QUICK TIP: WHY SCREENPLAY DESCRIPTIONS NEED TO BE SHORT

by Ann Marie Williams

Proper screenplay formatting requires that a certain amount of white space (a mix of description and dialogue) should appear on nearly every page of a script.

Not only does this standard help measure the number of minutes the story will be once filmed, but it is also an accurate way to convey the pacing of the screen story on the page.

If one minute of screen time takes one more than one minute to read, then the story’s pacing isn’t accurately represented on the page. And it makes it difficult for a reader (or a screenwriting competition judge) to get a sense of a story’s pacing if the description takes longer to read than it would to play out on screen.

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