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Question for James about working as a script supervisor (4 replies and 5 comments)

Frank
2 months ago
Frank 2 months ago

Hi James,

I was curious about your process for timing a screenplay as a script supervisor. It's been shown time and again that the "1 page = 1 minute of screen time" convention is generally untrue and I was wondering if there were any principles you developed over your career to approximate the final running time for a film.

The Byre
1 month ago
The Byre 1 month ago

Here is everything you need to know about running time and page count - https://stephenfollows.com/is-the-page-per-minute-rule-correct/»

As you will see, one minute per page is not far off the actual result, even if it is just a very, very rough guide. 

THEY KISS!  How long do they kiss?  How long do we hold the shot?  How much gets cut in editing?  What's the drop-dead time limit on the movie?  

THEY FIGHT!  That could be a dragged-out five-minute fight scene or a single punch on the nose!  (Though a five-minute sequence should also be laid out in an action sequence on the page - but you get the idea!)

So the one minute = one page can be somewhat useless - but it's the only guide we've got!

Mike
1 month ago

I am sure James would like to reply but I have a feeling that she is busy chasing from one town to another prepping for their new project. Hope they like snails and garlic with lashes of spaghetti. Nice time of the year for touring the continent.

The Byre
1 month ago

Are we allowed to know what kind of movie they are prepping for?

Mike
1 month ago

“Empire of light” could be one of answers.

The Byre
1 month ago
Mike
1 month ago

This could be a great film if Sam Mendes penned the script. Miss Colman is very talented, although she is not my favourite, she is watchable and certainly bankable!
This is a love story after all and there are lots of opportunities here for Roger to put his unique ‘stamp’ on it. This film does excite me and I would just love to Direct it myself. Just hope it goes well for everybody.

The Byre
1 month ago
The Byre 1 month ago

Given the subject matter and that both director and cinematographer are students of his style - I look forward to Hopper-style framing!

https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTFWK_8qBkWiDN6eIDkg_osmjVORn5R6PEPjg&usqp=CAU»

https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRxrJredTMRODfDAZQCG1JWrlGK-7XRHbO-2Q&usqp=CAU»

James
1 month ago
James 1 month ago

When I was scripting, I dreaded timing the script because it depended on so many things, - how it was shot, the pacing of the actors, how it was edited, etc. I never used the "1 min a page" theory since that doesn't work. Just looking at script tells you that. Sometimes that are 5 or 6 small scenes on one page and sometimes it's wall to wall dialogue.

I would act out every scene in the script when timing it. So obviously, it was a task for which I had to find a secluded area!

The timing that you turn in is used as a reference through out the shoot to see if you are shooting long or short so you don't want to get it wrong. It's a part of script supervising that I don't miss!

Frank
1 month ago
Frank 1 month ago

Interesting, thank you. I'm curious, I know that on Blade Runner 2049 you were working in a different capacity, but were there discussions between you & Roger and the script department or Denis about the timing of the screenplay? The published version of Blade Runner 2049's screenplay is 108 pages, the final film (with credits) is 164 minutes. Did everybody figure the page count would work out to that kind of screen time?

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