Screenwriting : How many pages? by David Kurtz

David Kurtz

How many pages?

I've been writing feature length spec scripts with an eye to keeping them reasonably short (100-110 pages +/-) assuming professional readers have an attention span to consider and 120 pages seems to be a $ cut-off. Recently a reviewer suggested my 104 pages should be expanded to flesh out certain issues. I think I've been worrying about the exactly the wrong thing. Agree? Disagree?

G. Leo Maselli

If your name is Woody Allen you can come in with 300 pages and it will get read. I go for 100 max.

Shawn Speake

I'm a story builder and businessman who believes 90 pages is all I have to get right to sell in the American Market! I'm not making this thing one page harder than it has to be!

David Kurtz

Ron, good advice.

William Martell

My personal rule is to keep the script the same number of pages no matter how much the producer wants me to add. It just means I have to better focus what I have. (now that I've clicked on "more" on Ron's post: what he said)

David Kurtz

Happy Holidays everyone

Douglas Eugene Mayfield

Ditto Ron's comment and also perhaps heretical but I suggest that you not worry about length but you do cut ruthlessly. When I start writing each day, I always go back 5-10 pages to the earlier material and cut fiercely, even trimming single words if I can. Not necessarily using the same approach but I think that if you develop your own way of doing so and get in the habit of being a 'ruthless cutter', you will eventually find that the issue of length will not be an issue at all.

David Kurtz

New Year's Resolution #1: I will stop trimming to the point I've lost the feel I started with.

JC Young

First draft, get it out. Get out what you think should go in, then start cutting and loping off. Trim it down to 100-110. It's a LOT easier to cut than go back and try to 'flesh out' or 'pad' your script.

Doug Nelson

I write and produce a lot of shorts that usually fall in at 10 to 20 pages (try telling a whole story in 10 pages.) I’ve written FL scripts also. In the first draft, I don’t worry about page count/film length at all. What I think is my best FL script started at 194 pages but after the umpteenth rewrite – it’s tight and squeaks at exactly 100 pages and it’s a much better script for it. Page length is the wrong target to aim at. Story matters – not page length, but just be reasonable about it.

William Martell

The Nokia Short Film competition has a limit of 15 seconds.

Doug Nelson

I've produced a lot of ad spots in the 10 - 30 second range - the whole script is on one page.

Randy Brown

There's no reason not to have two drafts of the same script. You can flesh out parts and tighten others to keep the script within the 100-105 range. Fine. But different people will have different opinions. So, you have the base script, keep it true and adjust the script to match one review, and wait for further responses. It is always a good idea to keep an original copy since you will hear a lot of things that will pull it one way or another. If you have interest, rework it. If the interest fades, see if the comments were helpful and adjust.

Mary Winborn

Good to know facts.

Doug Nelson

Mary - when it comes to screenwriting; there ain't no such thing as facts.

David Kurtz

Randy, what a great and obvious idea of keeping more than 1 draft (possibly PG, PG13 etc etc) . I keep most of my previous iterations but didn't think of them as viable. Happy New Year!

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