View single post by Michael Morris
 Posted: Mon Dec 19th, 2011 02:05 pm
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Michael Morris


Joined: Thu Dec 15th, 2011
Posts: 36
JustGoWithIt wrote:
While we're on this subject...what would you guys consider to be the MAXIMUM length for a play?

Seriously, Hamlet, unabridged. That play goes on about 4 hours at modern pacing. Watch the Kenneth Braga version, which is the only filmed version that is unabridged.

Length by page count is not accurate. My current work is 97 pages, but approaching the 3 hour mark because it's a musical. There's one scene which is a page on the script but will go near 4 minutes because of the music on it. Also, the play is written in iambic pentameter so page count doesn't even accurately reflect word count.

The only way to be sure is to do a cold reading with a stopwatch. That will get you to within 15 minutes or so, depending on how long transitions take. If you have a play that doesn't have scene variety then a cold read will get you spot on.

In creative work in general it is better to write more than you'll need, then prune back. When you have to begin cutting honestly good dialog because the play doesn't have room for it by time then you've reach the catbird seat in the process. For example, by the second draft of the last 10 minute play I did took 30 minutes to read.

Carving down gives better results in my opinion. So muncy - finish out a draft and don't worry about the word count yet. Until the play feels done expand it. Worst case scenario you've written two plays and will need to break the work in half.