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Breaking the screenplay into pieces


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#1 Milian M

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Posted 26 September 2008 - 08:44 PM

How to break the screenplay into pieces and use storyboard ? I've studied some notions of screenwriting and so I wrote my first short-film, and now I'd like to learn elementary techniques to shoot it. I want to watch my script as director, but I don't have this essential notion because I'm self taught and I've never been in a set before. I can watch my film edited, how I'd like to see it on screen, but "how to break it to shoot and how to put all set-up together in editing" I'm confused, Editing and Directing are getting me a little confused. I tried to read some books, but I'm looking for something more practical and technical.

For instance
I've a scene with two actors arguing each other and I want to make four set-up, the first set-up is a wide plan of the two actors, the second is a plan of the 1-Actor, third a plan of the 2-Actor, fourth and last is a close-up of the 1-Actor.

How to format my screenplay to shoot ? How does director and DoP do in this stage ?
How to arrange the plotlines in writing ? When will I shoot 1-Actor plotlines and 2-Actor plotlines ?
How many seconds before and after each shot should I leave without acting in order to make the editing easier ?

I want to make sure everything putting in writing meticulously my short-film production before I take risk any money. I wouldn't like to have surprises or change decisions suddendly during the filming, If I change any decision then it'll be among some choices that is already thought and in writing.

Thanks so much.

Edited by Milian M, 26 September 2008 - 08:45 PM.

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#2 Mitch Lusas

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Posted 27 September 2008 - 12:16 AM

As you're just starting out you may want to get a good lay of the land. While reading books isn't everything, it'll definitely be a great start.

There are at least two topics on this site that discuss great books to read. One of them can be found at http://www.cinematog...showtopic=32188 .

And definitely The Complete Film Production Handbook.
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#3 Hal Smith

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Posted 27 September 2008 - 09:36 AM

How to break the screenplay into pieces and use storyboard ? ...................


The best "nuts and bolts" book I know of is:

Film Directing: Shot by Shot

Sidney Lumet's book is great for giving you feel for the overall process:

"Making Movies"
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#4 Steve McBride

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Posted 27 September 2008 - 07:24 PM

Think of each scene as a different movie. If you can do that it is a LOT easier.

1. For each scene (every INT. and EXT. heading) write down what characters are in it and what's going on (don't write dialogue), this is a basic scene report.
2. Once you have that done for each scene, write up a schedule for how you would shoot it with who is available when.
3. Storyboard each scene SHOT BY SHOT, don't just do major shots, do EVERYTHING. For dialogue, you can even just draw a circle and write the character's first initial in it to designate where they should be framed. It will also help in both shooting and editing to write the dialogue that will take place during each shot.
4. When you have this done, number all your shots with the scene number and the shot number (the scene number is numeric, and the shot number is alphabetical), this makes shooting and planning a lot easier.

Now when you're shooting, you just use your storyboard as your script basically and it should be a lot easier.
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