How close to that do I need to get?

I’m sitting around 132. It can be cut, I think, but 120 would be losing major content. Would something in the range of 125-127 be okay?

1 Answer 1


It is extremely firm, but not inviolate. The true issue is time. To fit into standard commercial slots you should be UNDER 120, unless you have written blockbusters in the past.

Here is a graph of movie times. The average is 110 minutes, which is 110 pages.

Exceeding the time creates difficulties in scheduling for TV, movie channels, theaters, and so on, so long movies that don't get very high ratings are just not aired. You handicap the commercial potential of your movie, and since you are probably an unknown writer, you may not even find an agent to sell it for you. Also since I presume you are an unknown writer, it will be much harder to sell a high budget film as your first film. Most first sales are for lower budget films: A lower budget implies a shorter filming time and thus a shorter movie, in the 110 page range.

I'd strongly recommend you cut a subplot, or make the dialogue tighter, or the exposition tighter, before you seek an agent.

A person that like the main story can always ask for a movie to be longer, every professional screen writer would love to insert a scene for character development or emphasis or fan service (a nude scene or sex scene that sells tickets).

If this is your first screenplay, give them exactly what they want, not a puzzle they have to solve.

Think of it as proving yourself a professional. Because if you tell a pro you want 97 screen seconds worth of Joe and Karen fighting about household finances, they will deliver exactly 97 screen seconds of just Joe and Karen and just household finances.

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