Write a script to percussion by removing the superfluous

Écrire un script percutant en retirant le superflu

Learn how to remove what is in excess in your scenario


In the last article I told you that there was a need to persuade a producer or a drive with only the first 10 pages of your screenplay. For this it is necessary that the exposure, the hero and everything that allows us to understand the story and the plot is in these 10 pages. Then necessarily go to the essence of it is a difficult exercise and, it is true, as some have said in the comments under the article in question : “When a producer reads the script, the continuity of dialogue, is that it has necessarily read the treatment, and, in fact, he would go further than the first 10 pages “. These people are partly right. If they have read your treatment, one can say that the producers, directors, or readers will not go beyond the 30th page, but whatever happens they will not exceed the 10– th page if they see that your scenario takes in the length, even if they liked the treatment !

Then how to make the ” cut ” in your scenario to be more powerful ?

This brings up a question…Should I rewrite the scenario, the story ? Or just remove the superfluous ? The correct answer is the second question : to Remove the superfluous. Go back to the basics at first, and is not to rewrite your story, find solutions through other scenes, other characters…no. This is to remove everything that is too much, everything that serves no purpose except to make the filling, beautiful phrases, or style effects.

But before you see what you can remove, as unnecessary elements, ask yourself this question :

Is it that all of my characters and all my sequences are useful and serve the story ?

Remove characters and cut sequences will help you to save time and especially in effectiveness.

  • What is this character ?
  • That brings t-he in the story ?
  • Is it an exercise or is it there to pass on a message ?
  • Such a sequence does it advance the narrative ?
  • If we remove this sequence, what happens ? What do you mean ?

But once this work of ” cutting “ has taken place, is it possible to do better ? The answer is yes, yes and yes again. If if I assure you. Before we go any further, I would also like to say that to be able to remove the sequences or set of characters, there is a need to understand, or at least make the difference between :

  • A good idea or a great idea


  • A good idea or a great idea

Ahahahahah, no no there’s no error, it is the same sentence ! Let me explain : It is necessary to make the difference between a good idea that will advance the story, which gives depth to a character or advance the plot, and A good (or great) idea that you like, that makes you laugh (and will surely be laughing at the viewer), but that brings nothing to the characters or that shows a facet of the character that brings nothing to the story or the plot. You know what ? And well this was a good idea should be shelved, striped of your scenario…yes I know it is terrible !

A few months ago I started to write a courtt (a sudden urge), a story that has been floating around in my head for a moment. I write in a record time but I realize very quickly that my scenario is too long : 21 pages ! Or, if I count one minute per page : 21 minutes.

You who come here regularly, I repeat to you-length of time not to exceed 15 minutes (including the credits)…So I’m not going to do the opposite of what I say ;o)

I cut characters, sequences, and a few odds and ends and especially an idea that kept me really at heart, that I found it really funny, but with the benefit of hindsight , and to me, asking good questions, I realized that this idea was not essential to the story. The result, after making several cuts : 5 pages at least ! The scenario is shorter, more rhythmic…in short, I am happy with the result. I am always a little long, the script is 16 pages…but I decided to move all the same.

I am sending it to a producer (sorted on the pane). A few weeks later, phone call : She loves the story. Discussion in the discussion she said to me that my scenario is too long (want want !!!). I give him a reason, she gives me a few tracks in relation to its readers, and the fact that she likes more things than others in my story. I take into account what she told me and I’m back at work.

But how do you do ? I removed everything I could…If I change other things, my structure will be more (or less)…and I’m going to have to rewrite my story…it is the snake which bites the tail…

So how to do once everything is in place and that it is still necessary to win pages and gain in efficiency ?

You know that you have no choice, you have to find a solution to get in the nails and just the production.

This is what I have done and what you must do also : Repeat each line :

  • Description
  • Dialogue

Let’s talk about descriptions :

Recently I opened (few days only) a space to provide readings of a scenario for the readers of ” How to Make A Movie “. I read a scenario of an apprentice writer, where on several clips there were only descriptions of what was happening or how was the room where was the action. It doesn’t do anything ! Describe in detail a piece, a piece of furniture, an entry, a living room etc…is not the work of a writer…but that of a chief deco. The writer should give indications of minimum and relevant to understand where we are and what is the universe of the place.

Not to put too much descriptions as detailed will enable the reader to project themselves more easily into the universe without having to try to nest all the details of a scene, with all objects, that you have written. In addition it will also allow room for the teams deco.

Ditto for those who put technical elements. I recall thatone does not put technical element in a screenplay : dolly, zoom, or I don’t know what …Remove these items you will save space.

If I need to make it short I would say : You need to pass the maximum amount of information or emotions in the least amount of words possible. You write a screenplay and not a novel.

So don’t be afraid to make cuts ! I said from the writer’s apprentice : ” not divide 10, the number of lines ! “ Because the descriptions were very very long. Try already to divide by 2 to see what it gives.

The dialogues

You’re (we’re ?) many write of the bread and of the bread of dialogues to get all the information that you want. Often you do so not to trust to the audience that you share 30 times the same thing and that you explain absolutely everything !

The other error is that, from the dialogues you speak often of emotions or feelings that the viewer should feel, or understand by this that convey the characters and the situations that you have created. I’m not saying that the dialogue is not used to convey emotion, quite the contrary, but the dialogue should be used to enhance or support what brings them the situation.

Apply to the dialogues that you have applied to the sequences :


  • This dialogue is necessary ?
  • That brings to the story, the situation, to the characters ?
  • That brings it to the understanding ?
  • Does it enhance the beauty of what brings the situation
  • Is it too explanatory ?
  • Isn’t it too long ?

To end this article I must tell you now that this ” recipe ” has allowed me to achieve as the economy in the scenario that I talked about above…2 pages ! Yes I too have found this to be huge ! But by taking a step back and carefully analyzing every line of dialogue, every description, every situation, this is the result that I got.

That’s it for this article on to Write a script removing the superfluous and finally increase your chances of being read.

I will tell you next week. Leave me a comment under this article to tell me what you think or if you have any questions.

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Thank you to those who will make it ;o) and that are already doing that ;o).

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Tom Weil

Category: Uncategorized

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