Are you writing a 4 act or a 5 act?
Does your show have 35 scenes per hour? Or 48?
How many times does your main character talk?
How many pages does your script have?
Does yours have too many? Or too few?
THESE are just a few of the questions you are told to ask as you sit down to write a spec script for TV. They're similar for movies.
But since writing a television spec is about showing you know how to do it, these questions are emphasized over and over.
Of course, this nonsense is akin to saying that because you've written a poem in perfect iambic pentameter in 3 quatrains and a couplet (abab, cdcd, efef, gg), you've written a good sonnet.
It's all part of the anyone-can-do-it myth that's grown up around an auto-pilot, mass manufactured world of entertainment.
I blame Syd Field for doing this first (though I'm sure he was not the first) and JAWS for making it seem like the only way to get people to spend money on a story. The misuse/overuse of Joseph Campbell's ideas hasn't helped either.
The combination has, at its worst, led to dull, predictable emotional and action tropes.
It's lazy storytelling and, worse, it's led to an even lazier "teaching of storytelling".
I say this because it seems rather than tell someone, "Hey, you know, this script doesn't have a strong idea" or "Go back and figure out what this character is interested in emotionally" people are told to watch shows and make hash marks every time there's a cut to a new scene.
Other, less numerical, but just as mindless tidbits are often shared.
Things like, "don't use 'is' and 'was'" and "make more stuff happen" and "think of your story like a mountain range with valleys and peaks" and, my favorite, "no scene in a movie should ever be longer than a half page".
Does anyone else find this annoying?
All I can say is, thank god Sam Shepard didn't write True West, Buried Child, Curse of the Starving Class, Fool for Love or Lie of the Mind this way. And thank god Fornes didn't give a shit that Mud is too short for a "real evening of theatre".
In fact, thank god for theatre in all its baffling, unwieldy beauty.