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The Most Basic Questions and Answers For Screenplay Writer Wannabes (Pt 1)

January 15, 2013

How long is a screenplay?

90 – 120 pages

Why?

Properly formatted, one page equals one minute of screen time.

But, don’t pages differ, from one to another?

Yes, but it averages out, since most scripts contain a mix of dialogue and action.

So, one page equalling one minute is just an approximate guideline?

Yes, like most rules, they are guidelines, which can be deviated from, but are best utilized or ignored when learned first.

What should the word count be?

This is not novel writing, we’re talking about writing screenplays for the big screen cinema.

What if I want to go over 120 pages?

Have fun reading your script to yourself. Many people will disregard a script (especially from an unknown) if it doesn’t fall within the specified paramaters.

What exactly are the specified parameters?

Start with 12 Point Courier New Font, contine with “FADE IN:”, skip a line and write your first slugline – location and day or night – preceded by “INT.” or “EXT.” depending on whether it is an INTERIOR or EXTERIOR scene.

I’m confused already, what does this look like?

Something like this:

FADE IN:

INT. FASTIDIOUS OFFICE – NIGHT

Ah, I see, you just conveyed that the scene takes place in the interior of a fastidious office at night. But, what’s next?

Your scene.

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One Comment
  1. Most screenplays are about 20,000 to 22,000 words.

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