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(I'm making a short film with a friend, and we want to make this as close as possible to a blockbuster film without blowing our budget. We have spent about $5000 on a camera, lenses and two microphones. So we have made an outline of the movie and I've started making the script. I'm using Final Draft 8.)

I've written the first page which describes what happens when the actors and our names appear in the beginning of the movie and the start of the first scene. I figured that all this lasts exactly 1 minute, and the page is only 3/4 full. Should I expand the page, should I start on a new page or should I just continue and end up with a page describing 1.5 minutes?

(Do you know about a good website where you can learn all you need about this stuff? All the websites seems to have their own interpretation about how you should write a script. Some make them for Word, WordPad and so on.. As I said, I use Final Draft 8.)

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As a rough estimate, one page of a script equates to one minute of screen time. It is impossible to say exactly how long a page will last on screen because it relies on too many factors.

You shouldn't worry about trying to make each page go for exactly one minute. You'll find that some pages will go over a minute on screen and some will go under. So don't start a new page - that'd be incorrect script formatting and if you give an incorrectly formatted script to a producer you'll have no hope of getting it made.

I've found the best way to learn how to write screenplays (other than professional lessons) is to read screenplays. Here are a few websites that you can find scripts on:

Drew's Script-O-Rama

Screenplays for You

Simply Scripts

Daily Script

I haven't used Final Draft to write scripts before. I use Celtx and it's an amazing program. It's free and it formats the script for you as you go. I highly recommend it.

  • I already have Final Draft. Do you mean that Celtx is better, even if I already have got FD? – Friend of Kim Feb 26 '12 at 11:58
  • I've never used Final Draft so I can't compare them. If it formats your script correctly and you know how to use it then that's fine - stick with it. – Chard Feb 26 '12 at 13:01
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As I understand this, your script is for you and your friend and that you are both one of the producers and the director, perhaps even the camera man, editor, etc as is the case with many independent movies. So if I have this correct, your script format is only as important as how it serves you to make this movie, not some Hollywood guys unless you plan to have this done by the industry.

Regardless. Here's some long range goals for your script. 1) be prepared to change it. 2) if there are lines for actors, rehearse these to see if they sound right and make sense in the context of your story, also, it would not hurt to block out the action or positions of actors for each scene. 2) make sure you have enough visual information to make a good storyboard which will be the basis for the shot list and production schedule.

  • Yes, it's basically my friend and me plus some actors and other people helping with the mic boom etc.. I asked this question just to learn how you "formally" should do it, what's correct. – Friend of Kim Feb 27 '12 at 21:53
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To add...one page DOUBLE SPACED is about one minute for screenplay format. For two column format, one page Double Spaced is 30 seconds; right column is only half the page width.

And, CELTX is the bomb.

  • You mean CELTX is actually BETTER than Final Draft 8 if you don't look at the price tag? – Friend of Kim Feb 28 '12 at 20:40

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