Monday, January 14, 2013

Don't Call The Shots... Seriously.

Hello all!

Happy 2013!  Wow have I been busy! Whew!

First of all, let me give you an update. MADAME KOROVA was sucessfully filmed and is in the post production phase.  We all cannot WAIT to see this hit the festival circuit. It turned out to be so much fun to direct.

The talent agency that I own with my completely best friend in the whole wild world, Buffi Holland, has taken off at lightning speed and is flourishing.  You can check out S.T.A.R.S. Talent at HERE if you would like more information. Recently we have booked talent on CATCHING FIRE of yes, THE HUNGER GAMES fame and LAST VEGAS starring Robert Deniro, Kevin Kline, Michael Douglas, and Morgan Freeman.  I'm a proud mama, too... my daughter just got cast in a feature film herself! She starts filming in the fall in Indiana.

Because I've been so busy, I haven't had much chance to write (as you can see from the state of this humble blog!) HOWEVER, I thought I would swing by and offer you a useful screenwriting tip.

When you are writing a screenplay, never, NEVER, NEVER EVER EVER EVER write in or call the shots. I don't mean calling the shots as in deciding what's going on with your character, I mean, writing:


Don't do that.

"Why, ScreenwriterChic? Why should I not do that? How else are folks going to know what I want in this scene?"

Well, to put it bluntly, it ain't your baby anymore. And it's not your job to tell the director what to do.

Once your script has been handed over to a director, it's the director who adds vision to the story and makes it complete.  You have given the framework.  Don't be sad! Your idea may be cool and all, but it's really awesome to see a director come on board with a fresh set of eyes and incorporate their vision with yours. And think about this too... if you put in camera angles and look like a complete noob and an inexperienced dreamer, you will annoy your reader, which is the person you want on your side, believe me! The reader passes on your work of art to the studios.

Now, if you absolutely HAVE to get a certain shot across, there is a way to do it and look professional and NOT step all over the director's toesies.  OR annoy your power wielding reader.

That is in scene description.


A small speck in the snow, Jessica rummages through her pack.

No food. Disgusted, she throws the pack and SCREAMS.

Okay, did you see what happened here?  A small speck in the snow?  Did you see an aerial shot with that?  And when Jessica couldn't find any food and tosses the bag, you were closer up in your mind's eye, weren't you?

Your scene description frames the picture in the mind of your reader. It's the same as calling your camera angles, but it's a much more appropriate way to do it so you don't have an offended director. Or reader.

And that's what you want, isn't it?


  1. interesting! In college they made us put in the shots...i love writing scripts :)

  2. It depends on what course you were taking, Nina. :) If it was screenwriting, they should not have asked you to do that.

    If, however, you were in a production class and you were the director or assistant director, well then that is a completely different beast because directors and assistant directors prepare shot lists.

  3. now your friendly storyboard artist loooooves a little instruction on how to frame the shots! even handwritten notes by the director!!!!