Film School Tips: How Long Should My Feature Film Script Be?

June 24, 2013  |  Posted by: Lanell Pena

Advice From Film School Instructors on Determining the Length of Your Script

When you develop your first feature film in film school, you usually begin with either a short script, a short story or a novella. Depending on the requirements for your project, you need to then create a script that provides the right amount of footage. Use some of these tips taught by good film schools:

Tip No. 1: Remember the 30-Second Rule

In general, 30 seconds of film footage equals one page of a script. This comparison can vary depending on how wordy the lines are, but the 30-second rule is a good guideline for beginning filmmakers. If you’re submitting a 30-minute film school project, then you’ll need at least a 60-page script.

Tip No. 2: Expect Last-Minute Editing

Most likely, you will edit out some of your footage to improve the pacing and flow of your film school project. For this reason, you should anticipate that some of your script could end up on the cutting floor. Alternatively, a top film school student knows that after a director views footage, he or she may realize that the story needs more script pages. A director can’t always see what will and won’t work until the script is filmed. Therefore, expect to cut segments from the script that don’t work and add in new parts as needed.

Tip No. 3: Write a Detailed Script for Your Film School Project

If you were Robert Altman, then you could probably create an entire film using minimal scripting. However, few of even the best film school students can accomplish that feat on their first feature. When you’re writing your own script, make sure that you fill in plenty of details. If you’re working with someone else on a script, then make sure that you make detailed notes regarding what to cut and what to expand.

KD Conservatory is home to one of the region’s most respected film schools. Apply today to launch your filmmaking education alongside instructors who are working professionals.

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