Average Number of Scenes

Discussion in 'Screenwriting' started by zachg18, Apr 27, 2012.

  1. zachg18

    zachg18 Bronze Member

    Wondering if there's an average number of scenes that most movies have, specifically comedies.

    I'm about 50 pages into a script now and have 20 diff scenes, some lasting half a page and the longest being about 7 pages.

    Just wondering if there's a specific formula most people follow or if it doesnt matter. Thanks for any help.
  2. craktactor

    craktactor Moderator

    There's no set amount. How ever many it takes to tell the story is just the right amount.

    I've written: 93 pages and ended up with 143 scenes; 118 pages with 187 scenes; 24 pages with 48 scenes; 52 pages with 27 scenes, etc., etc., etc.

    These are things you shouldn't be worried about, among others.

    Just write.;)
  3. www9370

    www9370 Bronze Member

    On top of what Crak just stated;

    scenes don't matter, nor the length of them or how many end up in the soup...

    the bottom line is; "did it taste good going down". ;)

  4. zachg18

    zachg18 Bronze Member

    Alright thanks for the advice, I really appreciate it. Always learning something new on here.
  5. Lon

    Lon Bronze Member

    I used to get so hung up on scene counts when I first got into screenwriting. I once read a decent scene length is three minutes/three pages, so I started thinking, "Okay, if a movie is two hours long, and a good scene is three minutes long, then I need forty scenes." And I'd find myself stretching out scenes which only took up a half a page to meet the count.

    The truth is, as has already been said, scene length is unimportant. I'll add to that, as long as the scene accomplishes what it sets out to. If it serves no real purpose, doesn't convey new information, doesn't progress the story, doesn't reveal something about a character, any of that, then it's unneeded and, therefore, unwelcome.
  6. Jack

    Jack Bronze Member

    The screenplay is a blueprint, so think in terms of the number of sets that will need to be created.

    Your scene count derives from the purpose of each set and what you're doing within it.
  7. Jack

    Jack Bronze Member

    The scenes are contained within the set, so their length matters.

    Also relative to others, it matters. Else you'll sense inconsistencies.

    There are lots of reasons why it matters.
  8. Lon

    Lon Bronze Member

    Yeah, it really doesn't.


    Bob stares at the wall, seething with anger. The phone rings. He ignores it.

    That's a scene that takes all of three spaces on the page; one for the slug line, one for the space after it and one for the narrative. If the point of the scene is to show Bob so angry that he won't even answer the phone, then mission accomplished. On to the next scene.

    It's what happens in the scene that matters, not how long it is.
  9. youdothatvoodoo

    youdothatvoodoo Bronze Member

    Scene length is a function of intent.

    Oliver Stone in Natural Born Killers went for a hyperactive rapid edit approach using different visual styles because he wanted to make a comment on modern media, so drawing attention to how he did what he does was important.

    Rififi, the classic French heist film, spends 20 minutes or more on the central scene. Not only that, but it occurs in silence. It's utterly engaging throughout; the realtime flow creates empathy and involvement.

  10. Jack

    Jack Bronze Member

    In a shooting script, that scene will be incorporated into a larger scene. To save money, to prevent it seeming too choppy etc etc etc.

    I know what you mean. But it's more incorrect to say that scene length "doesn't matter' and more correct to say that scene length is a consideration at least sometimes.

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