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Old June 10 2014, 10:04 PM   #205
doubleohfive
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Re: Fan Film Writer's Primer

It's also important to note that page length matters in other ways.

One of the reasons the industry standard font is usually a Courier-based typeface is because every letter is the same width. This may seem entirely trivial, but it can add up when it comes to pages and revisions.

Generally speaking, a single script page can be broken into eight sections, based on the length of the scenes printed on the page in question. How large or small these eight sections then are in relation to each other, on the page, and in relation to the eight divisions on other corresponding previous or following pages, can dictate how much of a scene will be able to be shot in a given day. I'm a little fuzzy on the details, but this is basically the jist of it. I have more specific notes at home I can share on this if there's any interest.

This is, if I recall correctly, applicable both to film and television. And Maurice is right - formatting on sitcoms is completely different. Carter Bays and Craig Thomas' pilot script (second draft) for How I Met Your Mother was 56 pages long! For a 22 minute show! Meanwhile, Jenji Kohan's writer's first draft of the pilot for Netflix's Orange Is The New Black was 65 pages long, for a ~42 minute episode. Likewise, Bays, Thomas, and Emily Spivey's writer's first draft for the pilot of How I Met Your Dad was 48 pages long, and very clearly mimicked the format of its predecessor.

Certainly HIMYM and HIMYD are problematic examples as these shows and their format necessitated multiple setups, scenes, flashbacks, and other gags that most other sitcoms do not employ, but the point remains - sitcom scripts are a totally different beast.

Last edited by doubleohfive; June 10 2014 at 11:05 PM.
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