Posted: November 2, 2011 by Alan Hardcastle in FdA 11_13
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So, you have your idea. As a first go, you should be keeping it simple. No car chases and convoluted plot twists involving multiple locations – this is all about using the studio as effectively as possible.

First thing you need is to turn that synopsis into a script.

Formatting a script can be quite convoluted. The basic thing to ask yourself is “how is it being produced?” This will influence the layout and how you write.

You need to write for the format of the production – so, if it is single camera, you can have lots of cuts, tell the story in close up and and have complex setups that need to camera to get into every nook and cranny to let the audience know what’s happening, because the nature of the single camera production is to get the right performance for the story.

If it is a multicam production, you tend to be capturing the performance that happens – live events, as live studio productions etc. There tends to be little room for subtleties, ECU or detail shots, just what happens.

The layouts reflect this. With a single camera, you need to focus on what we are seeing – describing the actions of the characters. Giving them good, realistic dialogue etc. The job of the camera is then to capture what is needed to communicate that visually. The first difference noted on a multi-cam script will be the big gap on the left hand side so that notes can be made for the individual cameras, as we now have multiple viewpoints to plan for.

The format can be explored easily via programmes like celtx, which can also help you plan the production. Otherwise, there are a variety of word templates you can use which allow you to set the elements using styles.

Next up, is your Storyboard. This is where you start sketching how the audience is going to see the final piece. Here is a section from “The DV Rebels Guide” about storyboarding. And a blank storyboard or two to get you started.

While this deals mainly with action / drama type scenes, you can use the same technique for as live studio shows. The kind of camera angles you are using will have a huge influence on how you audience perceive the final product – so think about them and plan how you are using them.

This only leaves the artistic design to consider – Set, Costume etc – do you need some woodworking friends to help you? Do you needs things made? It can be hard to source props, costume, sets etc, so even before your script is finished you will need to send people off to find these things!

And that’s before we start on cast…




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