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Old December 23 2010, 08:28 PM   #42
Maurice
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

It's fine to give flavor, but to describe a shot in excessive detail is pointless as anyone who's ever been on set can tell you. There are all kinds of practical concerns about matched looks and eyelines and visual composition that must be decided by the director and DP and which the writer generally has no knowledge of. Describing what side of the room something is on is silly since the writer has no say in the blocking, etc.

Here's some examples of how I handle stuff like this, from the aborted "Atlantis Invaders" script:
EXT. SPACE

The STARSHIP EXETER creeps up on a blue PLANET. Sneaky. Purposeful.


EXT. SPACE -- EXETER IN ORBIT

The mighty U.S.S. EXETER has the drop on an OLDER CARGO STARSHIP. It's of Federation design but antiquated; a WWII Liberty Ship next to a nuclear powered aircraft carrier. The cargo ship tows two large tanker-truck like PODS.
In these I'm conveying what the shots should feel like rather than the specifics of the composition. That's texture without being overly specific.
INT. EXETER BRIDGE

ON B'FUSELEK working his console as Itzhak Perlman plays a violin. His fingers dance over the controls as his eyes follow the information flashing on the screens before him. We see why he's got this job! When one particular piece of data flashes onto a screen, he stabs a button and freezes it.
Here it's about what the performance is like without telling the actor how to do it.
EXT. COLONY -- RAILING -- SUNSET

Garrovick stands at the rail, looking across the sea at the setting sun. After a few moments, Callahan appears.

INT. COLONY -- CONFERENCE ROOM -- MORNING
This time the subject in the hot seat is BRAD JENKINS, the miner who earlier protested fixing Intake Four. He's older, worn down, a little scared and a lot hung over.


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