How Many Pages per Diem?

As a followup to How Good is Good and How Many is Too Many, I now tackle "How Many Pages Per Diem?" And, I have no answer.

Many screenwriters post comments on boards and blogs about the number of pages they write each day and measure their progress that way. That's great. But, I can't do it.

I just read a post where the writer says he tries to write at least five pages each day. This is a difficult concept for me to grasp as opposed to "I try to write two hours every day" or "I try to write one scene each day". How do you dictate quantity in screenwriting each day in terms of pages? How DO writers put a page number goal on their writing day when five pages could be one scene, half a scene or five scenes?

I've been known to spend hours, HOURS, working on a single line.


I once needed a line by a teenage boy. One line! He had to be a pot-head (which I've since learned is NOT what they are called) and have a general dislike for the police. I researched arrest statements, searched notes I'd taken, got advice from my own teenager, and looked up conversational blogs by teenage boys who appeared smoked dope and were the same age, race and (if I was able to discern it) similar living conditions as my character. When that didn't work, I asked my son to recommend a place to eavesdrop on dopeheads. He informed me that they are "stoners" and knew where to send me but said I'd stick out unless he came along. So we went to a store where stoners and goth kids buy a lot of their clothing, piercing apparatus, fishnets, chains and weird paraphenalia.

Yikes. They weren't all stoners, but I still got my line. It cost me an AFI t-shirt, SouthPark shoe laces, an AC/DC patch and a very interesting belt buckle with a quote on it, but at least I got my line. There was probably a better place to get it, but my boy being the clever teen he is... well, the belt buckle he bought with my money said it all --- "**carpe diem**".

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