Writing For Film

Writing For Film <—Read full article on TheScriptLab.com

This is really just advice to myself:

The writer’s job is never to direct on the page, that is to determine how the shot or scene should be filmed. That’s the director’s job, and unless you’re fortunate enough to be directing his or her own screenplay, it is never wise to dictate to the director, cinematographer or film editor how they should do their jobs. You need to write vividly with strong visuals and dramatic action so that the page comes to life for the reader.

Understandably, screenwriters see the film as they write it. They see it in shots – often very specific. But what is a shot? A shot can be quick, long, stationary, sweeping, etc. It can be anything the writer envisions, so essentially, a shot is what the camera sees? And scenes are made up of shots – either a single shot or a series of many.

But the writer should never be concerned about what kind of shots or how many. None of that matters until pre-production and principle photography begins. Ten different directors could take the same script and storyboard ten very different ways to shoot the scenes. One director might use a moving master shot, another might use a combination of a wide and two over the shoulders, and still another might use a dozen different shots, including aerials and inserts…

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