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What is Script Timing


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#1 Stephen Whitehead

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Posted 24 July 2006 - 03:27 PM

Hey, I was just looking over a budget the other day and I came across the expense for script timing. I am just wondering what exactly that is. My best guess would be that it is the process of going over the script and determining how long it will take to shoot each scene. If that is the case what the the process one goes through to do this?

Thanks,

SCW
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#2 Richard Boddington

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Posted 24 July 2006 - 03:34 PM

Good thinking Stephen, please find this out before we start shooting my feature :)

R,

PS: I met friends of yours yesterday, the Lamberts.
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#3 Michael Most

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Posted 24 July 2006 - 04:34 PM

Hey, I was just looking over a budget the other day and I came across the expense for script timing. I am just wondering what exactly that is. My best guess would be that it is the process of going over the script and determining how long it will take to shoot each scene. If that is the case what the the process one goes through to do this?


No, that's incorrect. Script timing is determining how long each scene will run in terms of screen time, and ultimately how long the entire script will run - i.e., how long the show is. It is done by the script supervisor during preproduction, and usually updated as production proceeds.

Not every page is one minute, you know...
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#4 Richard Boddington

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Posted 24 July 2006 - 04:36 PM

Yes that's what it is.

It's like you're on page 75 of your feature film and discover you only have 23 minutes of screen time. That's when you realize your script timing has a problem :)

R,
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#5 Jon-Hebert Barto

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Posted 24 July 2006 - 11:22 PM

Ya, someone would have the "fuzzy math" flu... :P hehehe


BTW, is the minute-a-page rule of thumb still a rule of thumb in the industry? I know the guesstimation game isn't business savvy nor smart, but in smaller productions?

Edited by BARCA, 24 July 2006 - 11:25 PM.

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#6 Rik Andino

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Posted 25 July 2006 - 02:12 AM

BTW, is the minute-a-page rule of thumb still a rule of thumb in the industry?
I know the guesstimation game isn't business savvy nor smart, but in smaller productions?


I think it's only a minute for a page of dialogue...
But I'm not so sure...
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#7 Stephen Williams

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Posted 25 July 2006 - 02:26 AM

Yes that's what it is.

It's like you're on page 75 of your feature film and discover you only have 23 minutes of screen time. That's when you realize your script timing has a problem :)

R,


Richard,

Think of the stock you will save!

Stephen
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#8 Richard Boddington

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Posted 25 July 2006 - 11:40 AM

That's true Stephen. But how would I explain to the distributor that the feature is only 33 minutes :)

R,
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#9 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 26 July 2006 - 03:06 AM

Along those lines, how do most of you estimate the screen time of action sequences? I'm working on a script that's very action oriented with minimal dialog. Most of the scripts I've done up ot this point have had moderate to heavy in dialog content and inspired by the spaggetti westerns I wanted to try something a little different but I'm venturing into uncrarted territory and I want to make sure I have enough material but not too much. I don't want too shoot or write too much so that the film costs are much higher than nessesary and the footage will end up having to be cut anyway to get to that 1&1/2 to 2 hour time limit most people agree is right length for getting a theatrical release. It's kind of a twist on that old "And the Indians take the town" director's joke. Instead of "How do we do it?" it's ""How do we do it and How long do we make it?" Any suggestions? B)
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#10 Max Jacoby

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Posted 26 July 2006 - 06:10 AM

I've done some pretiming of scripts and I've noticed that first of all the director's style is a big influence. It's important to know what kind of film is being made. To give you an extreme example, the script for 'Gerry' was a page and a half.

Secondly there is quite a sizeable difference between how long a scene is when you shoot it and how long it is in the finished film. I pretimed a feature last summer to 90 minutes and that is exactely how long it turned out to be. But while we were shooting it, timing the scenes as they played out would have made it over 2 hours. Obviously in the edit things get tightened up, scenes get dropped (and most of the director's nice dolly shots to open a scene disappeared). But the point here is that if you have a 15:1 shooting ratio that is based on the pretiming and the scenes turn out to be longer that pretimed (as always happened) then your shooting ratio will effectively end up being lower as well.

Action scenes, once again depending on the style, take a much higher shooting ratio, if you cover it from multiple angles, different speeds (slow-mo). I once did an action scenes where the script supervisor said at the end of the day that we had a ratio of 97:1.
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#11 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 27 July 2006 - 01:00 AM

97:1!!!!! Good GOD! :( I'm hoping to keep my shooting ratio much lower than 15:1, as our budget is well let's just say a bit tight, by storyboarding everything and ridgedly sticking to the boards. I also plan to do as much in camera editing as possible and rehearsing the hell out of it on video to cement my angles prior to rolling. I know the people I'm going to work with very well so I'll do my best to showcase their strengths and hide thier weeknesses. I know it woun't be easy but I don't have the luxury of wasting a cent so we really have to be close in our estimates of screen times. I have to follow your director's example and lose things that would be nice to try but cost too much to gamble on. B)
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