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Screenplays: Number of scenes in a film?

Posted by old bluffer 
Screenplays: Number of scenes in a film?
November 03, 2006 01:40PM
A slightly odd request this one, but does anybody recall seeing a site that analyses the number of scenes in a movie?
ie: how many scenes does a modern film typically have?

Mouse and I might write a screenplay for fun, so it would be good to have a rough plan detailing the scenes.

Cheers,

Old Bluffer
Re: Screenplays: Number of scenes in a film?
November 14, 2006 09:05AM
Well, there are no typical "modern films" scene frequency (nor sites that analyses them), but the much-touted and strangely golden rule of screenwriting is one minute one page, which really only applies to spec. writers trying to sell the next big thing.

So instead of working out scene averages it'll be easier for you to use that ratio to calculate just how much fun you want to have. winking smiley Be sure to include a death, or two. :headchop:



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/14/2006 09:06AM by RolandDeschain.
Re: Screenplays: Number of scenes in a film?
November 14, 2006 11:05AM
Thanks Roland.

Quote

Be sure to include a death, or two. :headchop:

Well it's more of a romantic comedy really, so not too much scope for deaths.

OB
Re: Screenplays: Number of scenes in a film?
November 14, 2006 04:55PM
Didn't stop Sliding Doors. tongue sticking out smiley

Another golden writing rule - try to keep scenes under 3 minutes (although that applies more in the editing room).
Re: Screenplays: Number of scenes in a film?
November 14, 2006 05:08PM
Did I say romantic comedy? Slip of the tongue I think.
It's more of a Creature Feature and will indeed have a swedge-load of amusingly violent deaths! :demon:

OB
Re: Screenplays: Number of scenes in a film?
November 14, 2006 09:00PM
Wheeere, have the normal smileys gone?! (The Pretenders) :boohoo:

Oh, and hopefully you'll do better with your collective filmmaking careers than I am.

P.S. What the hell is a swedge?

________________________________________________________
Bruno! Yes, yes, Lovely to hear from you too! No, no, ze vitness? Do not worry! I haff taken care of ze vitness. Yes, yes. Shoot him? What, ar-are you stupid? No, no I am not going to blow ze plane up! I... haff put snakes... on ze plane.
Re: Screenplays: Number of scenes in a film?
November 14, 2006 10:08PM
Yeah, the smilies have taken a more interesting turn. Like this one... :cavalry:

Or even this... :fingersup:

Also, it appears the quote system above has been tweaked too.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/14/2006 10:09PM by Matt.
Quote
Mr. Briggs Inc.
Wheeere, have the normal smileys gone?! (The Pretenders) :boohoo:

Oh, and hopefully you'll do better with your collective filmmaking careers than I am.

P.S. What the hell is a swedge?

I'll take "The Living Daylights" for 100! Sorry, randomish post but it's funny to bring up a song no one except Bond fans know.
Well I got told by an industry professional that 1 page is 1 minute if you want a 98 minutes Film then you have to write 98pages.
I'd always thought it would be best to write just for the number of Scenes a Film has choose as many Scenes that you want
say 24 Scenes will make it 1 H 38 Mins.

Maybe Hollywood needs to come up with a new way of writing Screenplays or let new comers and experienced writers in
Hollywood choose how they want to write their Screenplays without having it to look outstanding and 100 pages.

Longs you and the writer knows what your dialogue and scene writing is saying then that all that matters.

A new way like that idea of mine in this message would probably save time and Money and Ink. What happens if you run out
of trees one day cause of using it for paper and chewing gum then your going to need an alternative way of writing Screenplays
instead maybe just from a Computer and send attachments then convert them onto portable handheld LCD Screens where you
can adjust settings and high light words and fonts and writing styles.

That's probably why they came up with Computers in the first place to save the trees from getting chopped down all the time
for paper and Screenplays and books.

Don't forget trees help to keep us alive without them we'd perish.

It's like everything else soon run out of componments for household equipment such as Video Machines and Typerwriters and things
like that.

Wouldn't be a bad idea.
Nick
Re: Screenplays: Number of scenes in a film?
August 08, 2008 12:40PM
I once counted all the scenes in some screenplays. I defined one scene as everything that occured after a scene heading, for example INT. HOUSE - EVENING. So if people went into the INT. LIVING ROOM, that would be two scenes.

This was years ago, but from what I rememebered Pulp Fiction had the lowest, something like 100 scenes, and then there was some screenplay that had something like 200 at most, Basic Instinct I think had around 150-160. Some movies had 130 and some had 170 (but I think there were more in the 150-200 area than in the 100-150 area) so from this I made this very basic "mind rule":

A movie usually has something between 100 and 200 scenes, with an average around 150 scenes.

I think I counted about 10-15 screenplays.
I think it's more like 70 scenes per screenplay for a 90 minute piece. If every scene were two pages long, you'd have a 140 minute script. Given, some scenes are longer and some are shorter, so it's just an approximation, but I wouldn't drop below 70.

