Join Chad Perkins for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating a shooting script, part of Creating a Short Film: 03 Pre-Production.
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- While your script is being written its purpose is to help readers understand the story, but once a script is finalized and pre-production begins the script is altered a little bit to make it a better logistical blueprint for the production. For example, in the last training series on writing I mentioned how it's sometimes appropriate in slug lines to use continuous or later as the time of day. But when we're splitting up he script into sections that we can film, those terms are just too vague and could cause disastrous misunderstandings. Because of this we create a version of the final writing script called a shooting script that is customized for our needs in pre-production.
It is the script that is distributed and referenced while the film is in production as well. Before I make a shooting script I make a backup copy of my writing script. That way the last draft of my writing script remains intact and all pre-production changes happen in the new copy. Then, I number my scenes. Because I use Adobe Story for writing and pre-production I go to the View menu with my shooting script opened and choose Numbering, Scene. This generates sequential numbers for each of my scenes and displays them in the script in blue.
Now these numbers are really important and should never ever change. After the film was shot we decided to write and shoot a pickup scene that was to go between scenes seven and eight. But we did not call the new scene scene eight because that name was spoken for. We called the new scene 7B so we didn't disturb the existing scene numbering even though we'd already shot the film. We called the new scene 7B instead of 7A because it kind of felt like the second half of scene seven. But in most cases I would've called the new scene scene 7A.
But the bottom line, the take away here, is that the scene numbers never ever change once they are assigned in the shooting script. Regardless of whatever script revisions might happen. So that's the first thing I do when making a shooting script. The next thing as mentioned previously, is to make sure the locations and times of day for every slug line is clear and stands on its own. The shooting script also usually has a lot of stuff capitalized to make sure things aren't missed. We capitalize the name of each character the first time we see them in the script. We capitalize big sounds. We could also add camera angles and movement under the direction of the director.
And then we could also capitalize those. Now there aren't really hard and fast rules. Sometimes these things will already be capitalized by the screenwriter. Or in the case of camera direction, might not ever be put into the script at all. But these are the initial changes I make when creating a shooting script. The next step is to go through and identify props, break the pages down into eighths and a whole bunch of other stuff. For me, I rely on software tools to help automate this process and make it so much easier. So we'll look at how that's done in the next tutorial.
Learn how to prepare the assets, such as shooting scripts, storyboards, and shot lists. Discover how to schedule and budget a shoot, and keep costs down while leaving room for the creative decisions that need to be made along the way. Find out how to hire a crew, scout and secure locations for each scene, and prepare props, sets, and wardrobe for actors. Learn what you need to do to keep your people safe, and the things you can prepare ahead of time to make sure production and post-production run smoothly.
There are more filmmaking tips to be had! Make sure to watch the first installment to learn about the background of the project and to get an overview of the role of the producer. Look for the follow-up episodes to learn more about writing, directing, working with actors, editing and visual effects, and everything else that goes into filmmaking.
- Turning the script into a shooting script
- Working with script breakdown software such as Adobe Story
- Creating storyboards and a shot list
- Scheduling the shoot
- Budgeting the shoot and post-production
- Hiring a crew
- Preparing sets and costumes
- Scouting locations
- Creating props
- Preparing assets for post-production