A 30-minute multi-camera (sitcom) script is normally approximately 45 pages, a 30-minute single camera script is around 34 pages, and a 1-hour drama script can be as low as 45 pages (Nip Tuck) or as long as 80 pages (Gilmore Girls).
The length of your screenplay does not matter as much as its content and quality. A good story will always get on the screen, even if it is only for 10 minutes. It doesn't matter if you write a one-page script or a 100-page script, as long as you have the best story to tell within those page limits.
You can shorten your scripts by removing scenes that do not contribute anything new to the story or characters. You can also lengthen them by adding scenes that help develop the plot or characterizations. Either way, you should still follow a logical structure that allows the reader/viewer to understand what is going on in the story.
Here are some tips for writing shorter scripts:
Make every word count. The more words you use the longer your script will be. Cut any words you don't need.
Use actions instead of descriptions. If something needs to be explained rather than shown, then show someone doing it or say it out loud. The less description you use the faster you can get to the interesting part of the story.
A half-hour comedy screenplay can be as long as 44 pages for renowned writers and showrunners. Keep in mind that sitcoms are frequently dialogue-heavy, which would explain the higher page numbers. To stay within the thirty-minute mark, newbie authors should aim for 22-25 pages.
Half-hour dramas can be as short as 14 pages or as long as 50 pages. Newcomers should try to keep their scripts under 30 pages to have a chance of being picked up by a producer. If your script is too short, then it won't get read. If it's too long, then people will think you're trying to charge too much for it.
The basic structure of a half-hour drama script includes a prologue that sets up the story line, followed by a series of scenes that progress the plot forward. The climax and conclusion of the story must occur by page 12 so that the producer doesn't have to pay for more than they need. A good writer can stretch out a scene until it lasts longer than one page by using strong dialogue, interesting characters, and a compelling story line. There should be no more than five scenes per episode because more than this amount tends to confuse viewers rather than entertain them.
Half-hour comedies follow a similar structure except that they are usually shorter than dramas.
In general, screenplays for hour-long episodes can range from 45 to 63 pages, with the bulk of the time falling between 50 and 55 pages. The basic idea is that one page equals one minute, and with a sixty-minute presentation, commercial breaks must be included in.the script. Therefore, half hours are 15 minutes long and full hours are 30 minutes long.
There is no set number of pages that defines a screenplay. Some writers like to write very short scripts while others go as long as 100 pages or more. However, most television producers will not purchase scripts that are under 20 pages because it is difficult to develop material over this length. A good rule of thumb is to write until you reach a natural stopping point within the story. You may want to consider having a friend read through your script to help find any problems before you submit it.
So, according to most sources, a 30 minute TV screenplay should be between 32 and 40 pages, however practically every 30 minute animation script exceeds 50, and occasionally even 60.
There are two types of stories you'll see in 30 Minute Animation: stories that can be told in 30 minutes, and ones that can't. The first type is much easier to write since you don't have to worry about pacing or plot development - just tell the best story you can in 30 minutes. The second type requires more thought put into how the story will unfold over time through various episodes or seasons.
In general, a 30 minute cartoon episode is about 14 minutes long, so a 30 minute television screenplay should be around 56 pages. This doesn't take into account any margin space that might be needed for opening/closing credits etc., so actually writing a 30 minute TV script usually takes up to 70 pages.
The average length of a 30 minute animated movie is around 80 minutes, which means it's made up of eight sections or scenes. Before you start writing, think about what kinds of scenes you want to include in your film. Are they action-packed scenes with a lot of movement and camera work? If so, you shouldn't have any problems coming up with at least three or four good ones.
This will provide you with a template for length and style. 22 minutes are allotted. Each page equals one minute. Thus, a 120-page script (the industry norm) equals 2 hours. So 30 minutes equals 30 pages. Set a goal of 28 pages. You may err on the side of caution, but that is the magic number. I understand why people go on writing retreats. It's very helpful to get away from your desk for a few days or weeks and not worry about editing or revising.
Here are some other points to consider: What is the tone of your show? Are you going for comedy or drama? If comedy, how broad or narrow should it be? How important is language to you? Does any particular word cause problems for you? Would you prefer to write in first person or third person? Can you list three things that you like about your own script?
These questions are meant to help you figure out what kind of show you want to write and what type of writer you are. The more you know about yourself and your ideas, the better able you will be to communicate them clearly to others.