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#1 Daniel J. Ashley-Smith

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Posted 13 January 2006 - 01:11 PM

How do you know when a script is of feature length? I've heard that it's somewhere around 30 pages, although there could be a lot of descriptive writing in there, so really you've only got 20 pages of solid script.

I just find it amazing how people can make these films and automatically tell the running length.

On Red Lion Square we shot loads of extra bits and pieces so we could chop it down or enlarge it later on it post, I suppose that's one way but when you're doing a feature length film it's a different story.

So on average (1 to 3 hour length) how many pages are the script?

Thanks for any advice,
Dan.

Edited by Daniel J. Ashley-Smith, 13 January 2006 - 01:12 PM.

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#2 Stephen Williams

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Posted 13 January 2006 - 01:32 PM

How do you know when a script is of feature length? I've heard that it's somewhere around 30 pages, although there could be a lot of descriptive writing in there, so really you've only got 20 pages of solid script.

I just find it amazing how people can make these films and automatically tell the running length.

On Red Lion Square we shot loads of extra bits and pieces so we could chop it down or enlarge it later on it post, I suppose that's one way but when you're doing a feature length film it's a different story.

So on average (1 to 3 hour length) how many pages are the script?

Thanks for any advice,
Dan.


Daniel,

100 pages would indicate 100 minutes.

Good luck with the script.

Stephen
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#3 Chance Shirley

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Posted 13 January 2006 - 01:37 PM

If a screenplay is written in the "proper" format, it'll time out to about a minute per page. My first feature, Hide and Creep, ended up running 85 minutes, and the shooting script was 82 pages, so the minute per page thing is pretty accurate. I've found it to be true on most of the short movies I've made, too.

Obviously, this assumes that most of the scenes written are actually filmed and stay in the final cut.

As for how to "properly" format a script, check out:

http://www.oscars.or...oll/format.html
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#4 Max Jacoby

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Posted 13 January 2006 - 01:50 PM

As a complete exception to the 'one page equals one minute' rule of thrumb, the shooting script to Gus Van Sant's 'Gerry' was a page a and half long and kind of went like this:

They walk
They walk
They walk
They walk
They walk
They walk
They get lost
They are lost
They find their way again
They walk
They walk
They walk

and so on...
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#5 Laurent Andrieux

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Posted 13 January 2006 - 04:23 PM

Since they may be parts that won't be shot or edited, I consider a 90' feature should be beetween 100 and 110 pages.

When you try to estimate the duration of a scene, assuming all that's written will be shot and edited, I also consider as a first step. 1 page = 1 mn.

Continuity boys/girls are used to determine more precisely the duration of a script, but the 1p=1mn is a good rule of thumb.
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#6 Alex Ellerman

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Posted 13 January 2006 - 04:28 PM

good advice here.... also, there are some genre differences... comedies are generally a bit shorter, dramas/period pieces longer... but if your script is less than 80 pgs. properly formatted, entertain the possiblity that the concept of the script and/or the characters have not been fully executed or developed.

best,
ae
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#7 Craig Knowles

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Posted 13 January 2006 - 04:30 PM

The trick is to write your script so that one page equals one minute of screen time. If it takes you one page to describe something that will take only 10 seconds to show on-screen, your will be well under the one-minute-per-page expectation.

For example, I could write such that two lines of script represent 10 minutes of screen time:

"JOE sits in a TRAIN STATION. He glances at his watch, clears his throat LOUDLY, and waits 10 actual minutes for the TRAIN to arrive."

SCREEN TIME: 10 minutes
PAGE LENGTH: 2 lines
Conversely, I could write write such that two lines of script represent 10 seconds of screen time:

"JOE sits in a TRAIN STATION. He glances at his watch, then at the LITTLE GIRL eyeing him suspiciously from behind the LARGE GREY SUITCASE."

SCREEN TIME: 10 seconds
PAGE LENGTH: 2 lines

The one-page-to-one-minute thing is not something magical. It's how you write it from the beginning.

Edited by Craig Knowles, 13 January 2006 - 04:38 PM.

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#8 Laurent Andrieux

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Posted 13 January 2006 - 04:37 PM

It defenetly is only an average...

But when you give the script to eventual producers, they consider that rule. A scene like the one you propose :

"JOE sits in a TRAIN STATION. He glances at his watch, clears his throat LOUDLY, and waits 10 actual minutes for the TRAIN to arrive."

If you tell your producer that you wish that scene to last 10 minutes and don't write much more about what is going to be on the screen, will probably ask you to rewrite or refuse to produce it... :D
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#9 Paul Bruening

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Posted 13 January 2006 - 06:23 PM

Action scripts can vary in page-to-final length. A dialogue driven script, written in standard script form, will come very close to a page per minute length. Hollywood worked this relationship out in the early sound days for budgeting and scheduling needs.

No matter what the script is someone has to "play" it in their head, holding a stop-watch, to get an idea of how long it will be. I do that on every script. I sit down and speak out the lines with roughly the timing the performers need. Simultaniously, I "play" the movie in my head to cover action, pictorily described and transitions parts. This delivers a pretty close fix on the run time of the script. It takes a lot of concentration and discipline to do this. But, it is a useful step in the overall analysis of the script.
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#10 Micah Fernandez

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Posted 14 January 2006 - 01:50 AM

Around a minute to a minute and a half per page is a pretty accurate average.
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