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Old January 14th, 2005, 12:36 PM   #1
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Shooting Scripts

I'm looking for a book or web site that can give me some ideas on how to turn a screenplay into a shooting script. I'm looking more for the mechanics and formatting rules. I can find lots of screenplays and rules for formatting them so they get read.

I can also find some shooting scripts but there seems to be a lot more variation in how camera angles and motion are represented. Also there's little on how to go from the screenplay to the shooting script. Any ideas?

Good luck.

Dennis
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Old January 14th, 2005, 01:46 PM   #2
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The Shawshank Redemption - The Shooting Script, by Frank Darabont.

It includes camera angles and movement (dollying, tracking, etc.) as part of the scene descriotion. For example, scene 46: Andy starts screaming, muffled by the rag. CAMERA PULLS BACK, SLOWLY WIDENING.

I recommend this book for much more than shooting script ideas. It's a great read of the script, plus, Darabont breaks down each scene and gives comments on it, why it worked, why it didn't work, why it was left in, and why things got changed. (The comments on scenes 222 through 227 are a great example of why you sometimes have to cut some of your favorite scenes.

The book also includes 20 pages of storyboards of the movie.

I bought this book about 5 years ago and have read it several times. Each time I start to read it, I have to stop and watch the movie, then read the book.
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Old January 14th, 2005, 02:16 PM   #3
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There's another book like that which I have at home and I'll dig up the info on it when I get home. It's by the folks that did the production work for Swingers. It goes through the whole back end process and the gradual process of how they marked up the script for shoot planning, etc. They even have scans of their shooting scripts with handwritten notes! A great book.
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Old January 14th, 2005, 02:53 PM   #4
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Re: Shooting Scripts

<<<-- Originally posted by Dennis Vogel : I can also find some shooting scripts but there seems to be a lot more variation in how camera angles and motion are represented. Also there's little on how to go from the screenplay to the shooting script. Any ideas?

Good luck.

Dennis -->>>

The variation comes from different directors and writers describing the same thing different ways. There is no set rule for how to describe an insert or camera movement or the like in a shooting script - and as long as you are aware of what the terminology means, people will understand what you're saying.

Going from a screenplay to a shooting script is both very easy and very difficult. What you do is get far enough along in your pre-production that you have your locations picked and your sets at least designed if not built and design all the shots in your movie in order to tell the story. Figure out for every instance where you're definitely going to use a wide shot, a close up, some camera movement, etc. Do all of your storyboards (or animatics if you're particularly advanced) and once that's done, just write down all the camera direction (and any possible changes to your stage direction) into the scenes they belong in and voila - shooting script.
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Old January 17th, 2005, 08:21 PM   #5
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<<<-- Originally posted by Philip Boyer : The Shawshank Redemption - The Shooting Script, by Frank Darabont.
-->>>
Would you recommend any other books in the Newmarket Shooting Script Series? Or would one be sufficient to get the idea of how a screenplay gets transformed into a shooting script?

Good luck.

Dennis
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Old January 18th, 2005, 10:39 AM   #6
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I haven't read any of the others in the series.

I'm still waiting for Imran to give us the name of the book he recommended. That sounds like a good one. Is this it: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...id=1106069665/
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Old January 18th, 2005, 11:33 AM   #7
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No I have that book also, but that's not it. Sorry I realized that I let someone borrow it and forgot about it until this thread reminded me. I will have the info on it soon, I haven't forgotten.

This one you linked to is just the script and some advice from Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau on picking up women. A must read in its own right ;) but nothing to do with production.
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Old January 18th, 2005, 11:40 AM   #8
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Ah, I did some poking around and finally found it!

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...id=1106073438/

It's an IFP/West series book, and it just so happens it uses Swingers as an example because of the authors involved. It's not an actual "Swingers" branded book.

"...this comprehensive manual offers the independent filmmaker a single volume reference covering every aspect of making a film: script rights and rewrites, financing, breakdown, scheduling and budgeting, pre-production, production, postproduction, and distribution."

I can attest to the fact that this book does indeed provide all this info. It's a very good buy. There's also a CD included with some interviews and even some forms that are mentioned in the book.
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Old January 18th, 2005, 12:33 PM   #9
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Thanks.

Now I no longer have to explain to my wife why I'm searching for swingers on Amazon.
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Old January 18th, 2005, 11:05 PM   #10
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The boxed set of "The Godfather" shows Coppola's script notes which breaks down and expands upon the shooting script in great detail. He goes into all sorts of detail for each scene such as motivation, emotion, etc.
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Old January 19th, 2005, 05:00 AM   #11
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Where would that be exactly John? Since I have that set here....

One of the main differences between a shooting script and a
normal one is that shooting scripts have numbered scenes, like:

1. ext. lake - night

2. int. beach house - morning

(don't know if the format above is correct though!)

And if it get's a revision you can do:

1. ext. lake - night

1A. ext. beach house - night

2. int. beach house - morning

So the other pages don't need to change and everybody knows
that the big scene is still number 47 for example.
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Old January 19th, 2005, 01:52 PM   #12
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<<<-- Originally posted by Rob Lohman :
One of the main differences between a shooting script and a
normal one is that shooting scripts have numbered scenes, like:
-->>>

Yeah, I got that much from reading some shooting scripts. But I see a lot of variations in how and where the camera shots and movements are indicated. I was just wondering if there are any standards like the very strict standards for formatting screenplays. I'm writing a script for my own use so it isn't really an issue but I figured why not do it right if there is a right way.

Good luck.

Dennis
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Old January 19th, 2005, 03:15 PM   #13
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No, there is no standard. It is left up pretty much to the whim of the director and his screenwriters. For instance, you will often see the terms DOLLY SHOT and TRACKING SHOT used interchangeably by different writers. As long as you use the basic terminology to convey your visual image right, it will be fine.

Don't try and write in all the shots and camera movement in your first few drafts. Just write the story and then after you do that, figure out what you want it to look like and how you're going to shoot it. A final draft of your script is the first step in pre-production. A shooting script (and the two are different) is the last step in your pre-production.

Also, if you ever think you might shop the script around for sale, most studio readers aren't going to want to read a shooting script with a lot of camera direction in it.
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Old January 20th, 2005, 10:01 PM   #14
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<<<-- Originally posted by Joshua Starnes :
Don't try and write in all the shots and camera movement in your first few drafts. Just write the story and then after you do that, figure out what you want it to look like and how you're going to shoot it. A final draft of your script is the first step in pre-production. A shooting script (and the two are different) is the last step in your pre-production.-->>>

Yeah, I figured that out by reading some articles on the web. It's tough enough writing the script and keeping to the formatting rules. Doing camera angles, etc. would make it nearly impossbile.

As I read web articles I saw the strong emphasis on formatting the script for studio acceptance and precious little on the shooting script side of things. As I said this is all for me but I wanted to learn the right way to do it hence the questions about shooting script format.

Thanks for all the tips. I'll finish the story (script) then think about how I want to shoot it (shooting script).

Good luck.

Dennis
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