Check out the film we're making:

www.myspace.com/jordansroom
Robert Mckee etc say it's between 40 and 50.

200 is OTT. If each scene were a minute, which it wouldn't be, the film would still be 3 hours long. Scene headings are not strictly scenes. Also it depends what kind of film you are making. European films tend to have less scenes.
As Robert McKee states 40 to 50 scenes is a good amount.

But remember McKee does not define a scene by a slug line. He defines a scene when a character is "turned" and develops. Thus, your character should develop in 40 -50 steps through the screenplay. A scene can contain many scene-headings or slug-lines, but is only called a scene if the following happens:

The character is challenged, there is opposition to the challenge, the stakes are raised, there is a further complication and the character should then make a choice through conflict that comes as a surprise and changes the character.

Use this structure for every scene and you'll have a winner screenplay :-)
Kaylynn
Re: Screenplays: Number of scenes in a film?
June 15, 2009 10:26PM
I'm a screenwriter, and yes, the rule of 1 page = 1 minute is true. The number of scenes is actually an industry standard. There are 24 MAJOR scenes in a movie with two or three minor scenes between each major scene. The standard page count is 120 for a first draft, because that equals two hours. Then, when the shooting script is drafted, pages are reduced, then of course minutes are cut out in the editing room. Yes, the number of actual scenes vary from script to script, but I guarantee that you will only find 24 major scenes in every movie.
Difficult to answer. For example, you might have:

INT. CORRIDOR - NIGHT

John walks to a large wooden door and hesitates before knocking on it.

INT. STUDY - CONTINUOUS

John enters the room and blah blah....


Technically speaking they're 2 scenes, but if you count the CORRIDOR as a scene chances are you'll have about 120-160 "scenes" in your film. It's more likely, however, that what goes on in the STUDY is the only important aspect of the screenplay at this moment and therefore that counts as the scene. If you count everything under a slug as a scene you'll very likely have a lot of scenes. But if you count only scenes that have some sort of turn/action/dilemma (and hence story scenes) as a scene chances are you'll find between 40-60, give or take.

The 1 minute = 1 page is pretty standard and even though it's not totally accurate, the truth is it about balances out. A page of dialogue might only take 30 seconds of screen time but, conversely, a page of action might take 1m 45+. Generally speaking though I always add about 5 to 10% of screen time to my screenplay for safety. For example, a 95 page screenplay is more than likely going to run at about 100 minutes, given that a Director is probably going to want to build visual language into scenes at points; lingering on things or building pace and rhythm out of something that only took two lines to write.

So, aim for about 90-120 pages (ideally the lower end of that unless your story really, really warrants the extra detail) and about 40-60 key scenes in the film. The main thing though; don't think about your film as a set of Act, series of Scenes or a product of your page count. If the story is planned out well and your characters are interesting, with great dilemmas and dramatic conclusions, the screenplay will at least have something going for it, and with a lot of work will be solid.
Anonymous User Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I'd always thought it would be best to write just
> for the number of Scenes a Film has choose as many
> Scenes that you want
> say 24 Scenes will make it 1 H 38 Mins.
>
> Maybe Hollywood needs to come up with a new way of
> writing Screenplays or let new comers and
> experienced writers in
> Hollywood choose how they want to write their
> Screenplays without having it to look outstanding
> and 100 pages.
>
> Longs you and the writer knows what your dialogue
> and scene writing is saying then that all that
> matters.
>
> A new way like that idea of mine in this message
> would probably save time and Money and Ink. What
> happens if you run out
> of trees one day cause of using it for paper and
> chewing gum then your going to need an alternative
> way of writing Screenplays
> instead maybe just from a Computer and send
> attachments then convert them onto portable
> handheld LCD Screens where you
> can adjust settings and high light words and fonts
> and writing styles.
>
> That's probably why they came up with Computers in
> the first place to save the trees from getting
> chopped down all the time
> for paper and Screenplays and books.
>
> Don't forget trees help to keep us alive without
> them we'd perish.
>
> It's like everything else soon run out of
> componments for household equipment such as Video
> Machines and Typerwriters and things
> like that.
>
> Wouldn't be a bad idea.

This in a Writers' thread.

Wow. Just wow.
150-200 seems like an awful lot. Are you sure you weren't counting shot changes instead of scenes? I think typically, a well-structured screenplay has about 48- 50 scenes. I'm not saying it's set in stone...:sumo:
dude, if you wanna know how many scenes are in a movie/film go and watch a few and count the scenes!!!:faceoff::headstab::lecture::thumbsdown::crazy:simple man!!!!:amazed::fencing::wookie::sumo::wall::yawn:
The number of scenes in a movie depends on the story and although there are many numbers flying around there aren't any fixed numbers. The required number or scenes is the number that allows the story to be told. In the case of the movie
"Phone Booth" how many scenes where there? Keep in mind that the numbers are only guidelines - Good writing doesn't conform to formulas.
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