Screenwriting: Understanding Script Length

A script length is an organized way to estimate the length of your film. A common rule in script writing in the film industry emphasizes that a properly formatted, page of a script equals one minute of film time. With this rule and several applied tips in the following steps, you will be able to understand the script length for your film.

Step 1 - Write Out All Your Ideas

The initial and ideal first step to approach your script is to write as much as possible for your story. Most writers have a tendency to only write down the ideas that could be a potential success for their script. Never leave out any ideas initially at this phase of the writing process. No idea is a bad idea in this step. This phase allows you to be as creative and flexible as you want to be. Once you have all your ideas written down in a coherent order, it is now time to organize your points for your script.

Step 2 - Organize Your Ideas into Section

Once you have figured out all of your ideas for your script, the next step is dividing your story into three sections. These three sections comprise of the beginning, middle, and end of your story. Each section usually follows the order of the structure of the step-up, the confrontation, and the resolution. With these three individual parts of your film, you are now able to organize your story evenly through each phase making sure each section has enough time to properly develop the plot point within each segment. With this step utilized, you have now created a rough treatment for your script. After your treatment is created you are now able to narrow down your story for the finalized script length towards you film.

Step 3 - Narrow Down Your Story

Once you have established your ideas and points in the proper order of the story, it is now time to narrow down your script to the main point and structure towards your film. In another case, you may also be in a predicament in which your script length is too long for your allotted film run time. In either case, it is now time to narrow down your treatment script to the bare essentials of the story, just enough to allow the viewers to follow the narrative structure and scenes smoothly throughout the film. Keep in mind to keep your story ideas as tight as possible making sure all the plot lines tie in with each scene properly in order to avoid plot holes. It is also extremely crucial to avoid making a long script that does not dynamically gain momentum throughout the film. If you create a script that drags the story, your audience will become bored with your film and disconnect with the film. Create a script that uses its time wisely, utilizing each phase to creatively and appropriately showcase your story. With these steps, you are now able to understand and write a proper script length.