How long does screenwriting take?

Professional screenwriters can typically complete a draft of a feature-length script (75-110 pages) in two to three months or 60 to 90 days. Rewrites are typically completed in 30 days or less. You can write the first draft of a screenplay at a rate of 5 pages per day and finish it in less than 30 days if you outline it first.

If we consider the outline, the development process for a professional writer could take anywhere from six months to a year. Some writers spend years preparing their outlines before sitting down to write.

As I said in the beginning, screenplays are like snowflakes in that they are all different in size, shape, and what they need. Generally, you can expect a first draft to take about three months. That's the rule I usually follow. I came up with that number because the first draft of a script is usually due 12 weeks after the contract is signed.

If you are writing a script independently, you can take as much time as you need. There's no rush when you don't have a deadline or a time to shoot. However, you should write the best script you can.

How long does it take to write the script for a movie that runs for 2 hours?

In the business, one minute of screen time equals one page of a screenplay. You need to write about 120 pages to make a two-hour movie. If you write one page every day, it will take you 120 days. Depending on how fast you read, this could take as little as 24 days or as long as 40 days.

Still, most movies don't need to be two hours long, much less 120 pages long. The ideal number of pages is between 75 and 110. So if you go over 110, you should have a good reason.

In most professional movie script contracts, a writer has 12 weeks to write a draft. On the other hand, a professional writer should be able to write a full-length movie in 8 weeks. So even though the goal of the 12 weeks is to write the script from page one, it also needs to be rewritten and polished before it is turned in.

This timeline doesn't take outline time into account. For example, starting to write on a paid assignment could take a professional writer anywhere from two to six weeks to outline.

When you write on spec, it's a lot more open to change, but if you're a pro, you probably have multiple spec outlines in different stages going at the same time.

Also, many producers could work with first-time writers for months to develop an outline before deciding to option the film.

After the first draft is turned in, there will be another 8-week period of rewriting, then 6 weeks of polishing.

Between these official passes, there can be multiple "mini-rewrites" often because the producers and the writer want to make the script as good as possible without adding new terms to the contract.

Keep this in mind, and be ready for many "tweaks" that won't pay you. Just don't lose track of them.

How long does it take to write an episode of TV?

When you write for television, you are part of a team of other writers for four to six weeks. During this time, the team "breaks" the story for the entire season and each episode contained within it. This makes writing for television a unique experience.

After a story has been "taken off the board," the writers assigned to that story will retreat for two to three weeks to write the episodes associated with that story.

This includes two days or so to flesh out the story, one week to write the outline, and after revisions are made, a writer may have less than a week to write the full episode. Again, this includes two days to flesh out the story and one week to write the outline.

Because a timeline like this is typical and will be expected of any professional writer, you should practice writing quickly and on the fly for your projects to prepare you for the real world.

When it comes to the Spec TV pilot that you write on your own, take as much time as you need on the first one, and get ready to rewrite it quite a bit.

When you've reached a point where you're satisfied with it, you should move on to the next project and begin writing it, but you should do so on a more expedited schedule this time.

Since it takes many rewrites to truly make an original pilot great, the amount of time required to write an original pilot is comparable to the amount of time required to write a feature film.

Here are resources I recommend to get more in-depth knowledge

Storytelling 101 teaches you how to write compelling stories worthy of commercial success. This is best for screenwriters, novelists, filmmakers, videogame writers and storytellers.

Children’s Books 101 teaches you how to write stories that children will love. This is best for aspiring children’s book authors and storytellers.

Owl AI is the revolutionary AI-powered content production platform that helps storytellers, writers, and bloggers of all subject matter easily create highly-polished content.

Success, Money & Mindset Subliminal is a self-hypnosis recording that we recommend to new writers to help with focus, concentration, creativity, and motivation.

Shadow Work Journal: 240 Daily Prompts contains inner work exercises related to relationships, anger, anxiety, self-love, healing trauma, abandonment issues, depression, forgiveness, etc.


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