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Old January 7th, 2003, 06:57 AM   #1
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: New Lebanon, New York
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Script writing questions.

I'm about to start working on my first video project. It's for the hospital where I work. They want to co-produce an educational video geared towards 8th graders to get them interested in (at this younger age) the nursing profession. It's part of a "Careers Program" organized by the local schools and various local businesses and professions.

The length of this video is set to be about 20 minutes. Basically, this video will be about an 8th grader having a snowboarding accident (staged, of course) and then being treated at various departments within our hospital (ER, OR, ICU, Med/surg, etc.). To help keep the 8th graders' interests up while viewing this video, there's going to be a lot of "action" and of "technology" shots. . . I guess mimicking the show "E. R.". Underneath all of this "action" will be voice-over "testimonials" from various nurses within each department.

I have limited equipment. Basically a camera (GL2), three lavalier microphones with mixing-board and an audio recording studio for the voiceovers. A computer to mix everything together. Lighting? Well. . . the plan is to shoot the outdoor scenes on a nice, bright sunny day. The indoor scenes within the hospital are fairly well lit. (Hopefully within a year's time I'll have enough money to purchase some basic lighting gear.)

There are about 7 major scenes. 1) Outdoor scene at ski resort where 8th grader has snowboarding accident; 2) ambulance scene; 3)E.R. scene; 4) O.R. scene; 5) ICU scene; 6) med/surg scene; 7) Outdoor scene at same ski resort - year later - where father of 8th grader has snowboarding accident.

We're finishing the outline now. With very limited equipment (and money, of course) and the goal of a 20 minute "educational" video, we soon will begin writing the script.

In reading several posts here, I understand that the more detailed the script with regards to camera shots the better. Attention will also be paid to lighting (when possible) sound effects, the action(s) within the scenes, and of course the dialogue (including voiceovers).

How do your organize your script(s)? Does everyone recieve the same script? Or, is there a "camera" script, an "dialogue" script, a "sound effects" script as well as a "master script" (that contains everything)??

As you can see I'm starting at the very beginning, here. Thank you for your time and attention!

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Old January 7th, 2003, 07:50 AM   #2
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Clearwater, FL
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A couple of comments to help you along your way. The number of scripts depends on the number of people involved. If the camera man, sound guy, director, etc. all in one then I don't confuse myself with more paper than absolutely necessary. If on the other hand, you have separate people for each job, they will benefit from specific scripts oriented towards their function. At the very least I have a detailed script and a shot list to make sure I don't miss anything.

In my experience 20 minutes is quite long for adults, let alone 8th graders. I would think what you have outlined so far would make a nice 10 to 12 minute video. The average 14 year old is very media savvy. I would try to keep it very fast paced with a lot of action.

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Old January 7th, 2003, 08:03 AM   #3
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Location: Holland
Posts: 12,514
As far as I know (and I'm not an expert here) there are two
scripts. One is the selling script which is used to sell a story
(it is supposed to NOT contain scene numbers etc.). The other
is the production script which all departments and persons
have (this one contains scene numbers etc.). I think it is common
that actors only pick out their relevant parts and highlight them
with a marker. But other than that everyone has the whole and
same script as everyone else does.... That's at least how I work.

Any "pro's" want to chime in?

Rob Lohman,
DV Info Wrangler & RED Code Chef

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Old January 7th, 2003, 08:58 AM   #4
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Thank you for your replies!

Jeff: I am the camera and sound man. There will also be a director. Additionally, there will be about 10 "principle" performers with several more different "extra's" involved in the different hospital-unit scenes. So . . . I guess about 12 scripets will do. To keep things simple, each script will contain all of the information.

Also, your suggestion regarding the video's length is well taken. Having this video's length be about 8 to 10 minutes is probably more realistic given the target audience.

Rob: Point well taken. I'm keeping it simple; it's a small production with very minimal production crew. Unless someone has another suggestion, everyone will have the same script. To make things easier for the performers, I'll high-light their parts with a marker if they want me to.
Mac Pro (12-core 3.33GHz): OS X 10.11.6; 32 GBs RAM; NVIDIA Quadro K5000; 8 internal SSDs; 2 external Raid set-ups via eSATA; MOTU 2408 MK3; various audio/video programs
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Old January 7th, 2003, 11:38 AM   #5
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
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For this sort of production, you will benefit from a two-column format script, with headings Audio and Video. The Video column serves as a shot list for the videographer; the Audio column includes actors' dialog and sound effects and narration added in post production. I would do this in a standard word processor like Microsoft Word or WordPad.

A Hollywood-format screenplay isn't appropriate for this job and won't be as effective, since this type of document's chief focus is telling a story to a production executive's hired readers so that they can boil it down to a two-page coverage. In your case, you will be personally overseeing production, you already know what your budget, crew, and gear will be, and you already have a firm grasp on the story and don't need to "sell" it to anyone to get your film made. You're on assignment already, really quite an enviable position.

So straight to the shot list with you. I wouldn't create different scripts for different crew members. One document should be the blueprint for the total production. One more suggestion. If you have a different person working on your sound design, make sure there is ample discussion before the shoot as to what sound elements will be captured on location during production, and what elements will be originated or fished up from sound libraries and inserted in post. There are many situations in which just the right sound cannot be found in the pressure of the editing room, but could have been achieved with ease with just an extra minute's worth of work while shooting, so go through each sound effect and line of dialog and decide how it will be originated. Of course, you don't sound like a novice so I'm sure you've already been through those predicaments before. Good luck, let us know how it turns out!
All the best,
Robert K S

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