misc I almost made a feature?

sfoster

Staff Member
Moderator
A couple years ago I filmed a crime thriller that I never edited or released. (Depression is such a killer) it was a 34 page script but my terrible lack of planning and everyone’s schedule conflicts lead to a really slow production schedule and we chopped the script down to 15 pages to make things more attainable.

I’m doing better this past month and edited the footage... a 15 page script into a 30 minute film. Wow. By those calculations if I did 34 pages it would have been an hour and eight minutes??

I had no idea that I almost made a feature length film with a 34 page script. Or that 45 pages of my writing would be an hour and a half movie. Maybe I really can write a bunch of film scripts if 45 pages is all it takes for my style. I’m gonna have to break that down scene by scene and see what’s taking so much screen time. Or maybe make my writing a lot more verbose and turn every page of writing into two pages of writing.
 
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mlesemann

Staff Member
Moderator
I think the Irishman could have been 30 minutes shorter.
I think it could have been 45 minutes shorter :)

Re length - it indeed depends on your style of writing and filmmaking. While the standard is 1 page of properly formatted screenplay = 1 minute of movie, everyone's work is different.

I have always ended up trimming in post-production. DETOURS was a 92 page screenplay. First cut was 90 minutes. Final version is 82 minutes, and I'm happy with that.
 

sfoster

Staff Member
Moderator
i couldn’t even finish the Irishman.
Idk if it needed to be shorter or just less boring.

I’d feel more professional if my script writing was a page per minute.
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
Story, pacing, and substance. Yup if you had nailed those three you could have had a feature. Story, of course. The correct pacing, and not drawing it out to meet feature requirements. And substance. No filler scenes. Keep at it!
 
We have done several no budget feature films, and I fell into the habit of padding them with shots and scenes that were too long so that I would have a feature. They ran 75-90 minutes. A couple of years ago I decided to re-edit them the way that they should be edited, and I ended up with films that now run about 40-45 minutes, but the pacing is far better. I ended up cutting out about half.
 

directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
Maybe I really can write a bunch of film scripts if 45 pages is all it takes for my style. I’m gonna have to break that down scene by scene and see what’s taking so much screen time. Or maybe make my writing a lot more verbose and turn every page of writing into two pages of writing.
You shoot these yourself, right? Then it doesn't matter how many
pages the script is.

I know you know that the "one page = one minute" adage is nothing
more than a general guideline. Ten to fifteen pages of dialogue spoken
fast and be three minutes on screen. Five lines of an action sequence
can be five minutes on screen.

And then there's editing - as Ray mentions. Often a 120 page script
starts with a 140 min first cut and then ends up with a 95 min final cut.

It's very possible fro a 45 page script to end up being an 80/90 minute
movie.
 

sfoster

Staff Member
Moderator
You shoot these yourself, right? Then it doesn't matter how many
pages the script is.

I know you know that the "one page = one minute" adage is nothing
more than a general guideline. Ten to fifteen pages of dialogue spoken
fast and be three minutes on screen. Five lines of an action sequence
can be five minutes on screen.

And then there's editing - as Ray mentions. Often a 120 page script
starts with a 140 min first cut and then ends up with a 95 min final cut.

It's very possible fro a 45 page script to end up being an 80/90 minute
movie.
Maybe one day I’ll try to make a feature film but I’m going to focus solely on my writing next. I want to get a handful of screenplays written and then try to get an agent. Five year plan.
 
There must be a lot of acting involved as opposed to dialog. Usually one page of script equates to 1 minute of footage. But you have to get crackin' 'cause almost only works in Horse Shoes and grenades.
 

sfoster

Staff Member
Moderator
There must be a lot of acting involved as opposed to dialog. Usually one page of script equates to 1 minute of footage. But you have to get crackin' 'cause almost only works in Horse Shoes and grenades.
I’m going to do a breakdown and figure out exactly what and why. But I just moved this month and finally feel situated. Didn’t quite finish mastering the audio before the move and I need to get back into the workflow
 
One thing I did that helped me was to read production scrips from Hollywood films. And also compare that to the film itself as well as spec scripts written before they were produced and do the same.

The one minute rule, as far as I can tell, came out of the the studio production machine. I am not sure which country it originated in, but it might be safe to say it was the US during the peak of talkies. Would be interesting if anyone could dig up any kind of history on that. I haven't been able to - very quickly for this post.

At any rate, of course I don't think it was ever intended to be completely 100% accurate. However for obvious reasons, a good probable, general rule is needed. You have to know if you are writing a short of a feature. And for old serials where they had to fit into a set number of minutes, or even TV where you have to at least dial it in to the time limits of the show, you absolutely have to know what your page rate is, at least dialed in close enough to let editing and other factors do the rest.

For indie productions or even skeleton or one man crew, you still have to break down the script and do some scheduling before you shoot. And I am of the opinion that writing scripts is best when you can mimmic the basic structure and pacing as well as action spacing and so on that you see in Hollywood scripts. Then from there, take your liberties, but don't stray too far too often.

I am sure there are a few resources for reading.

Here is one:


Probably you guys have a whole list of them someplace on this site. I did not search. Sorry.

Richard
 
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