Script Length

INDUSTRY STANDARDS – SCRIPT LENGTH

As a producer and consultant, I’ve read more than my share of boring and/or terrible scripts. Consequently, one the first things I do when someone asks me to read a screenplay is to check the page count. I am essentially asking myself how many irretrievable hours of life it will take me to read.

Here are a few FAQ’s to help you understand industry standards regarding the length of a script.

Why do people care about page count?

One properly formatted page of screenplay equals one minute of screen time. This isn’t an absolute rule but is a common industry standard. Page count is used to estimate the length of the finished film. Films often cost hundreds of thousands of dollars per minute to produce, so every minute needs to count.

Is there a recommended page count for screenplays?

A feature script should be no longer than 120 pages. There are exceptions, and I’m sure you can think of some of them right now. However, if you want to get a longer script read by a producer of financier, you’d better have a very good reason for the length.

Agency assistants, whose job it is to read piles of scripts every weekend, traditionally glance at the page count before anything else. They leave the longer ones for last and often don’t have time to get to them. You never want to be at the bottom of that pile.

So is there an industry standard?

The sweet spot for a feature is approximately 90-100 pages for a comedy, slightly longer, around 110 pages, for a drama, 28-35 for half hour episodic and 50-62 pages for an hour long show.

“If it’s a comedy I’m looking for 100 or less. Dramas over 110 are okay, but less than 120. Anything over 120 better be an epic biopic.” Producer Guy Polin 

“Anything over 110 makes me sigh. Anything over 120 makes me roll my eyes.”  Script Consultant Scott Mullins 

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