15. Understanding TV script lengths

So I thought after several weeks of diving into the philosophical side of the creative process, it was time to get down to the nuts and bolts of a topic that I’m often asked to address – how long and how many pages should a TV script be?

Well, it all depends on who and what your script is for. Is it for a channel such as Disney or the BBC, or is it for Amazon or Netflix? Is it for adults or is your episode for kids? Is it a period drama, a prime-time comedy or an educational pre-school show?

It’s important for you to know the answers to these questions since each channel, each genre and each target age will have very different requirements. The great thing is, you can get hold of this information easily.

If a producer has hired you to write a script for either a new or existing show, then he or she will tell you what they will need. They may want you to deliver a half-hour script, which can be anything from 22 to 28 minutes based on commercial breaks. If it’s a kid’s show, chances are your episode will be eleven minutes, seven minutes, or if it's for young children, sometimes only five. Of course, the internet is great resource for this kind of information, and everything you need to know will be right there online.

Becoming familiar with the different episode lengths and specific requirements will go a long way toward helping you if your goal is to have a career writing afor television. And once you understand this, the next step is how to deliver a strong script that is spot on in terms of page count. Stay tuned for part two coming next week!

Image: mrmohock/shutterstock.com

 

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