It can hurt to say 'goodbye' to your characters...

There are times when I watch a movie it feels like it takes half the film to get to the end and say goodbye.  What was the writer thinking in drawing it out so long? it was painful to sit through.

 Oh, I am so with you on that statement.  I believe it is a result of just plain sloppy writing. One more draft might have taken care of that lingering death as the film crawled to its final frame.  The problem is you don’t want to bound towards the ending on a dramatic film, but you don’t want to crawl there either – let the ending have some dignity in closing.

This is where the chance to workshop a script with real actors and a director providing pace and emotional cues is so useful.  You get a chance to live that film ending months in advance of the audience ever experiencing it.  The dilemma is that there can be a synergy that happens in the ‘read through’ that never get translated into the film. The pacing lags, the actors lose their focus or the director loosens his grip on the creative element that compelled him in the read through. 

Filmmaking is long arduous work. The camaraderie makes it so meaningful, but someone has to hold the focus for the group. Once that focus is lost, it is very tough to regain in post-production via the editing suite.  And editor can only work with what they’re given. They can certainly nip and tuck here and there to shorten a film, but if the actors are moving in slow motion like they’re sleepwalking there isn’t much an editor can do, no matter how talented they are at the keyboard.

I hope that helps. And I wish you good luck with your screenplay.