Movie Script Guidelines

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When writing movie scripts, the first rule of thumb is that it shouldn't be any more than 120 pages. Discover where to place major plot points in a movie script with filmmaking tips from a director and filmmaker in this free video on making movies.

Part of the Video Series: Filmmaking Basics
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Video Transcript

Hi I'm Jared Drake and I'm going to talk to you about movie script guidelines. The first rule of thumb with a feature length script is it shouldn't be more then a hundred and twenty pages. And even a hundred and twenty pages, that's if you have an Oscar winning drama. Most production companies they want to see a story that's around a hundred to a hundred and five even if you can keep it under a hundred pages, ninety to ninety five that's really cool for them. The reason being is that it's cheaper to produce. Page thirty you should have your first plot point, that's the beat that sets up what the main characters overall objective in the film is going to be. Page fifteen is your inciting incident, that's kind of the hook. Page sixty you should have your midpoint. Page ninety you have your act two plot point the down turn, the ultimate low. And then page ninety onward you have your resolution, the film, the story gets resolved. Now one thing that's difficult in writing screenplays for people that just started writing scripts is that you can't describe what's going on. You have to show everything. You have to show not tell. That's kind of a clich? in the film industry you have to show not tell. And basically what that means is somehow this has to be represented on screen, what you are seeing has to be represented on screen so you can't say oh Jim all of a sudden Jim decided it was time to start a new business. Cause there's no way to show that unless there is some action going on or unless there is dialog saying, Jim saying hey I want to start a new company or unless you somehow see that Jim wants to start a new company. You can't just say it in a script. So you have to think of that when writing a screenplay, how is this going to be shown. How can I show this.

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