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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Discussion of...     General Chat  ›  Length of a Script. Moderators: bert
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Mr. Blonde
Posted: April 10th, 2019, 10:09am Report to Moderator
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What good are choices if they're all bad?

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So, this is just a question of personal preference and I'm sure will bring up other sub-topics (density of writing, amount of dialogue, etc), but I'm curious what everyone's take is on scripts, specifically, at what page count is a feature-length script considered unreasonably long in your eyes?


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Matthew Taylor
Posted: April 10th, 2019, 10:38am Report to Moderator
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Are you talking unreasonably long to post on this site and expect a read/comment/review?

or unreasonably long for production/resulting length of the movie?


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MarkItZero
Posted: April 10th, 2019, 10:52am Report to Moderator
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Any length that holds my interest is fine by me. I've never looked at a page number as I'm reading. If it's good, I devour it. If the script is unreasonably long because it has bloated and unnecessary scenes, then I will probably have bailed by page ten so total page count still isn't a factor.


That rug really tied the room together.
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Mr. Blonde
Posted: April 10th, 2019, 10:53am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Matthew Taylor
Are you talking unreasonably long to post on this site and expect a read/comment/review?

or unreasonably long for production/resulting length of the movie?


Meaning before you start reading the script, you see the page count and that somewhat, or fully, turns you off to the script.


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Angry Bear
Posted: April 10th, 2019, 10:59am Report to Moderator
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Reading The Hunt at the moment. I remember when Carson reviewed it last week, I think, he commented on how he gave it extra point just for being 90 pages...

I hesitate to read anything over 110 pages unless someone recommends the script.


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MarkItZero
Posted: April 10th, 2019, 11:08am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Mr. Blonde


Meaning before you start reading the script, you see the page count and that somewhat, or fully, turns you off to the script.


Oh, in that case it depends on if it's from a regular member. I have more faith in members cuz people on here are damn good writers. Not that there aren't good nonmembers who post scripts (Dwhyte Star!), but anything over 120 pages I'd suspect problems.

But if it's 400+ pages I guarantee I would open out of curiosity.


That rug really tied the room together.
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Matthew Taylor
Posted: April 10th, 2019, 11:10am Report to Moderator
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over 100 pages and I get a bit iffy. But if the logline catches my attention then I'll at least open it up.

over 120 and I move on to the next.

My reasoning is I am short on time - 120+ I'm not going to get through, even if I like it.

If a see a 90 pager with a well-written logline and a premise that interests me - I'll be bookmarking it for a read



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Matthew Taylor  -  April 10th, 2019, 11:31am
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Dreamscale
Posted: April 10th, 2019, 11:26am Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients


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Over 120 pages...but....as others have mentioned, it's really all about how it's written.

As I always say, MOST SCRIPTS are artificially long because of writing mistakes, lack of proper editing, lack of understanding.

Most movies should not be and aren't over 2 hours, and I do hold true to the old adage that 1 page equals 1 minute of film.


To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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Night_Writer
Posted: April 10th, 2019, 11:54am Report to Moderator
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For me, itís 120 pages, but I would never make a decision not to read without at least opening the script and taking a look at the first few pages, even if it exceeds the aforementioned limit.  (My own script is 115, though itís dialogue heavy, so were it produced, itíd likely be shorter in running time.) I guess my point is that page range can vary for different reasons, and I wouldnít want to judge too quickly.

óMike


Drama Feature Screenplay:††The Rising
https://www.simplyscripts.com/scripts/therising.pdf
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FrankM
Posted: April 10th, 2019, 1:11pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Dreamscale
Over 120 pages...but....as others have mentioned, it's really all about how it's written.

As I always say, MOST SCRIPTS are artificially long because of writing mistakes, lack of proper editing, lack of understanding.

Most movies should not be and aren't over 2 hours, and I do hold true to the old adage that 1 page equals 1 minute of film.


This is one of the reasons the page count isn't everything. You can easily add two or three pages with a bunch of little errors.

But you're not going to add twenty.

More likely, an early draft will have overly talky scenes or entire side-plots that don't add to the story. That's where some decent feedback can really help, and it doesn't require the reader to analyze every last page with a fine-toothed comb.


