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Investigating the “Page 17” rule

April 4, 2009

While perusing the “cameos” (advice from screenplay writers) on Script Frenzy, I came across an interesting piece of information.  According to Nathan Marshall, you can pause any DVD at the Page 17 mark – roughly sixteen minutes into the film – and something important will be happening.  You will find yourself witnessing a great turning point that will set the stage for the rest of the movie.

Well, it’s not that I don’t trust Mr. Marshall – as he is a screenwriter and I am not, I am sure he knows what he’s talking about – but in the interest of exploring this idea, I decided to test some of the DVD’s around the house.

So I grabbed a random selection.  First I rifled through the drawers where we keep the movies, picking on a whim and grabbing whatever popped up.  Then I stacked them on the dresser, discovered that there was another movie beneath the stack, and grabbed that one.  Then, since I discovered I had left a couple of demographics out, I grabbed another two movies, then one more for good measure.  I ended up with fifteen different titles, as follows:

  1. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
  2. Left Behind II: Tribulation Force
  3. The Day After Tomorrow
  4. Dinotopia (to see if length affects the phenomenon)
  5. National Treasure
  6. The Spy Who Loved Me (had to include Bond, for fairness)
  7. Peter Pan (newer, live-action version)
  8. The Cat from Outer Space
  9. Logan’s Run
  10. The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns (another length test)
  11. Westworld
  12. A Bug’s Life (gratuitous Pixar inclusion)
  13. The Munsters’ Revenge
  14. Ice Age
  15. Batman & Robin
  16. Arsenic and Old Lace
  17. The Court Jester
  18. The Phantom of the Opera

I was still missing a couple of demographics, so I threw in 19. Lady and the Tramp and 20. Random episode of CSI, to be determined later.

Then I sat down with my notebook and DVD and got crackin’.  Once I’ve compiled the results, I’ll return with a follow-up post.

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