Length of TV Scripts

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  • Length of TV Scripts

    Originally posted by Friday View Post
    LOL. I'm waiting for their "Murder Hornets" the movie.

    By the way, what's considered too long for a pilot page count wise?
    "First Impressions: The Length and Look of Your Pilot or Screenplay- by Lee Jessup
    Last edited by Done Deal Pro; 10-09-2020, 04:44 PM. Reason: Added tags
    "Go to the edge of the cliff and jump off. Build your wings on the way down.- - Ray Bradbury

  • #2
    Re: Effect of the Coronavirus

    Originally posted by TigerFang View Post
    I agree with nearly all of this. I'm at the point now where even two lines of action feels like too much. And the "vertical read- just makes things easier. Tons of exceptions, obviously, as she notes.

    I like that WriterDuet has a density check. I like to come in sub-33%.

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    • #3
      Re: Effect of the Coronavirus

      Density check, ha!

      I've posted this before. After I finish the first draft, I go into 20 or 30 percent preview mode just to get a general look at the 'density'. You hear about those big black blocks of action or dialogue. I definitely think there's a negative psychological element to it, from a reader's point of view.

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      • #4
        Re: Effect of the Coronavirus

        Originally posted by Friday View Post
        LOL. I'm waiting for their "Murder Hornets" the movie.

        By the way, what's considered too long for a pilot page count wise?
        Over 54 pages. That's what I saw from a showrunner on Twitter.
        "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

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        • #5
          Re: Effect of the Coronavirus

          Originally posted by Friday View Post
          LOL. I'm waiting for their "Murder Hornets" the movie.

          By the way, what's considered too long for a pilot page count wise?
          Rule of thumb is still anything over 60 pages.

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          • #6
            Re: Effect of the Coronavirus

            Originally posted by JS90 View Post
            Rule of thumb is still anything over 60 pages.

            Ah. Then, I guess I'm fine. I'm right at 60. Do you have to establish your hook by the end of act 2? Or can you wait till the end of act 3? I've seen different TV pilots go in different directions. Some take longer to set up--especially sci fi or conspiracies...others get to the hook a lot faster.

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            • #7
              Re: Effect of the Coronavirus

              Pilot -- drama or comedy? Three camera or single camera?

              Drama -- 60 pages

              Comedy -- 30 pages for sitcom

              Comedy 3 camera -- 60 pages for sitcom

              Just general.

              Since there is HBO and FX and streaming, there are longer and shorter lengths all the time.

              Best thing to always do is get a lot of pilot specs of show you are trying to emulate and copy what they do. Very helpful to see.

              When I write my comedy pilot single camera -- I use the Scrubs/30 Rocks look which is basically just how a feature looks on the page just with TEASER/ACT I/ACT 2/ TAG in there too.

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              • #8
                Re: Effect of the Coronavirus

                Originally posted by Friday View Post
                Ah. Then, I guess I'm fine. I'm right at 60. Do you have to establish your hook by the end of act 2? Or can you wait till the end of act 3? I've seen different TV pilots go in different directions. Some take longer to set up--especially sci fi or conspiracies...others get to the hook a lot faster.
                Not sure there's a hard rule for this. I'd say, taking pacing into consideration, just do what feels right for the story. If it really doesn't work, someone will let you know early on.

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                • #9
                  Re: Effect of the Coronavirus

                  Originally posted by JS90 View Post
                  Rule of thumb is still anything over 60 pages.
                  For me this (60) is the magic number spec-wise. Had a few go out over and a few slightly under in the past.

                  But beyond this every show is different. A one hour series I worked on last year was 42 pages for my ep to account for commercial breaks. Another I’ve just finished on (well I say finished on, my ep was halfway through filming when COVID shut production down. Thankfully due to start up again soon) was a much longer 75 pages, as there were no add breaks and the series being a medical one meant detailed surgical sections increased the page count.
                  Last edited by Mintclub; 06-07-2020, 03:22 AM.

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                  • #10
                    Length of TV Scripts

                    Originally posted by Mintclub View Post
                    For me this (60) is the magic number spec-wise. Had a few go out over and a few slightly under in the past.

                    But beyond this every show is different. A one hour series I worked on last year was 42 pages for my ep to account for commercial breaks. Another I’ve just finished on (well I say finished on, my ep was halfway through filming when COVID shut production down. Thankfully due to start up again soon) was a much longer 75 pages, as there were no add breaks and the series being a medical one meant detailed surgical sections increased the page count.
                    I’ve read that I need to keep my TV scripts under 60 pages for a 1-hour drama. This, I’m told, is for the director to have room to create shots for those “breaths” between scenes or acts, like a shot of a butterfly on a flower or something else relevant to the show. I put some of those “breaths” in a recent script with a setting of Texas—armadillos by the roadside and jackrabbits running through the desert. Cutting them would have saved me only one page, so I left ’em in for “flavor.”
                    Last edited by TigerFang; 06-22-2020, 03:36 AM.
                    "Go to the edge of the cliff and jump off. Build your wings on the way down.- - Ray Bradbury

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