If you are looking to create a feature film for any purpose, you are probably wondering how to get started. The average filmmaker has a process that they use to actually get started. The specific process that each filmmaker uses is often quite different because everyone chooses to approach their film differently. While many filmmakers approach the process of creating feature film with the simple idea that pops into their head there are many others who begin the process of creating a film by starting with a script. The length of the script that a filmmaker typically starts with is quite varied in general, which leaves everyone a lot of options to explore options available to them.
Many filmmakers begin working on a feature film based off a tiny script or even a small book. This can be something that is as short as only 5-6 pages or as long as 100 pages easily. The exact length of the script often varies based upon the length of the film itself and many times the length is changed substantially as the filming process starts to unfold. In general, a shorter script will translate into a much shorter film.
Another guideline that you can use to help you determine how long your film script should be is to use the average idea that each page of script will consist of approximately 30 seconds of footage. This is only a rough estimate though; extensive lines of spoken script can take longer to do while fewer lines will generally take less time. This is important to keep in mind if you are working towards filming a film that will be a specific amount of time when you are finished.
It is also very important to remember that everything shot for footage will rarely actually be used. Most filmmakers will edit out various parts, change the layout a bit and make additional changes to the film, which can alter the length. Typically speaking if you shoot 60 minutes of footage you can expect that to translate into only a 30-45 minute feature film. If you find that you have additional footage time you could choose to shorten the film further, or you could be satisfied with the length that you have achieved.
The major problem that many filmmakers experience when working with scripts is trying to ensure that they are detailed enough to provide enough footage. For example, if you are trying to create a feature film that will be at a minimum 15 minutes you would need at least a 30-page script to fill out the entire 15 minutes allotted. In many cases you would need to further lengthen the script as well so that once areas have been edited out you still have the entire 15 minutes that you are striving for.
If you are working with a writer or a team of writers, it is generally much easier to handle the task of editing the script. As a filmmaker, you would be responsible for reading over the script initially and writing down any notes that you have. These notes would allow the writers to expand the script in areas where you as the filmmaker would like more information and details.
If you are quite creative with fleshing out scripts at the last minute, you may find that the actual length of the script you have is not important. It is possible for many feature filmmakers to easily take a very short script and turn it into a very extensive film. This is not something that everyone is capable of, and frequently this ability is fine tunes as experience is gathered. There are many filmmakers who find that years after beginning a career in the film business they are able to easily flesh out scripts at the last minute, but the main ingredient to success is starting with a script that has plenty of detail and creativity to it so that you can easily grasp the entire breadth of the film and enjoy the creation process.