YOUR FIRST FEATURE FILM (Filmmaker Secret… 1-, 2- or 3-Week Shoots… Pick One.)


It is said that 1-page of script, formatted properly (Final Draft, MovieMagic, Writer Duet, Celtx, etc) becomes 1-minute of running time when shot.

Now everyone knows how long a half-hour sitcom or a one-hour drama is in page count…. Answer is 25 Pages (+/-) and 50 Pages (+/-)

But how long is a movie script that you need if you yourself are going to produce or direct it independently?

How many pages?

(If you want to Direct… Start with a 90-Page, 1-Location script… )

Learn How…

Answer is very simple but very few first-time writers pragmatically know it. Especially when writing their first magnum opus…

For the answer lies in how long (running-time) is a movie.

Is it 30-minutes? 50-minutes? 60-minutes? 70-minutes? 90-minutes? 100-minutes? 120-minutes?

Let’s use common sense.

Movie theaters are in the business of renting seats and selling candy… That’s how they make money… And the fascinating thing about movies is the price of admission for a movie no matter what the budget was… $50,000… $500,000… $5,000,000 or $50,000,000… is the same!

Plus, the price of admission has nothing to do with how long (running-time) the movie is.

Very interesting… So a Low-Budget, Micro-Budget or No-Budget film that becomes a movie is the same price of admission as a Mega-Budget movie.

And a 90-minute movie is the same price of admission of a 120-minute or a 180-minute movie. Also, very interesting.

Further a 90-minute movie is going to be 90-pages and 90-pages of details and problems to shoot… Whereas a 120-minute or 180-minute movie is going to be 120-180 pages of problems to shoot.

So logic states a 90-page script is easier to make than a 120-180 page script… Duh.

Finally, a 90-page script, a 90-minute movie can play in a theater and charge admission ($12-15) at 12:00, 1;30, 3:00, 4:30, 6:00, 7:30, 9:00 and 10:30… or 8 times… Actually it will be 6 times when the theater allows time for the audience to leave, the theater to be cleaned and a new audience to enter with freshly bought popcorn…

Whereas a 120-180-minute movie can only screen 3-4 times in a day.

90-Page script…. make money 6 times in a day.

120-180-Page script… make money 3-4 times in a day.

Your 1st Feature Film Script logically states should be a 90-page (+/-) script….

(Coen Bros started with “Blood Simple” likely a 3-week shoot… Let’s see what you do with a 2-week shoot)

90-Page Script: 1, 2 or 3-Week Shoot?

OK. You have the great 90-Page, 1-Location script… Now what?

Being realistic if you are going to Direct it and launch your career… you are (A) not getting the money from Hollywood no matter how many seminars you attend or networking groups you join… you are (B) getting the money independent of Hollywood which means you will have very little money… and at the most enough to pay for a 1-week, 2-week or 3-week shoot with a non-union crew and two 4K digital cameras…

If a 3-week shoot (18-days) with a 90-page script you are a shooting schedule of 5 pages/day.

If a 2-week shoot (12-days) with a 90-page script you will execute a 7-8 page/day schedule… or 1-page in the can every 1.5 hours.

If a 1-week shoot (7-9 days) with a 90-page script you will shoot 10 pages/day or 1 page in the can every hour… which is totally doable.


For a 1-week shoot you will need $30-50K.

For a 2-week shoot you will need $70-120K.

For a 3-week shoot you will need $200-300K.

I advise getting the great 90-page 1-location script (basically a stage play), partner with someone who has wealthy parents (not a joke) and get $70K+ (4-year Film School costs $250-$350 Thou) and execute a 2-week shoot, with a 3-week prep and a 6-week post.

You will have enough time to give the actors 2-3 takes and get Master, Medium & Closeups for coverage, with an excellent Camera Operator who wants to be a DP, with 2 4K cameras, and a superb professional, but non-union soundman.


Happy Filmmaking

Dov S-S Simens


Want to Produce, Write or Direct?

Want only facts… not theory.

Then either my Film School programs are perfect for you…

Plus, they are only $129-$289.

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45 comments on “YOUR FIRST FEATURE FILM (Filmmaker Secret… 1-, 2- or 3-Week Shoots… Pick One.)”

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  25. Amber Brion says:

    Based on the information provided, the recommended length for a first feature film script is around 90 pages. The length of a movie is not directly related to its price of admission, and a shorter film may have more opportunities to be screened and make money. If you plan to direct a low-budget film independently, you may need to consider shooting schedules that allow for a one-week, two-week, or three-week shoot. The budget required for such a shoot can vary depending on the length of the shoot, but it can range from $30,000 to $300,000. Partnering with someone who has access to funds or seeking funding from alternative sources may be necessary to cover the costs.

  26. Oscar says:

    While I understand that you’re offering specific advice on how to execute a film project, it’s important to keep in mind that there are many different paths to creating a successful film. Not everyone has access to wealthy parents or the funds necessary to attend film school, and there are many talented individuals in the industry who have worked their way up through hard work and dedication.

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    It’s also important to plan out the shooting schedule and budget realistically, based on the length of the script and available resources. A one-week shoot with a 90-page script is doable, but may require a higher budget and more efficient planning and execution. A two-week shoot may allow for more time and better coverage, while a three-week shoot may require a larger budget and more resources.

    Partnering with someone who has access to additional funding, such as wealthy parents, can be a helpful strategy for independent filmmakers. Proper preparation and post-production time are also important to ensure a high-quality final product.

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