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Old September 6th, 2005, 10:19 PM   #1
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How many pages can I shoot in a day?

Hi all,

I'm attempting to shoot my first real short film in October. I'm wondering how many pages of the script I can get through in a typical day of shooting?

I've read that Hollywood productions get thru 2 pages/day and that a good goal for indies is 4-5 pages.

Most of my scenes are either one person talking on the phone or two people talking to each other. Settings are an apartment, a cubical and some externals.

Any input on this?
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Old September 6th, 2005, 10:35 PM   #2
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It is usually difficult to shoot more than one location a day, though, of course, I've done like three or four locations a day. But that was crap. Don't do it.
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Old September 7th, 2005, 01:19 AM   #3
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My record of crazy is 11 pages of script in 5+ locations for a rush job on a short film contest.
On a feature, the most I've done is 5 locations within the same area (a hospital) but we had the luxury of planning all the lighting/blocking the day before and we got through 5 pages of script. On the same feature, we shot about 10 pages of script in one day, but it was all between two characters, in the same location, without any lighting changes, and using the same 5 camera setups all day with two cameras.

These are of course 12-16 hour days.
Honestly, it depends on what is in your page of script. If you have an epic fight scene, it might take you a week to get through a page. Or as with my above example, you could get through ten pages (or more) a day.
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Old September 7th, 2005, 01:46 AM   #4
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5 pages is a good goal, on the average. If your scenes are as simple as you describe, Brian, you can probably do more, but you might want to consider getting additional coverage to keep things interesting which will obviously affect the pagecount.
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Old September 7th, 2005, 03:25 PM   #5
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I agree with the 2-5 pages/day wholeheartedly. On the other hand, we once shot 63 pages in a day! Look at:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=42737

If I had it to do over, more time and better prep would have made it work much better, but the finished product is OK.
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Old September 8th, 2005, 10:01 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Cavanaugh
I agree with the 2-5 pages/day wholeheartedly. On the other hand, we once shot 63 pages in a day! Look at:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=42737

If I had it to do over, more time and better prep would have made it work much better, but the finished product is OK.

OK, you win. :)
That was a good read, I'm not sure how I missed it before. I should get something like that together here.
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Old September 8th, 2005, 11:03 AM   #7
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Plan a lot, shoot as many locations in one area as possible, rehearse a lot and you can probably nail 6-9 pages a day.

My students do 1-2 locations and can nail 12 pages in 12 hours.

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Old September 8th, 2005, 02:24 PM   #8
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How complex?

Hell, the chariot race in Ben Hur was only 1/8 of a page and took five weeks to shoot!

(From IMDB)

The chariot race required 15,000 extras, on a set constructed on 18 acres of backlot at Cinecitta Studios outside Rome. Tour buses visited the set every hour. Eighteen chariots were built, with half being used for practice.

The chariot race has a 263-to-1 cutting ratio (263 feet of film for every one foot kept), probably the highest for any 65mm sequence ever filmed.

Also, while on the original Miami Vice, we would shoot 5+ pages per day but sometimes that required an incredible amount of camera setups. Our record was 67 in ONE DAY!

So, don't rely solely on page count.

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Old September 16th, 2005, 02:26 AM   #9
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It all depends.

If you are the organized sort and have scouted the location, made up breakdowns, storyboards and shot lists, and your actors are well-rehearsed, you can average 5 to 10 pages or more.

If you are a more typical, unorganized indie you could waste a 12-hour day on half a page of dialogue.

Good pre-planning is the key to a successful shoot.
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Old September 16th, 2005, 08:02 AM   #10
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I don't know if being unorganized is typical of an indie; rather, it's typical of a first-time filmmaker. I certainly fell into that category in college and on my first post-school movie. But I learned fast and within a couple of days, we went from 4 pages a day to 10. At one point, because we shot in one villa/house, we did 18 pages in one day. It also helped that there was a lot of dialogue scenes.

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Old September 16th, 2005, 08:03 AM   #11
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ps-it also helped that we shot the film dogme 95-style.

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Old September 16th, 2005, 11:00 AM   #12
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Oh, I wasn't saying all indies are disorganized... I'm an indie, too! It's just that I've seen the worst trainwrecks on indie shoots... usually on the first attempt at a feature-length project, true.
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Old September 16th, 2005, 11:04 AM   #13
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Even a first-time director on his or her first short film.

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Old September 29th, 2005, 08:09 AM   #14
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I've done the 10-12 pages a day thing and now I'm in the 5+/- pages camp.

I understand more about setups, coverage, and blocking. And now that I'm getting better at directing I want to be able to spend a tad more time working with the actors.
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Old September 29th, 2005, 10:09 AM   #15
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I wouldn't mind my boss allowing my students and I to shoot 2 full days and spend more time with lighting, actors, etc., but it's all about the budget!

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