The map is not the territory – screenwriting rules are only guidelines.

When someone says something like a script should be between 100-120 pages, it will generally cause an argument. It’s useful to remember that these are simply guidelines, and that it’s often more useful to consider why the advice is correct (it forces a useful economy of words, and makes the script more readable to buyers) than to find exceptions to the rule.

Polish-American scientist and philosopher Alfred Korzybski remarked that “the map is not the territory”, encapsulating his view that an abstraction derived from something, or a reaction to it, is not the thing itself. Korzybski held that many people do confuse maps with territories, that is, confuse models of reality with reality itself. (from wikipedia)

Ideally, we’d have a word in English that meant “something expressed as a rule, but that is in fact a relative guideline used to model reality.” Unfortunately, we don’t. Until then, remember that rules are merely helpful guidelines that are never universally applicable, but often more useful than nothing.

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