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Average length of film short script?


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#1 David Silverstein

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Posted 29 November 2005 - 10:31 PM

Mine right now is 7 pages I was wondering what do you think is a good size script for say a 15-20 min film. 15-20 pages? or is that to many.

Thanks
Dave.

Also I know that a feature is usally like 50 so maybe its more then I thought.

Edit: I want to know when to start closing my story.

Edited by David Silverstein, 29 November 2005 - 10:36 PM.

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#2 Mike Donis

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Posted 29 November 2005 - 10:51 PM

People generally average a minute per page, when ballparking. Obviously, depending on the movie, it can vary.
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#3 santo

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Posted 29 November 2005 - 10:52 PM

You have 15 minutes, and then the cane comes out from behind the curtain and they pull your film off the stage.

Cannes has a short time limit of 15 minutes last I checked. Aim like you're making it for Cannes, end up the star of some little indie short film fest ... that ain't so bad.

Most all career kickstarting shorts I ever saw were under 15 minutes. Under 15 minutes is the time limit that's most marketable for short films sales -- there actually is such a thing. If it ends up a tight, entertaining 10 minutes or less -- BONUS!

1 minute = 1 page.

Features average, in spec form these days, 85 - 100 pages. Provided they're written in correct format.

If you haven't already, go down to a big book store and find a book or two on this subject. There's actually a several just focusing on shorts I've seen.
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#4 David Silverstein

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Posted 29 November 2005 - 11:04 PM

My script is in full format. Im using a program called sophocles youve probably heard of it but yeah I leanred how to use it so I get the full format its a very useful program. It doesnt make you rewrite out characters names and stuff.

Peace.
David S.
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#5 Chris Keth

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Posted 30 November 2005 - 12:24 AM

My script is in full format. Im using a program called sophocles youve probably heard of it but yeah I leanred how to use it so I get the full format its a very useful program. It doesnt make you rewrite out characters names and stuff.

Peace.
David S.



The shorts I'm shooting (2 different films with 2 different directors) this quarter are, I believe, 16 and 19 pages. The directors are expecting approximately 12-15 minutes and around 13 minutes of screen time, respectively.

Estimating screen time by script length is usually about 1 minute per page, for an average script. If the script is very dialogue-heavy, the screen time will generally be less than that estimate. Similarly, if the script is very stage-direction heavy, the estimate might be way less than actual screen time.

I've heard the example of an eighth-page line "And ten-thousand indians charged over the hill" used as something that, in most films anyway, most certainly wouldn't take only 7 seconds to show.
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#6 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 30 November 2005 - 06:01 AM

Mine right now is 7 pages I was wondering what do you think is a good size script for say a 15-20 min film. 15-20 pages? or is that to many.

Thanks
Dave.

Also I know that a feature is usally like 50 so maybe its more then I thought.

Edit: I want to know when to start closing my story.


You stand a better chance of getting into film festivals with a shorter running time. Some award winning shorts have been long (25 mins) but usually it's better if you can keep them under 15 mins. you've also got a better chance of getting some sales as fillers to TV stations.
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#7 Joshua Provost

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Posted 30 November 2005 - 11:12 AM

David,

There are some film festivals that split shorts and features at 45 minutes. Others, like Cannes, as has been mentioned define shorts as under 15 minutes and features as over 60 minutes, with no category in between. Best to shoot for around 10 minutes (10 pages generally), since you're just getting started. Actually, it might be to make a number of much shorter films, just a few minutes each, it might be more managable and better variety of practical experiece. My friends and I have made about twelve short films in a year's time, more under 3 minutes, with a few at 5 to 7 minutes.

Josh
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#8 Matt Irwin

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Posted 30 November 2005 - 10:30 PM

David,

There are some film festivals that split shorts and features at 45 minutes. Others, like Cannes, as has been mentioned define shorts as under 15 minutes and features as over 60 minutes, with no category in between. Best to shoot for around 10 minutes (10 pages generally), since you're just getting started. Actually, it might be to make a number of much shorter films, just a few minutes each, it might be more managable and better variety of practical experiece. My friends and I have made about twelve short films in a year's time, more under 3 minutes, with a few at 5 to 7 minutes.

Josh


I'd have to agree with Josh here. If you end up sending your film to a festival, you might have a better chance getting it shown if it's 10 minutes or less. It's easier to put a 10 minute film into one of those "shorts programs" that may have ten films lumped into a 2 hour slot.

If you are just starting out, maybe aim for a shorter running time than 10 min. Just be as tight as you can while still telling the story you want to tell. A lot of beginning student shorts I've seen could have been much better with a few minutes cut out.

Edited by Matt Irwin, 30 November 2005 - 10:31 PM.

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#9 Ron_mc_Don

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Posted 19 December 2005 - 03:53 PM

David,

There are some film festivals that split shorts and features at 45 minutes. Others, like Cannes, as has been mentioned define shorts as under 15 minutes and features as over 60 minutes, with no category in between. Best to shoot for around 10 minutes (10 pages generally), since you're just getting started. Actually, it might be to make a number of much shorter films, just a few minutes each, it might be more managable and better variety of practical experiece. My friends and I have made about twelve short films in a year's time, more under 3 minutes, with a few at 5 to 7 minutes.

Josh


What were your films about?

Tony.
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