How Long Is The Average Screenplay?
Category: Scripts and Tips
Created 4 years, 3 months ago
Views: 48
Replies: 9

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United Kingdom
Alright, ladies and gentleman, I realise that scripts can vary in length, but I'd like to get some feedback based on your personal experience with screenwriting. I just posted the screenplay for a feature film I wrote, "Ceux Qui S'Aiment," and I realised it is only 31 pages long. Should I be concerned that this is not enough to work with in order to produce a full-length feature film ? I'm sure I could go on about quality over quantity, but I'm going to leave it to you fine folks to offer your opinions on the subject.

For me, plays end when they end. They can be one-acts, they can be seven or nine acts long. However, a screenplay is slightly different.

For "Ceux Qui S'Aiment," there are a few scenes with little to no dialogue because there are flashbacks, or dramatic moments which do not require much speech.

What say you ?

Cheers !

Katharyn R. King

West Farms Mall, CT
First off... Welcome, Katharyn!!! I just read your bio and am blown away by how much (including such wide range of diversity) you've managed to pack into your first 20 years!... and with already such an impressive list of plaudits and aclaim no less!!!

What's terrific is that you are a writer first... and then a screenwriter. (So often, with all the flood of commercial hawkers out there in the marketplace right now who are offering guaranteed screenplay cookie-cutter recipes and 'secrets' and short-cut templates - many innocent folks who dig movies but who have no real passion for writing-in-general as a form of self-expression and communication have been duped into the false sense that somehow screenwriting is in a separate category of its own that merely requires following the technical how-to's as a non-stop magic carpet to Hollywood. I predict that you will go far in your chosen profession, no matter which aspect of theater arts you wind up in.

To answer your question about average screenplay length - "Ceux Qui S'Aiment" in terms of its current length of 31 pages would technically still be considered a short (a film that is anywhere from around one to forty minutes).

So if you're structuring it as a feature length film, you're probably gonna have to beef it up to at least to the equivalent of 90 minutes (or around 90 pages).

It's pretty much determined by the pragmatics of theater scheduling. Typically around 90 to 120 minutes is allocated by theaters for a feature length film. (The rule of thumb is that one script page equals approximately one minute of screen time. (This will vary somewhat, of course, depending on action sequences, etc. that may eat up more than a minute per written page.)

Also, based on studio rep feedback that some of my local screenwriting group colleagues have received - for an unknown writer's spec script it's better to submit a feature film that's way under 120 pages (more like around 90-100 pages)... and generally nothing over 90 pages for a comedy.

Where did you post 'Ceux Qui S'Aiment?' I'd love to read it, but I can't find it posted here on Scripped.

Long Beach, CA
As Britt J. stated, a feature runs about 90 pages. You could even go as high as 120 pages, but Hollywood kind of sees that as either old school or "uneducated" unless you're an established pro. To be honest, you might have a better chance at getting the movie made as a short. New filmmakers are looking for material that they can produce/direct on a shoestring budget - just something to get their name out there and on the festival circuit. And it would be a produced credit for you no matter how you look at it.

United Kingdom
Thank you both so very much for providing such expedient feedback ! I seemed to have the right idea then, so I will go ahead and work on including more in the script, or "beefing it up" as you suggest, Britt.

"Ceux Qui S'Aiment" is posted here on Scripped, I promise ! When I log in, I see it right there. Try looking again, because I'm sure it's available to be read. That is a very good point, one page = one minute of screen time.

Thanks again, I'll see what I can do !

As for being a writer first, yes, I absolutely agree with you on that. I have written hundreds of stories and poems, even plays and monologues ! Lately, however, I have had this urge to translate some of those stories and ideas to the screen, so I thought I'd see if I could come up with anything worthwhile. I seem to have a knack for adaptation, but I also have some original stories. It seems I have been putting treatments together without knowing that that is what they are ! XD I have just been titling them as scene outlines.

I am not sure whether "Ceux Qui S'Aiment" is something that I'd want Hollywood to tap into, but perhaps the BBC or a European filmmaker might bring that noirish, ethereal quality to the piece. We'll see.

I look forward to future collaboration with you !

Cheers,
Katharyn R. King

West Farms Mall, CT
Hi Katharyn,
Still can't find it. (By default, your script remains private (and not readable by anyone else) unless you specifically modify your settings to indicate that you want to post it publically for others Scripped members' ratings and comments. (That way, when they hit the "Scripts" icon at the top of this page, they'll see your script listed there.)

United Kingdom
*facepalm*

Silly me, I forget to change that setting ! Ok, fixed. For the present, I don't want anyone to arbitrarily modify it; however, if there is anything you'd like to add or change, feel free to message me your suggestions and if it sounds good, I'm happy to open it up so the modifications can be made to the script.

West Farms Mall, CT
I found it and look forward to reading it today!

United Kingdom
Thank you, Britt ! You have been extremely helpful !! I'm a little overwhelmed by all of the formatting notes, but I'm sure that practice will turn into perfection. It's a good thing I have plenty of screenplay ideas swirling around in my head from which to pool for such an endeavour. Haha !

Pottstown, PA
Well, I agree with Britt 100% and can't really add anymore except.. (now I did not read your script yet) Do not 'beef it up' just to extend it. Really make it a movie length movie... content wise, not just length wise. Also, If it can not be done, maybe it is better as a short. Just an idea. And one more thing, with all the writing ideas you have.. you would probably be great at pitch meetings. It all starts with an idea!

Okay as usual.. my two cents!

FADE OUT:

United Kingdom
Thanks, CinemaDan ! Yes, bring on the pitch meetings !!


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