Writing and Scheduling

Chapter 2
Successful video/film productions need
 A well written script
 Lots of planning
▪ Preproduction planning impacts production & post
 Don’t let your eagerness to shoot take away from
▪ Planning is the last time your production
▪ Is truly under your control
▪ Once shooting starts….
Movie adaptations are often different than
their source books
Why is this?
The main reasons for the difference
 Writing a book & Creating a film
▪ Are very different art forms
 Screenwriting is a very particular type of writing
▪ Writing for the eyes (visual)
▪ As opposed to the mind
Before you can begin developing a story
 You need to decide what it is about.
There are several ways to find ideas
 Once you have an idea
▪ develop a structure for it
Structure can turn a series of events
▪ Into a story
 Understanding the basic structure
▪ Beginning
▪ Middle
▪ Ending
 This is often referred to as the three-act structure
▪ Can be applied to any type of production
▪ Will help with writing shooting and editing of your film
Act I – The beginning
 Main character is introduced, along with the
nemesis and supporting cast
Act 2 – The middle
 Main characters problem gets complicated
▪ Subplots are introduced and resolved
▪ Middle of this act is middle of the movie
▪ The climax usually occurs here
▪ Bulk of the movie
Act 3 – The ending
 The main characters problem is solved
Unlike a stage play
 The acts may blend together in film
 Audience may not see clear separation between
Movies are made up of pictures
 Dialogue, talking, music and more
▪ May exist in the production
 But first and foremost
▪ Movies are a VISUAL form of storytelling
We will have a few people share what they
have written
Movie screenplay format is very specific
 Designed and refined to convey
▪ More than dialogue and scene descriptions
▪ Regardless of production type
▪ Good formatting will make your production easier.
Screenplay format (Pg 19)
 Advantages
▪ Helps determine length & pace of script
▪ One minute of screen time per page (variations occur)
Unscripted projects
 Documentaries, Reality TV, News
▪ Still require SOME writing
Two approaches to documentaries
 Inductive
▪ Shoot the subject first then edit footage into final film
 Deductive (Outlining)
▪ Write out a script, then get footage to match it
Once script is workable what do you do?
 Plan your shoots
▪ What resources do you have (or need)
▪ What items do you need for each scene
▪ How many pages will you shoot each day
▪ How much time do you have
▪ What is your budget
▪ Do you need to hire a crew
▪ What about the weather?
 There are many variables that can affect your
Let’s hear some of the details and
Going through the script to determine needs
 This may result in shooting out of order
 If there are complex scenes that require a crew
▪ They will likely be shot in succession even if they are not
in order in the film
 Easy scenes can be shot first or last
Once you have a schedule & script
 You will be ready to layout your shooting order
▪ You may consider location now
▪ Scenes at the house
▪ Scenes outside
▪ Scenes at the workplace
▪ If you can shoot all the scenes
▪ from one location at the same time
▪ You won’t have to go back
This will vary depending on your budget.
 With a big budget you can do less in a single day
▪ Won’t be rushed
▪ Can wait out bad weather
▪ Multiple takes for perfection
 If you have a small budget
▪ You might have to get it in like the postman
▪ Rented equipment
▪ Friends helping during time off
▪ etc
If you are following a subject (documentary)
▪ Your scheduling may change throughout
If you are shooting an event
▪ Your scheduling will take place during the event
Other scheduling includes
▪ Interviews
▪ Supporting footage etc.
Breaking into Hollywood as a scriptwriter is
 Thousands of scripts are sent each year, some
don't get read, most get rejected and a few make
 A main character who is driven towards achieving
a goal
 An opposition to your main character who will
hold your main character back from achieving
their goal
▪ (The Bad Guy)
 A fight (literal or metaphorical) between your
main character and their opposition
 An ending which answers the questions "Can the
main character achieve his goal?”
If your script can present such a story
 Along with a well thought out main character who
the audience can relate to
 You will all ready have the jump on most
You will switch with a classmate and add
more details to what they have written
Make sure you read what they have written to
avoid being repetitive
Let’s have a few people share what they
and a classmate have written for this one
The only way to get better at anything is to
 There are a few more writing exercises that can
really get your creative juices flowing
They are designed to help you with character
building, story structure and writing action
People You Know
This exercise will help your understanding in
creating realistic characters.
Even seemingly dull people can be interesting
or funny when placed in certain situations.
Write a list of ten people you know.
 Pick a broad spectrum of people from your family,
friends, work place and neighbors…
▪ you don’t necessarily have to like the people you pick!
For each person on your list write out a single
paragraph character description.
 Come up with one characteristic for each person that
makes them unique.
▪ Somewhere within the list, you might just find a gem of a
character to write about!
It’s Not Paranoia If They’re Really After You!
This exercise helps learn how to empathize with
characters and feel what they’re going through.
This will allow you to write your characters with
a lot of emotional depth.
 If the danger doesn’t feel real to the character then it
won’t seem real to the audience.
They’re after you! You don’t know why, but you’re
being chased down relentlessly.
Write out a chase scene where you are the only one
being chased.
 Imagine the panic and fear you’d be feeling as well as the
 Really get into the frame of mind of someone being
chased, and fearful for their life.
 To make it even more interesting write out three different
scenes, each with a different method of travel.
▪ On foot.
▪ In a car.
▪ In a helicopter, being chased by a UFO!
Write a one-minute film with one location, no
dialogue, and no more than three characters.
Sound effects may be used, but the story must
be told through visuals and action.
Ensure that your story is self-contained (avoid
writing a scene) and that it has a theme. In other
words, your story should mean something
outside of itself—it should have a point.
The length of your script should not exceed two
pages in proper screenwriting format.
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