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Old 08-16-2018, 06:45 PM   #1
johnalia
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Camera shots in a film script

Hello! This is my very first post on this forum. I am writing my first script for a short film and I tried Google my question but couldn't find any answer so I thought to ask other fellow expert writers to help me out in this particular scene.
Scene:
''A group of 7 people sitting in a lounge, fully drowned on the screens of their phones. Now the camera slowly moves in/zoom in and shows one by one all these characters. Some are busy punching text messages and some are engaged on their social media profiles. At this moment viewers can see their fast moving hands only and the screens of their phones plus the text messages they write, or the pictures they post on their social media''
Some people say that never write the camera or shot instructions on the screenplay and leave it for the director. But in this case it is important part of the story but I have no idea how to put this on my script. Any help will be highly appreciated. Thank you in advance for any insights and for your time.
Best Regards,
John Alia
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Old 08-16-2018, 06:58 PM   #2
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Old 08-16-2018, 08:07 PM   #3
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Old 08-17-2018, 01:01 AM   #4
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Hello! This is what I think when it comes down to writing camera shots. If you're writing a script that you know you're going to direct and produce yourself then go for it, write whatever movements you need or want.

If you're writing with the intent of selling it or having someone else direct, then don't write specific camera movements. So for example, with that section I would change it to

''A group of 7 people are sitting in a lounge, fully drowned in the screens of their phones. We see that some are busy punching text messages, whilst others are engaged on their social media profiles. Their fast moving hands roam over the screens of their phones, producing endless text messages and posting a ton of pictures from the day"

Makes it clear to the director that these things need to be shown, but without dictating how.
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Old 08-17-2018, 07:42 AM   #5
johnalia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by micster View Post
Hello! This is what I think when it comes down to writing camera shots. If you're writing a script that you know you're going to direct and produce yourself then go for it, write whatever movements you need or want.

If you're writing with the intent of selling it or having someone else direct, then don't write specific camera movements. So for example, with that section I would change it to

''A group of 7 people are sitting in a lounge, fully drowned in the screens of their phones. We see that some are busy punching text messages, whilst others are engaged on their social media profiles. Their fast moving hands roam over the screens of their phones, producing endless text messages and posting a ton of pictures from the day"

Makes it clear to the director that these things need to be shown, but without dictating how.
Thank you Micster!
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Old 08-17-2018, 08:07 AM   #6
mlesemann
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Also, actions in screenplays should always be written in the present tense.

So this:
"A group of seven people sit in a lounge..."
not this
"A group of seven people are sitting in a lounge..."

Also, keep in a mind that if your screenplay references "endless text messages" and "a ton of pictures," these need to be visible in the movie itself.
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Old 08-17-2018, 08:27 AM   #7
WalterB
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'We see' is pretty obvious, since it is a movie script.

It can be condensed to:

A group of 7 people sits in a lounge, fully drowned on the screens of their phones.
Some punch text messages and others engage on their social media profiles.
Their hands move fast over the touch screens to write messages or post pictures.
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Old 08-17-2018, 09:03 AM   #8
directorik
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnalia View Post
But in this case it is important part of the story but I have no idea how to put this on my script. Any help will be highly appreciated.
What is important to the story? That they are all drowned on the screen
of their phones? Or what, exactly, is on those screens? Is the fact all
seven are buried in their phones important or are those texts and
pictures an important part of the story?

Is it essential to the story that the director moves /zooms the camera to
show them one by one? What if the director chooses to dolly across all
seven people? What if the director chooses to do individual close ups on
the screens and hands without a camera move or a zoom?
Will your story change?

Walter nailed it. Unless there is something in your mind that you didn't
mention his suggestion allows the director to choose the camera move
or angles to tell the story.

Often a writer - especially a newer one - doesn't really understand the
best way to use camera angles and moves to tell their story. Better to
stick to telling the story and leave the way it's put on screen to the
director. Even if you will eventually be the director.
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Old 08-17-2018, 09:57 AM   #9
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If you write the texts or describe the selfies it is understood they have to be shown. If you simply say texting and uploading pics, then what is shown on screen is up to the director. So if this is important simply type out the texts using proper formatting and describe anything else on their screens.
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Old 08-18-2018, 03:47 AM   #10
johnalia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mlesemann View Post
Also, actions in screenplays should always be written in the present tense.

So this:
"A group of seven people sit in a lounge..."
not this
"A group of seven people are sitting in a lounge..."

Also, keep in a mind that if your screenplay references "endless text messages" and "a ton of pictures," these need to be visible in the movie itself.
Thank you mlesemann for your correction. You mean I should use ''Simple present tense'' and Not ''Present continuous/progressive tense ?

Thanks again.
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Old 08-18-2018, 04:44 AM   #11
johnalia
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Thank you.
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Old 08-18-2018, 07:41 AM   #12
mlesemann
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Quote:
Originally posted by johnalia: You mean I should use ''Simple present tense'' and Not ''Present continuous/progressive tense ?
Yes, that's correct.
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Old 08-18-2018, 08:01 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by mlesemann View Post
Yes, that's correct.
Thanks
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