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    Shooting Script Format
    #1
    Member GraBird's Avatar
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    Question
    I'll be filming a music video next month and it's pretty much a mini movie, which will be great because it's for my band and will be my first movie in 20+ years, and everyone involved is thrilled and excited.

    I wrote a script for it and that went great. I've learned not to include planned shots in the script, there's not a single "WE SEE" or "CU" in it, etc. It just tells the scene setttings, what action happens, and any dialog (which in this case, there really won't be, it'll all be ad-libbed and covered over with the music anyway).

    But now, as director, I need to start planning my shots. I took the spec script and jotted notes to myself how I'd like to do each scene. In many cases they are broken up into several shots.

    For example (spec script):
    Code:
         INT APARTMENT STAIRWELL - DAY
    
         Derek comes down from his apartment and 
         is ambushed by Amelie, who suddenly reveals 
         herself from the shadows.  She confronts him 
         and pleads with him, but he brushes her off.  
         He finally has to push her away and leaves.  
         She collapses to the floor, holding her belly 
         and crying.
    (contains shots, numbered):
    Code:
    84 - FS stairway, looking up, follow Derek to 
         reveal Amelie
    
    85 - CU Derek, reaction
    
    86 - MS 2 shot Derek, Amelie, dolly around to 
         rev MS, tilt down, follow Amelie to floor
    What's the standard way to reformat this so that the shots are distinctly identified yet still indicate the overall scene? And then that would be used for planning daily shooting schedules, making sure we got all the shots needed, setups, etc.

    I was going to do this way, but not sure if this is "proper". I'd like it to be something I can hand off to actors and not have them freak out over.

    (shooting script?)
    Code:
         INT APARTMENT STAIRWELL - DAY
    
    84   FS Derek, coming down stairs from his apartment.  
         Follow to reveal Amelie, emerging from shadows 
         beside stairs.
    
    85   CU Derek's reaction.
    
    86   MS 2 shot Amelie confronts Derek and pleads 
         with him, but he brushes her off.  Dolly
         around for Rev MS.  Derek pushes her
         away and leaves.  Tilt down follow 
         Amelie collapsing to floor, holding her 
         belly and crying.
    Would this work or is there a preferred way?


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    #2
    Look ma no hands HorseFilms's Avatar
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    Since you're directing it yourself, I'd say that whatever way works best for you is the right way.


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    #3
    Senior Member EJ Pennypacker's Avatar
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    Yes, do what makes you happy. It's for your benifit, right?

    Failing that, just mention like you did what shots what you want in each sentence or description in the script. I'd also number the scenes as well. So you can break up how many locations you need per day/week etc.

    EJ


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    #4
    Member GraBird's Avatar
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    Thanks! I actually found a filmmaking site with a sample shooting script on it.

    And it pretty much does what I thought but also numbers the scenes as you suggested.

    It keeps the basic script format but makes it easy to identify scenes and shots.

    Code:
    
                                             DISSOLVE TO:
    
    SCENE 22.
    
    INT. APARTMENT STAIRWELL - DAY
    
         84   F.S. Derek, coming down stairs from his apartment.  
              PAN PULL TO REVEAL Amelie, emerging from shadows 
              beside stairs.
    
         85   C.U. Derek's reaction.  
    
         86   TWO SHOT of Amelie confronting Derek.  She
              pleads with him, but he brushes her off.  
              SPIN AROUND to Derek.  He pushes her away 
              and leaves.  SLOW PUSH on Amelie, 
              TILT FOLLOW as she falls to the floor, 
              holding her belly and crying.
    
                                             DISSOLVE TO:
    
    SCENE 23.
    
    EXT. CITY STREETS - DAY
    
         87   CAR DOLLY FOLLOWS Amelie as she walks
              along the sidewalk, still clutching her belly in agony.
    
         (etc.)
    
    The trick was just to pull the slug lines 1/2" left and put in a scene number ahead of it. That keeps it visually clear (and, as you stated, makes it possible to identify specific scenes themselves).

    We'll still use the spec script for auditions, but this will definitely be helpful in planning the shooting schedule.

    Thanks for the suggestions and advice!


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