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Old November 6th, 2004, 06:35 AM   #1
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Please help me in writing my script

I am currently writing a script for a television serial, 30 episodes in length with 40-45 minutes each episode. Now I don't know how many pages would fit each episode, would I need 50 or 60 or even more or less??

I know that certain scenes described can last longer than others, but roughly how many pages would you give an episode running for 45 minutes??

Cheers...
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Old November 6th, 2004, 06:12 PM   #2
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I can't say. Theory is that one page equals one minute. But that's just theory, it really depends on the scenes. My first short was 2.5 pages, and 5 minutes long, and my second was 13 pages, and the film was 28 minutes long...
Now, that's maybe coincidence because they still teach me one page equals one minute :-p.

Good luck with the writing!
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Old November 6th, 2004, 10:26 PM   #3
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The rule of thumb of one page = one minute is based on an industry standard script format, which will have wide margins (for notes) and lots of double spaces between the action, dialogue, camera directions, etc. If you have been simply typing out single spaced sheets, then you are naturally going to need fewer pages to get to a specific time.

The longer the script, the more accurate the rule is likely to be. If you a making a five minute short, then it could be four pages or it could be seven.

The more you describe camera action, the less time page will take up. The more dialogue and /or action, the more time the page will take.
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Old November 7th, 2004, 08:11 AM   #4
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Just to note that TV shows seem to have more acts (at least that
is what some of my Star Trek writing books seem to tell me), for
example, Star Trek Deep Space 9 had the following structure:

- Teaser
(show intro)
- Act 1
- Act 2
- Act 3
- Act 4
- Act 5

Mainly due to commercial breaks, ofcourse. Not sure about time,
but I believe a normal TV show is just under 45 minutes to allow
for 15 minutes of commercials to get to a full hour?

If you have a screenwriting program like Final Draft, it comes
with some TV scripts as samples.
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Old November 8th, 2004, 06:01 AM   #5
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Thanks a lot guys for all of your advice, it really helped :-)
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Old November 8th, 2004, 11:32 AM   #6
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The standard tends to be about 30 pages in a teaser and 3 acts for a 1/2 hour show and 60 pages in a teaser and 4 acts for an hour show, even though the shows themselves run less than that. Some shows are shorter and some are longer, it usually depends on the format of the show and how fast people generally talk. For instance, I wrote a West Wing script for AFF this year, and before I started I read a lot of West Wing scripts to get in the vibe. Those tended to run 60 to 75 pages because the show is known for having a lot of dialogue spoken very, very quickly. On the other hand, if you're going to have a show that is mostly visuals with little dialogue, your script is going to come in short.

My first short was 20 pages, but only 13 min. long. My third short was 10 pages, but only 7 min. long. My West Wing script was supposed to be 60 min. long but was 75 pages.
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Old November 8th, 2004, 11:52 AM   #7
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I love The West Wing. The production values are amazing in this age of Reality Crapola. BTW, what is AFF?
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Old November 8th, 2004, 04:14 PM   #8
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AFF is the Austin Film Festival. It's the premier screenwriting festival in the US, one of the only ones that puts the emphasis on the writing above everything else.

On top of the regular film festival, they also have a screenplay festival and for the past five years, a teleplay festival split in two categories-30 min. sitcom and 60 min. drama.

They get about 500 entrants into each category. They narrow that down to 50. They take 10 of those 50 into the semi-finals, and 5 of those 10 into the finals.

Because of esteem of the festival, a lot of producers and agents are there and they tend sign the winners up pretty quick (I believe the first teleplay winner from 5 years ago is writing for South Park now).

My West Wing script made it to the second round, but no further (but I still feel good about it). They gave me a 'Second Rounder' badge and I got a couple of discussions with agents from small firms (I tried to talk to the ICM people, but they wanted nothing to do with me) and a producer at NBC and Carsey-Werner. Still waiting to see if anything comes from it.
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