Plot Points: Watch the Clock

By Michael Schilf · April 3, 2010

I love DVD’s. Home theater, surround-sound, waking up the neighbors. And the special features, how did we live without those? But honestly, the best thing about putting in a DVD is watching the clock.

I’ve always been a student of film; I live it, breathe it, teach it. Three Act Structure, Sequences, and Plot points are second nature to me, but I still love the validation that the clock delivers. You’re watching a Rom-Com, and you call out the inciting Incident. Take a look at the clock; I bet you’re 12 minutes in. It’s a drama, and you spot the Lock-In. The clock never lies: 30 minutes and counting.

You’ve heard it before: one script page equals one film minute, so telling your story and hitting the essential points right on par is extremely important. Remember, writing movies is a trade, that occasionally becomes art. And the clock is just another tool to help you become a master mechanic of screenwriting.