1. AxleMAshcraft
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    AxleMAshcraft Member

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    Me: I need help. You: I can help you.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by AxleMAshcraft, Apr 16, 2011.

    I suppose that this would be a good place to put this thread. I need a little help.
    I'm going to (rather fearfully and nervously) put my foot in the water in regards to screenplays. Aside from any general notes that might help me with my endeavor, I'm slightly curious about length.
    How long, generally, are screenplays for say a 1/2 hour TV show? An hour long one? What is the general range at least in page numbers?
    Do screenplay writers even hang around this forum? If you're out there...help.
    Is there anything else I should remember when I'm writing this screenplay?
    Should I be rightfully warned of anything?
    Am I getting myself way in over my head? I basically write novels or short stories. Is a screen play that different?
     
  2. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    I don't write screenplays, so my knowledge is actually probably less than yours. However, if you go to the Writing Workshop and click on "Scripts" at the top you will see a stickied thread called "Stage and Screen Script Basics" I *think* that will help you a lot :D Also, reading what other people have posted and the feedback on those may help you as well. Hope I've helped :D
     
  3. sprirj
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    sprirj Contributing Member

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    I think a page of a script is 30 seconds. I'm sure someone will correct me if wrong.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    close, but no cigar!

    for film, the rule of thumb is 1 page = 1 minute of running time... that applies to drama series and tv movies as well... but for tv sitcom scripts, for instance, since there are some differences in format [such as double-spacing] and allowances have to be made for commercial breaks, a 22-minute script will run about 35-40 pages...

    what is it you want to write?

    i've written scripts for both film and tv and i mentor many aspiring screenwriters and tv writers, so feel free to email me for help and tips from the pros that i can send you...

    hope this helps a bit...

    love and hugs, maia
    maia3maia@hotmail.com
     
  5. Jonp
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    Jonp Senior Member

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    I never knew about the double spacing for sitcoms... what's the reasoning for that?
    My sitcom pilot is currently at 30 pages, and that's in the default Celtx format... Over here, if it were to air on the BBC there would be no advert break.
     
  6. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you are English, there is lots of info and advice, including examples of old scripts, on the BBC writers website.
     
  7. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    Just checked your profile to see if you're British - I'm none the wiser.

    However if you are, like Madhoca has already mentioned the BBC writers' room is the place to look. I read somewhere that they do a free download, script formatting device (formatting device, may not be the correct terminology, I'm no good with computer jargon).

    I thought of downloading it myself, but I am still nervous of doing anything beyond the basics when dealing with the computer - I'm too scared to rock the boat.
     
  8. AxleMAshcraft
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    AxleMAshcraft Member

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    HEY! Read this..

    I'm not British...but I am very confused as to what the difference between the two is...? What if I'm writing something which, one day (keep your fingers crossed my friends) will be used for a show in the grand ol U.S of A.?
     
  9. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    The BBC - the British Broadcasting Corporation.

    That's all I was thinking of, if you're not aiming for the British market, then it may be of no use to you.

    The US may have a different format? I don't know.
     
  10. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    The rules for Europe are very free and easy, and mostly follow the French style. You won't find much on the internet about it. I use the university textbooks for Turkish i.e. French format. There are quite a number of companies in Europe making series and mini-films; it is much less cut throat because less people attempt it, but you need to build contacts among the little group of arty people that are into this (my adopted daughter's stepfather is a Turkish film producer in Sweden, so this info comes from him).

    The rules for the UK are slightly more stringent. The BBC provides all the info you'll need. Writing scripts for the BBC is a way many writers start because there are--still--openings for new writers there, and they are always looking for scriptwriters. There are lots of plays, mini-films, and serials produced in the UK. You don't need an agent to submit (this info is from David Lodge, my mother's friend).

    Compared to Europe, The US seems to have draconian rules for presentation of scripts. The good news is, there is a ton of stuff on the internet available, formatting software to download etc.
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    the hollywood standard format for film scripts will work no matter what country's market you're aiming at, but tv is a horse of another color... or colors... you must know where you intend to submit your pilot idea, before you write it, since you have to consider who the primary audience will be...

    so, if your show is aimed at the british viewer, then do go to bbc's site for info on format, etc. ...

    if it's aimed at an american audience, then you must follow the us industry's rules 'n regs... and that includes not only a pilot script, but a 'bible' and sample episodes...

    i can help you with us submissions only... and i'm sorry to have to tell you that without a good track record as a screenwriter and an agent with good connections in tv, you've virtually no chance of submitting any work, since legal departments don't allow unagented submissions to even be seen, much less read... they're returned unopened...

    your best bet then, to write for us tv, is to get a job in the industry and start making connections...

    however, it's not that hard/impossible to break into the uk industry, or so i'm told...

    as for the 'why' of double-spacing, who knows?... it's just a 'what is' that must be dealt with... let me know via email, if i can be of any further help...

    hugs, m
     

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