October 23, 2015 at 7:07PM, Edited October 23, 7:07PM

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Shot listing and desgining

Hi good folk. I am currently attempting to get the shots for my short ready and I have a few questions regarding plotting these shots on the script.
I am still at high school so the technique they have taught me regarding plotting shots on a script seems to be different from some ways i've seen. I have been told to do a separate slug line for each shot and describe it
EG:
CU PAUL - 3 SEC
MCU LOW ANGLE DAVEY -- TRACKING BACK

Then follow that by the direction and dialogue.
Now this has worked for doing the short High School films and it got me my marks so I did it. But I feel as if this isn't very efficient for some of the longer things I'm starting to do (the script I'm working on had jumped from 7 pages to 10 just by adding in about half the shots) and it does make using the script quite cluttered.
I have seen a process where you draw lines along the margin of the script and label them with what shot they are and how long they are.
Now i'm not sure if that is a viable technique, or if the way I'm doing it currently is OK or could be made easier/ streamlined; or if there is a completely different way that I could plan my shots.

I have zilch money, so I use Trelby screenwriting software that has served me well so far, I'm not sure if that will hinder this process too much.

Any help and ideas that you could give would be fantastic!
Thanks!

1 Comment

It's my opinion that there is no "best" way, but there are better ways that are highly individualistic, i.e., use what works for you. You've described two processes and both are valid. I would offer the suggestion that storyboards are highly beneficial and provide a visual that cast and crew can view to "catch" your vision. I've recently downloaded an app (shot designer) from Hollywood Camera Work that allows the filmmaker to diagram her/his shots and attach boards to various cameras. As I've just "discovered" it, I haven't had the opportunity to battle test it in a production environment. But, it does look promising.

My process involves breaking down the script for themes, motifs, relationships between characters. Then begin visualising the scene and what its needs are, e.g., does a character need to reveal something to a 2nd character in the room? If so, how does the script indicate that this revelations plays out? Would it be enhanced with camera motion or is it better if the camera is static and the actors move or both? After scene analysis, I then start designing shots.

I've done the interlineated shot method you describe using notes in Movie Magic and Final Draft. I've also went straight to boards. These decisions were made based on time constraints or based on the specific needs of a project.

I realise these comments may not be a "do this" solution, but hopefully the tips help you work through some of the processes for creating shots and then building sequences into scenes and onward. Best of luck.

October 25, 2015 at 2:22PM, Edited October 25, 2:22PM

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Jefferson Donald
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