How many scenes per Act?

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  • pstudios
    replied
    Re: How many scenes per Act?

    Average is 60. Next time U rent DVD, look at scene list(this is only a partial list of main scenes, usually 20-30). There's lost of quick scenes to show a point and then there's more average scenes 1-3 pgs.

    Go with the flow and your own style and let it work itself out.

    Jennifer

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  • HD writer
    replied
    Re: How many scenes per Act?

    First of all, I think you are referring to sequences instead of scenes. To have only 7 scenes in a screenplay sounds very …â€unusualâ€. Every time that the time or the location changes â€" it is a new scene
    I agree with the Zarakow that each act should consist of several sequences but I disagree with his/her definition of a scene change.

    A scene changes whenever there is a turning point. It is independent of time and location changes.

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  • wcmartell
    replied
    Re: How many scenes per Act?

    Use the 60 scenes per script as a guideline - if you have 50 scenes, not a problem....

    If you have *seven* scenes - a problem.

    Best thing to do is watch 5 films and write down every scene. That gives you an idea of film pacing and how scenes work.

    Oh, and read scripts - a big stack of them.

    - Bill

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  • vig
    replied
    Re: How many scenes per Act?

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  • nickj
    replied
    Re: How many scenes per Act?

    Two minutes is an average. If you've got nothing but two minute scenes, that could be a problem, too, I think.

    For some reason I write a lot of one-page scenes. That seems about right to me. You have a few that run longer, up to 3-4 minutes for key scenes where you learn a lot. And a few short ones where you learn something quickly. I probably end up with 60-70 scenes, but my page count is usually closer to 100. So maybe a page and a half, average.

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  • ComicBent
    replied
    Re: How many scenes per Act?

    A great 2 hour movie is 60 great 2 minute scenes.
    I think that is a good approach.

    Then things will find their own natural course.

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  • dclary
    replied
    Re: How many scenes per Act?

    I always start with this:


    A great 2 hour movie is 60 great 2 minute scenes.



    And then I write a sh*tty 97 minute script with 25 scenes.

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  • CurtisCandy
    replied
    Re: How many scenes per Act?

    I'm with Hairy. - If you start cutting a scene short before saying everything that needs to be said, or extending a scene after all is said and done - just to meet some artificial, numerical goal - you're probably going to screw up your script.

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  • Hairy Lime
    replied
    Re: How many scenes per Act?

    Q: "How many scenes per Act?"

    A: "As many as it takes."

    Don't get bogged down in this kind of planning, just write the story organically. Outlining or making a beat sheet is fine, but just let the scenes happen as they happen, as many scenes as it takes to tell your story. Make sure every scene is necessary and then you'll have your total number.

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  • Cyfress
    replied
    Re: How many scenes per Act?

    Think about it. The avg screenplay is 120 pages. The avg scene lasts for 2-3 pages. so, that's 40-60 scenes. And a 'scene', s far as a story is concerned, ends whe he vibe of the story has changed from negative to positive or positive to negative.

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  • altoption
    replied
    Re: How many scenes per Act?

    Watch a film and jot down the scenes as you go. It's a great exercise. When I outline, I shoot for about 60 major scenes. That's not the same as sluglines. It's not uncommon to see a couple of hundred sluglines in a script.

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  • Zarakow
    replied
    Re: How many scenes per Act?

    Yes, I consider it to be that way. Of course, you could "build up" for a turning point to make it stronger and that could be done in several scenes, but I think that you should end most scenes at the climax and not "hang around" longer than necessary.

    /H

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  • ravravrav
    replied
    Re: How many scenes per Act?

    I start from an overview, like you, and then plan out the main beats along the lines of the 3-act structure.

    What I mean is how 'long' should each beat last? For example, I think the climax is mostly dealt with in one scene - is that true for the other things like the inciting incident and other turning points?

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  • Zarakow
    replied
    Re: How many scenes per Act?

    First of all, I think you are referring to sequences instead of scenes. To have only 7 scenes in a screenplay sounds very …â€unusualâ€. Every time that the time or the location changes â€" it is a new scene.



    How long have you come in the development? I use the structure mainly to strengthen (the execution of) the story and not to develop my story with it.



    It must be very hard to state a certain number of scenes and then develop the story around that. Start with a treatment first and then write an outline. It is easier to determine the scenes if you have some kind of overview.

    /H

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  • ravravrav
    started a topic How many scenes per Act?

    How many scenes per Act?

    I was working with the 3-Act structure to develop my stories and that lead me to think that there are going to be 4 big scenes in the first 2 acts and then 3 in the final act. I know this isn't exactly right - maybe I should double the figures.

    My question is - does each beat in the 3-Act structure correspond to one scene or can it be drawn over a number of scenes? Is it better to choose one method over the other?
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