henry said...

I'll put it up on YouTube soon as I can....

Sylvia said...

Fantastic - well done James - I look forward to seeing it on the big screen. Will it be better than Casino Royale? That was the last adult film I saw.......

Valerie said...

As in Sleep Tight Tiger?
But perhaps no. The third act doesn't sound like it's at all sleepy.

I just hope they actually make the thing. Because it sounds like great fun.

I think you have earned your tea. Not to mention a handful of biscuits.

kaiki said...

you finished ? magic, this is marvellous news, superheroes always fuel my fire…but tight like a tiger ? have i missed something ?

Sean McManus said...

Congratulations on getting it finished. I bet you won't know what to do with your time now you've got your big project sorted. ;-)

Imo said...

Well done. Will you get involved in all the casting and whatnot, or do you have to just cut the strings and wave goodbye to your baby?

Ros said...

Sounds ideal for animation - paging Brad Bird.

I've just written a screenplay myself, and I know what you mean about that one second of elation, in my case followed by a distinct feeling of "Is that it?" I was expecting horrible mourning after hacking it down to length from 150 pages (it's a comedy/drama so I've allowed myself 120), but actually it felt more like a much-needed and satisfying crap. I'm now taking a month off, which is like coming home to an empty house after a five-year carnival in Rio de Janeiro.

james henry said...

Congrats. I'm doing rewrites now.

Le sigh.

james henry said...

This is probably far too late, but I just realised I missed some comments here, apologies.

In the unlikely event it gets as far as casting, the chances of me having much input beyond a few initial suggestions are slim, and that's arguably not a bad thing.

And the 'tight like a tiger' thing was a reference to a line in Austen Powers. It might even have been 'taut like a tiger', thinking about it.