Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Freedom Comes With Preparation: Shot Lists, Floor Plans, & Storyboards

One of the things I hate to hear whenever I’m working with a Director or DP is let’s “free-flow it.” Sometimes this is a necessity if you’re going into a location where you’ve had no chance to scout or see pictures. 
In most instances, it’s the case of the Director and/or DP being lazy. The freedom to try different ideas, shots, and camerawork should stem from a complete understanding of what you need. 
It is assured you’ll hit a point on set where you don’t know the next shot without preparation. Your crew begins to question your vision of the film, scene, short film, etc…

When you prepare beforehand, you give yourself freedom to play on set. When you know the shots you absolutely need it allows you to add, cut, or combine shots after each performance. 
An understanding of your scene gives you the opportunity to play with your actors. You can focus on performance rather than worrying about if the scene will play out correct in the editing room. 
It also gives your crew the reassurance you understand your role as the Director or DP. A crew or cast that doesn’t respect you will not yield positive results. 
In this post I’m sharing a few pages from the shot list, shooting script, and floor plans I put together for a comedy sketch. The entire sketch had an ensemble cast (six actors) plus three separate scenes. It was one location, but we also had the use the same location to “create” a TV commercial to transition into the scenes afterward. 

By the end of the day, after reviewing my entire Director's Book, I had cut four shots, combined two, and added three. I wouldn't have been able to do so without prior preparation. Once I marked all each cut, integration, and addition I handed an extra copy to the producer. 

The final Director's Notebook included character analysis, character and scene beats, shot list, shooting script, and floor plans for the editor. If I'd been more diligent I would've included storyboards and possibly my version of how I'd cut the scene based on the day's work.

More importantly, my previous preparation allowed me to put down my notebook and focus on the actors since I had everything planned out in my head, but I could always reference myself when I was unsure. 
A good director and/or DP realizes freedom comes with preparation. Remember this on your next shoot. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking out the time to check and comment on my blog. I love to hear feedback so if you leave a message be checking back for my reply!