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Write camera movements in script?

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  • Write camera movements in script?

    Hey guys, I am wondering if I write down the camera movements I am envisioning for the movie. Like if there is a crane shot do I write that in the script?

  • #2
    Not if you're tying to sell the script. If it's just for your own notes, write anything you like.

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    • #3
      Pretty much as Director said, if you are planning on shooting the script, certainly feel free to do so, but not if it's a script you want to sell.

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      • #4
        Director nailed it. The Director's job and the creative fun of it is to bring your script to life with her/his list of shots.
        Shawn Rohrbach MFA
        www.shawnrohrbach.com

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        • #5
          Great info, thanks everyone!

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          • #6
            It's not up to the writer to "tell" the director what to do with the camera, so no camera directions in the script. Oddly, it's completely different in TV animation. I wrote a few TV animation scripts and the writer is expected to "direct" the camera in the script, even the editing to some extent.

            On the other hand if it's a personal project and you'll be producing or directing the project yourself, you can add as many camera movements as you like to jog your memory on set as to how to proceed with a certain scene. Usually, you'd have a script and a seperate storyboard or shot list [or all 3]. But if it's all your project, proceed however you wish.

            Adding camera moves, etc will make your script timing somewhat flexible...it won't be a minute per page anymore, so factor that in.


            Kurt Hathaway
            khathawayart[at]gmail.com

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            • #7
              khathawayart brings up a good point. Even if you're directing it yourself, your script is not your shot list. I will sometimes describe a particularly interesting camera move or shot in a script I'm directing myself. However, make sure planning your shots (making a shot list and/or storyboard) is a completely different activity than writing your script even if you have the odd shot description in the script.

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              • #8
                I would always recommend leaving out camera directions in your first draft. Even if you do plan to self produce, you may end up not finding the funding for the project. I rewrote a script for my company and made a point to take out camera directions even though we were planning to self produce it. This turned out to be the right choice because the funding never came through. Now we're thinking of selling the script.

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                • #9
                  Make it as "visual" as possible. If it's a shot from up high, then it's a bird's eye view. There are ways of "showing" us what's in your head without you actually using any camera movements of any kinds. Think and writer visually.
                  I write. Therefore I am.

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                  • #10
                    I always make small notes. But never actually script out my movements and actions like that. I seem to always change my mind and mess around with different shots.
                    http://www.youtube.com/user/TheOnlyHavey

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                    • #11
                      There's only one time I put a shot in a script. It was a magnificent shot and I think (I could very well be wrong) in a case such as this it's acceptable to put the shot in the action, because it's part of the storytelling.

                      It was a CU of the actress' breast with her face out of focus in the BG. The actor squeezes and twists her nipple, the focus goes from the breast to her stunned face. Beautiful, sick shot. The dumb fuck DP never gave me the file. It's gone forever.

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                      • #12
                        I didn't read everyones comments but I am sure they are saying the same thing I am going to say. If you are selling it you don't because it is the directors job, and a lot of times they find it insulting if you do include camera angles. You are just giving the director the sense of the scene, and then the director takes the creative license and makes the scene how they want it. Also you do not write down what the actor should be doing. It is the actors job to bring the script to life by following the directors interpretation and adding there own style to it. The writers job is to briefly describe the scene and tell the story of the characters.

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                        • #13
                          No you don't have to write camera movements unless you're going to direct it. If you're the director then I suggest first making a draft without camera movements and then on a second draft you can add the movements...

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