View Full Version : A dumb question about shorts
07-16-2005, 08:44 AM
I never wrote a short before, but the story I've been working on is obviously not a feature-length script, but it is still something I need to finish.
I'm thinking the entire script will come in at about 50 pages. How do I break down the 3 acts in terms of page counts for something like that? Do I just divide by 3? The first 10 pages, the "contract" of the feature, do I get fewer pages to establish all of that?
Deus Ex Machine
07-16-2005, 09:15 AM
You could use the same ratio of 30%-50%-20% used in features. Shorts tend to have even shorter third acts then features do with a ratio of close to 30%-60%-10%.
07-16-2005, 09:16 AM
Most shorts are shorter than what you are writing. Festivals tend to prefer shorts that are under ten minutes, which is so short that they really don't follow a three act structure. They're usually more just a set-up with a twist ending.
I'm not sure of where you'd sell a short of the length you propose, but if you want to write it because you want to write it, and you want to use a three-act structure, divide it into quarters. The first quarter is your first act, the next two quarters are the second act, and the last quarter is the third act.
07-17-2005, 06:09 PM
A fine restaurat will not serve you unless you are wearing full legth trousers - shorts won't do.
As Joan sez - shorts are usually short. Around 10 minutes. Most are set ups and punch lines (even if they aren't funny - think TWILIGHT ZONE episodes).
Watch a whole stack of shorts somewhere like Trigger Street to get an idea. You might also check out he Nokia 15 *second* shorts on line.
07-18-2005, 10:05 AM
I know this is something I can't sell. I just have to write it. I think it may become a feature-length, but I have to get this one on paper before it makes me crazy.
There's no second act. I thought 3rd acts were supposed to be the problem, or at least the second part of the 2nd act.
So I'm writing what I have, and what I have, I love, but it doesn't conform to any structure. I guess this is just something I have to spend time on and complete for the sake of completing it.
If only I had an act 2.
07-18-2005, 10:58 AM
If you have no second act, you probably don't have a character struggling to achieve a specific external goal, and overcoming obstacles along the way. That's what hour tv shows and feature screenplays are all about.
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