The Bag Means Your Mind

A delightful mix of insightful comments and ignorant assumptions about screenwriting... and such.

Monday, May 22, 2006


Now that I’ve completed my first draft and am waiting to go on vacation (more on that later), I figured I’d put together some metrics. This may or may not be of interest to you, but for me, it is an interesting way to look at how you work, and what you might be might be capable of in the future.

Let’s take a look at the overall numbers:

Total Pages: 165
Given that it is better to write too much than too little, this is still more than is necessary. I’m going to have to chop out 50 or more pages.

Total Words: 31,122
Not an important stat, but because my script is description heavy, I expect this number to drop considerably during rewrites and for future scripts as my craft improves.

Total calendar days: 38 with an average of 4.34 per day.
This is just tells me how much actual time it took me to write and how productive I was while still including the days I did not write.

Total Writing days: 26 with an average of 6.36 pages per day.
This shows how prolific I was while writing.

Now lets take a look at the work itself.

Act I
Length: 37 pages
Total calendar days: 12 with an average of 3.08 pages per day.
Total writing days: 7 with an average of 5.2 pages per day.

All in all, not too shabby. Started off a little slow, but acceptably so.

Act II
Length: 92
Total calendar days: 22 with an average of 4.18 pages per day.
Total writing days: 16 with an average of 5.75 pages per day.

Clearly Act II is way too long, but I’m happy with the output nonetheless.

Length: 36 pages
Total calendar days: 3 with an average of 12 pages per day.
Total writing days: 3 with an average of 12 pages per day.

When you get down to the end, you just want to belt it out ASAP. Of course I was staring in the face of a deadline of getting it done before vacation*.

The Big Picture:

So what does it all mean? Well, it is obvious that if I can wrangle in Act II better next time, my writing time will be shortened by a few days. But I might not be able to devote the same amount of time to Act III in the future so it might not affect the overall timeline too much.

Using the above information as a guide I could theoretically write the first draft of a 90 page script in 21 total days. A 120 page script would take 28 days. Considering the anchor that is my full-time job, writing a first draft in under a month, at this point, is a worthy and achievable goal.

*More on that later.


  • At 3:43 AM, Blogger Systemaddict said…

    Yeah, at first look (not actually reading the script)- act 2 needs to come down.

    I'm not a proponent for perfect 120- but give or take 10 pages I think it thats the aim.

    I always find act III to be the easiest to write, so long as your work has been done. Then again, it could be the light at the end of the tunnel syndrome- one more push to the finish line...

    I'm half way through beefing up a story aspect in a script, while whitling down my over descriptioned scenes...the difference it makes it huge. I'd site - The Matrix as the best example I know of for this- perfect description, in no time at all.

    Good luck

  • At 8:38 AM, Blogger Thomas Crymes said…

    It's not about fitting the script into some cookie cutter formula, but about creating a script with an engaging story.

    And if the story just can't be told in a 120 pages (I seriously doubt that) then I guess it needs to be shelved for a time when I wield supreme power and can impose my will on the movie industry and get my two and half hour football epic made.

  • At 10:38 AM, Blogger Systemaddict said…

    Yeah- I don't think a lot of stories should be told in a perfect 2 hours. Some stories need more, and some less...

    I think readers do an automatic page count- just to see how much work is in front of them. but much like sitting in a theater, and as you said, if it's engaging- time flies.

  • At 11:41 PM, Blogger Patrick J. Rodio said…

    Jesus Christ - 165 pages of football? And like you said, heavy on description? your frakin' hand it gonna fall off.

    At least it's done, congrats! Now get out the knife and start cutting that baby!


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home