Today’s question isn’t yes, really a question at all, yet rather one investigation right into how countless lines of form should to the right on a conventional screenwriting page. While this might seem frivolous — a small like “How countless Angels can Dance on the Head that a Pin” — almost every screenwriter has actually tweaked and shuffled, nipped and tucked to get a draft a couple of pages shorter.

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Lines-per-page translates into lines-per-script, which is may be a better metric than web page count for just how long a script “really” is. So i applaud Jeff do the efforts to number it out.

I have a seemingly simple formatting question that i cannot find the answer to anywhere: How countless lines should fit on a page?

I don’t ask for aid with out trying to aid myself first, but think me, this one has gained me stumped. My study yields vastly various results and also even an amazing (disturbing?) contemporary trend. (I recognize it’s a long read for an e-mail, yet I’ve excellent the research and also I would certainly really favor your thoughts.)

I know all about setup margins and also screenwriting software, yet even following those suggestions, there shows up to it is in a huge discrepancy in the actual number of lines per page from script to script. Here’s how I have actually counted currently per web page for objectives of this research:

Open a screenplay increase to any page, start at the very first line the screenplay on that page (a scene heading, personality name, dialogue, action; not white space or a page number) and also count that as ONE. Then, count every line after that (including white space) all the way to the last line of screenplay top top that web page (not including bottom CONTINUEDs if the script has actually them). The number you finish up with is what I call Screenplay Lines every Page.

I have actually checked dozens that screenwriting books and asked various experts that ns can regulate to speak with. Not one publication mentioned anything about the number of lines that should fit ~ above a page. One producer called me the there should be 56 lines per page due to the fact that scripts are damaged down right into 1/8th’s the a page, each 1/8th being 7 lines long. Eight times seven is fifty-six. Sound logical.

So I confirm scripts. While i didn’t counting every web page of a screenplay, i sampled a couple of pages to gain the general feel because that the median lines per page. What I uncovered was interesting:

While i figured that page size would vary within a script, I uncovered that many scripts to be pretty consistent, with couple of pages outside plus/minus one turn off the average. (That is, a manuscript that usually had actually 56 lines every page, would certainly mostly have actually pages v lengths from 55-57 lines.)

Older scripts tend to have much more lines per page. A fully random sample: Apocalypse currently has around 57 lines per page. Human body Heat, also around 57. Aliens has numerous pages advertise 60. This synchronizes to the info from the producer. Fifty-six lines per page seemed to be a great number to shoot for.

However, more contemporary scripts often tend to have fewer lines per page. One more random sample: Both large Fish and also Go look to be in the 52-53 heat range. Bruce Almighty is about 52. Also Saving personal Ryan through its 162 pages and four customs dialogue spare falls about 52 lines every page.

Here’s the issue: The old 120 page average has come to be the 120 web page maximum. The mean now looking like 110 pages, part sources even saying 100 pages isn’t also short. However on top of that, us seem to have actually “lost” around 4 or 5 lines every page. Those five lines account for practically 10 additional pages. So, in reality, a 110 web page script of today is yes, really 20 pages much shorter than a 120 web page script that say, 20 years ago.

Obviously, executives have chopped about 10 pages off the old 120 due to the fact that they don’t want to read, desire the movie to it is in cheaper (shorter), and want it come have an ext screenings every day (shorter). But have writers additionally cut one more 10 pages (consciously or subconsciously) by reduce the variety of lines per page?

As a next note, doesn’t this say something around the old one minute per page rule? If girlfriend really want to mess with that, look in ~ Schindler’s List: 155 pages, a mere 41 lines per page, and a run time the 194 minutes!

With every the strict rules top top formatting and also the follow to the ‘one page equates to one minute’ principle it appears that having actually a standard variety of lines per web page would it is in a clear way to reinforce appropriate screenplay length. However, simply the the contrary has arisen — nobody talks about lines per page. Ns realize the no one is going come toss the end a script because they an alert (which castle won’t) the the script has about 56 present per web page rather 보다 52.

So, the concern remains: How countless lines have to fit on a page? Is there a rule? If not, why does it seem that contemporary scripts have fewer lines 보다 in the past? Something had actually to take place to lessen not simply the web page count yet the line count together well.

I only ask due to the fact that I desire to get the many out of my pages while maintaining the style correct and in touch with modern trends. This is no tiny matter: there are 10 pages concealed in the difference between 56 lines per page and 52 lines every page. Any insight is appreciated.

–JeffLos Angeles

So what’s the real answer? Obviously, over there isn’t any type of hard and fast rule. I can only sell one more example:

Warner Bros. Is the just studio the still has a script handling department. I’ve never met the human being who work there, but based upon terrible experiences I’ve had, mine mind’s eye sees lock as four women in their 60’s that smoke, clock soaps, and also make funny of these dumb screenwriters and also their high-fallutin’ words. True typists who median 80 words per minute, lock clack away on vintage IBMs terminals v burnt-in amber monitors, grateful to everything union keeps them employed despite complete irrelevance.

But ns digress.

When you’re rental to write a script for Warner’s, castle send follow me their layout guide. Ns dug mine out for Barbarella. According to it, there should be 60 lines every page. Right over that figure, however, they list the font together being call Pica or Courier (12 point, 10 pitch), which speak you instantly that they yes, really haven’t readjusted for contemporary times. While allude sizes are still used, pitch is a vestige the typewriters.

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Incidentally, also if you follow Warner Bros.’ formatting guidelines, they retype your script anyway. This undermines any kind of authority of Warner Bros.’ formatting guidelines: the script they create are without question some of the ugliest and least-readable screenplays I’ve read.