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James McClung
Posted: April 10th, 2019, 2:00pm Report to Moderator
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More than 100 pages is a cause for concern, and I'm definitely less inclined to read something in the three-digit range. Laziness on my part, perhaps, but I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels that way. I do think one can write a fine script up to 120, give or take, so long as it's compelling and purposeful. Beyond that, I'd start to have serious doubts about the quality of the script.


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ReneC
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You already have a good consensus of the short answer. If you can keep it under 120 pages, even better under 110, then you really should.

The long answer is the script should be as long as it needs to be. If you can tell your story in 85 pages, fantastic. If your story needs 130, then it needs 130. As you can already see, it better earn that higher page count though. Anything over 110 pages will make the reader wonder if it's worth their time. Even if they decide to chance it, they'll be looking for any excuse to bail. Seriously. There's just too much to read and not enough time.

Star Wars: A New Hope was 2 hours and 5 minutes long. In that time George Lucas established an entire galaxy. He introduced characters, story, politics, social issues, class issues, new technology, a new economy, religion, and a little thing called the Force. How are you spending your 120 pages? Are you sure you need that much time?

If the answer is still yes, and the writing is engaging and the story needs it, go ahead and write 150 pages. 180 pages. Just remember the page count also balloons the production cost, and the longer it is the more likely you're writing yourself out of marketability.

Jupiter Ascending was over 600 pages that got "whittled down" to 300 plus a bible for the actors. Just imagine the work that goes into a 600 page script. You better believe they felt they needed it all, too. And when it came down to production, we got a super condensed version of the epic instead of one good movie. Write what you want, however long it needs to be, but remember that ultimately it will always come down to production and money, so set your expectations accordingly.


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Dreamscale
Posted: April 10th, 2019, 4:21pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients


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Quoted from FrankM
This is one of the reasons the page count isn't everything. You can easily add two or three pages with a bunch of little errors.

But you're not going to add twenty.


Oh, you'd be surprised how many wasted pages peeps have in a feature script.  Shocking sometimes, and yes, I'm talking 20 extra pages easily, all due to "mistakes" - orphans, overwriting, transitions, wrylies, asides, etc.



To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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Dreamscale
Posted: April 10th, 2019, 4:22pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients


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Quoted from ReneC
You already have a good consensus of the short answer. If you can keep it under 120 pages, even better under 110, then you really should.

The long answer is the script should be as long as it needs to be. If you can tell your story in 85 pages, fantastic. If your story needs 130, then it needs 130. As you can already see, it better earn that higher page count though. Anything over 110 pages will make the reader wonder if it's worth their time. Even if they decide to chance it, they'll be looking for any excuse to bail. Seriously. There's just too much to read and not enough time.

Star Wars: A New Hope was 2 hours and 5 minutes long. In that time George Lucas established an entire galaxy. He introduced characters, story, politics, social issues, class issues, new technology, a new economy, religion, and a little thing called the Force. How are you spending your 120 pages? Are you sure you need that much time?

If the answer is still yes, and the writing is engaging and the story needs it, go ahead and write 150 pages. 180 pages. Just remember the page count also balloons the production cost, and the longer it is the more likely you're writing yourself out of marketability.

Jupiter Ascending was over 600 pages that got "whittled down" to 300 plus a bible for the actors. Just imagine the work that goes into a 600 page script. You better believe they felt they needed it all, too. And when it came down to production, we got a super condensed version of the epic instead of one good movie. Write what you want, however long it needs to be, but remember that ultimately it will always come down to production and money, so set your expectations accordingly.


I've never seen a Star Wars script, but my bet is that it was much longer than the film's run time suggests.

As to Jupiter Ascending...well...oh man, what a complete fucking mess that was.  The finished movie was basically unwatchable.  I tried...several times.  Never made it past the 1 hour mark.



To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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Demento
Posted: April 10th, 2019, 5:45pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Dreamscale


Oh, you'd be surprised how many wasted pages peeps have in a feature script.  Shocking sometimes, and yes, I'm talking 20 extra pages easily, all due to "mistakes" - orphans, overwriting, transitions, wrylies, asides, etc.



You really need to write that book.


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