Keep it Brief: Everything is too long (A short rant)

Keep it brief, please.

This will be short.

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Essentially “entertainment” is far too long.

As Wilde put it “all art is quite useless”. If something is useless, how come there is so much money poured into film music and books? How do we measure the bang for your buck factor?

It seems like the people at the top looked at each other and came up with the equation:

Longerer=More Betterer (L=MB)

Keep it brief

Film

Films have become bloated.

I went to see the first Pirates of the Caribbean film in El Captain Theatre in Los Angeles. It was a fun night, but my God was I looking at my watch before the credits rolled. 2 hours 20 minutes of Johnny Depp cavorting on some rickety boat? By the time the sequel came out, I was ready to walk the plank.

Even comedies have become bloated messes. Maybe Chris Hemsworth’s mugging kept the teamsters in stitches but dear me a 2-hour Ghostbuster film is too much. And I am one of the worlds biggest Ghostbuster’s fan.

Speaking of Ghostbusters, it felt like film found the right length in the ’80s. Evil Dead 1+2, Ghostbusters, Robocop, Gremlins, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, to name a few. All classics, all well below two hours. Even my own film, Deadville comes in at 80 minutes, is it a classic, no. But at least it’s short.

You can’t make a bad film good, but you can make it short.

Music

Songs are also far too long. Being on road trips this summer, my girlfriend and I felt anything over 4 minutes feels indulgent. The ideal length of a song is anywhere from 2 minutes to 4 minutes. The song My Humps is over 5 minutes long. A song wherein a woman sings about her tits and arse does not need to go on for more than 3 minutes.

Albums as well, everything has to be over an hour. Artists then have to come up what are clearly skippable filler. So what is the point? Again, record execs remember the equation L=MB. Keep it under 45 minutes, please. My own album, And Now For Something Completly Deficient clocks in under 35 minutes. I’m biased, but that is the right length. Look at Kanye’s last two albums, he agrees.

That’s not even including the special edition, the deluxe edition, the deluxe diamond special edition. Lana Del Rey could have released the 8 bonus tracks from her Born To Die: Paradise edition as a second album.

Keep it brief.

Books

Books feel like they need to justify their existence by being super long. Some of my favourite books are super short.

Look at the works of H.G. Wells. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde can be read in under an hour. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad is an afternoon well spent. We by Yevgeny Zamyatin (the hipsters 1984) is under 60k words, will take you 3 hours to read. My favourite author, George V. Higgins, would repeatedly write books under 200 pages (check out my favourite, Coogan’s Trade).

Books feel like they have become longer but less happens. It feels like books take 500 pages just to tell you the hero buckled their shoe. The 39 Steps only takes 90 pages to uncover and foil a grand conspiracy.

Although if presented in a particular style, it can flow easy.

Non-fiction has this licked. Look at Tools for Titans. 800 pages but presented in such a way you don’t realise you’ve read the whole thing. Scott Adams is another who nails the presentation of his books. You pick up How To Fail At Almost Everything telling yourself you will only read the first chapter. That’s never the case. The book only leaves your hand once you have consumed every sentence.

I’m considering buying The Shadow, the selling point? Short chapters.

Do you get what I mean?

Conclusion

Keep it brief.

That’s all I ask.

Longerer does not equal more betterer. Things should only be as long as they need to be.

I’ll do my part by ending it here.

****

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Here’s a link to another blog on how to structure your story.

Thank you and have a great day,

Kieran


Keep it brief

 

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