More Scenes or Longer Scenes?

I finished the outline for Bright Freedom last week, and wrote 14 of the 42 scenes I identified. I expected that I would have a 90-page script by the end, but the scenes are shorter than I thought they would be. I may only get a 50-page script. I’ve had similar problems with my earlier scripts, but this seems even worse.

I’ve asked myself should I try to make my scenes longer, or add more scenes? Do I add more events to the film, or to make the events bigger?

I’ve read that the average scene should be about 3 pages and a page typically translates into about one minute of screen time. My average scene is 1.4 pages, so I would need 65 scenes to get a 90-minute film.

I think that I should develop my scenes more. I tend to write scenes very focussed on plot and don’t make much effort to portray the characters. If I did that more often, my scenes would be longer. I hope it would make the characters more interesting to the audience.

When I did the rewrites for The Anger Trap, only about 20 per cent of the increased length of later drafts was due to adding scenes. The rest came from longer scenes.

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