With my first feature, The Killer Robots and the Battle for the Cosmic Potato I got an idea for the story in a flash. I could hear the voices of the different characters and the jokes just seemed natural. I wrote the script in a couple of days and added in bits and pieces throughout production. The final script was 65 pages and to those familiar with screenwriting, that’s about 65 minutes of actual finished movie. After producing a couple of shorts and the one feature I can attest that somehow it really does work out to about a minute of movie per page.
Now normally movies are about 90 minutes long while a few might get away with 70 minutes. I decided I needed an 80 minute movie and so added a lizard-like floating head between the different chapters of the movie. He would recite various philosophical platitudes that really made no sense but somehow related to the story – but not really. He turned out to be a lot of fun though. Folks got a kick out of him popping up at various times through the narrative. Usually by the end he would be mercilessly booed, but that was part of the fun.
To further extend the movie to the 80 minute mark I constructed a rather long credit sequence at the beginning of the movie. There were lots of flybys of computer generated planets while the names of the amazing cast and crew flashed by on-screen – all in a rich yellow and blue color scheme. Personally I love it, although watching it with an audience at Spooky Empire in 2009, I couldn’t help but think it should have been a couple of minutes shorter.
Finally I kept my shots at a leisurely 5-6 seconds long. With dialogue extending some shots longer and some action bits coming in at around 3 seconds. I’m quite happy with the final product although when I watch it, I sometimes have an urge to trim the hell out of certain shots. But I guess that what happens when you take on a project like this. You’re never really done with it. You just have to walk away at some point and hope it flies.