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Script Economy

By Michael Schilf · February 2, 2010

Not only do you attack each scene as late as is possible, you attack the entire story the same way.- William Goldman, Adventures in the Screen Trade.

Remember, writing a feature film script has a very specific structure, with acts, sequences, plot points, scenes, etc.

And all of these elements follow a defined form, in which our cinematic story must be told – a visual story between 90 and 120 pages.

That’s not a lot of pages.

So we don’t have time to discover our way. We must know it. And we must be economical as we go: start our story as late as we can, begin each scene at the last possible moment, get out of scenes as early as we can.

Use spacing on the page for emphasis, pacing, and rhythm. Limit your action paragraphs to three or four lines.

Long action paragraphs are too thick, overwhelming, hard to read, and tend to lack the correct dramatic emphasis. The more white space on the page, the better.