Quick film update. Had a good meeting last night with the director and producer. I think I’m on the tenth draft of the script? I can’t remember. However, this one is 99% there. I have a few small tweaks that I’m going to wrap up today and then it’s going out to a second round of test readers. Basically, it’s done. We’re moving on to the next stage which, at this point, revolve around two critical components: building out the schedule (producer’s job) and building out the shot list (director’s job).
The shot list is a gargantuan job. The goal is for the director to map out each and every shot, detailing what he wants to see: movement, props, lighting, confirming that the shots will edit together, etc. It’s kind of a catch-22 in some ways, because he can’t create the list properly until we have locations nailed down, but the locations can’t be properly nailed down until he really knows what he wants in the shots. Essentially, he and the producer will have to work back and forth, trading shot and location ideas until they settle on the finals. The vital thing about the shot list is that, if done in enormous detail, it makes everyone else’s job easy: whoever’s wrangling props knows exactly what they have to find, the designer knows each scene parameter, locations are articulated, camera knows what he has to get, editor has a clear and comprehensive map of how the shots will stitch together, etc.
Not all projects go down this route, of course, and I’ve worked on plenty that don’t. But this method, in my estimation, is probably the most sensible way to operate. It takes time on the front-end, but it saves you time and money later on. It’s the filmic equivalent of a furniture maker creating a cut-list for his wood and hardware before spending a dime on materials.
I have to say that writing the script is probably a whole lot easier than creating the shot list…