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How to write a found footage script

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  • How to write a found footage script

    How to write a found footage script

    Looking to write one of these? I just completed my last horror film and have locked in distribution. The hardest part of this entire project was writing the found footage script.

    They are so different and I think that calls for a different kind of script, but many people are sticking to the traditional cinematic scripts even though its found footage, and I think that this is where they make there mistake.

    The only way to accomplish what I did was to write out bullet points. Now im not telling you that you have to write your found footage script like this, im just going to go over how I wrote it.

    I wrote out bullet points for the entire movie. I found it extremely hard to write word for word when I didnt even know where the camera was going to be. Not only that, found footage is hard to make seem real. I originally had the first part of the script scripted out, but after some test it was not working out. There is something about the video look that can capture acting unlike a cinematic movie. So i did the bullet point with descriptions of what needed to be accomplished. This I found to work out best, though I am not saying this for everyone, I is what worked best for me.

    The most frustrating thing to me was not having control of the camera. With cinematic films, you can control some emotion and feel with the movements of the camera, like intense moments I would normally use a dolly to push in, or an opening shot I would use a crane to establish the area. I was unable to do all of these things, so I adjusted certain aspects of the filming to accommodate what I couldn't do.

    So my my thoughts are, to bullet point it out. It was a complete success for me and when the film is released I will post here the entire bullet point script.

    Nick
    Distribber - Keep 100% of your film's revenue

  • #2
    I think you're right with the problem of not knowing what the camera will do. Therefore I find it hard to write my found-footage idea out because: how big is the chance you find the director that your script needs (especially when it's your first screenplay)?

    But I think it's indeed good to think about all of this

    My second thought about this matter is this: can you sell your screenplay with the viral advertisement that you made up? Because most of the time, that's what makes this kind of film. And how do you sell that?

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    • #3
      RobDef, yea finding a director to fit your found footage will be very hard, I was the writer and director and could not imagine it being any other way, 90% of the time, the actors were holding the camera.
      Distribber - Keep 100% of your film's revenue

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      • #4
        For mine, I scripted where I wanted the camera to be and when, almost treating it like a character. I can see how rigidly following the script might not work for this type of movie, but it should be a piece of cake to bulletize the whole thing on the fly. If you are trying to sell a script in this genre, I'm fairly certain you'll have to a normal version first.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by MikeSouder View Post
          For mine, I scripted where I wanted the camera to be and when, almost treating it like a character. I can see how rigidly following the script might not work for this type of movie, but it should be a piece of cake to bulletize the whole thing on the fly. If you are trying to sell a script in this genre, I'm fairly certain you'll have to a normal version first.
          Yea, I couldn't imagine selling the bullet points I had. Only reason why it worked so good for me was I wrote and directed. If I hired out a director, he/she would not know what to do lol.
          Distribber - Keep 100% of your film's revenue

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          • #6
            Thanks, this was really bugging we, its hard to know where the camera is going to be, even if you write it, it doesnt mean its going to happen like that when the actors have the camera, (unless the director has it) So we will try this out nick and will get back to you

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            • #7
              Just write a script in usual format but make it clear in directions what you're seeing and who should be absent from view to make it clear that they're in control of the camera. A director I know wrote one of these recently that I did a re-write on. Can be a little tricky and restrictive because when writing often the opportunity arises to show other things which would make the script/film more dramatic but which would not work with found footage e.g. couple going to a haunted house and could have a POV of hidden watcher - a staple scene in many horrors but wouldn't work within found footage genre.

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              • #8
                Bump
                Distribber - Keep 100% of your film's revenue

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                • #9
                  Interesting post, do you normally put camera details in your scripts? Because it is not recommended according to my Screenwriting 1 teacher.
                  Website: http://czworld.webs.com/

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by czstealth View Post
                    Interesting post, do you normally put camera details in your scripts? Because it is not recommended according to my Screenwriting 1 teacher.
                    Who are you talking to here?
                    Distribber - Keep 100% of your film's revenue

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by czstealth View Post
                      Interesting post, do you normally put camera details in your scripts? Because it is not recommended according to my Screenwriting 1 teacher.
                      When I write found footage scripts, I ALWAYS put camera perspectives and directions in the script. This is necessary to determine exactly what is being seen and how (for example --- "POV: John's handheld camera" or "Surveillance Camera #3: wide shot looking down on the bank vault"). This type of film is essentially directed and blocked through the writer, which is rare. Normally, the director is the one who spearheads such tasks for a film. But it is almost crucial that the writer do this in his or her script for a found footage film.

                      Your screenwriting teacher is correct, however, in that camera directions are a big no-no for standard narrative scripts. In that instance, the blocking and photography details are the job of the director, DP, and 1st AD in a shooting script or storyboards.

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                      • #12
                        OK, I see what your saying now. The found footage script relies so much on perspective that you can't go without the camera details.
                        Website: http://czworld.webs.com/

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