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03/01/2006 - WIND SPRINTS

So now you've got 15-20 pages of your, shall we say, "nicotine fit" script. OK. Put that aside and go back to the first exercise I asked you to do re: the person who cheated on his/her fianc? with his/her sister. I asked you to make it heavy on dialogue. I'd like you to go back to it and expand it to 15-20 pages, but this time including camera angles, close-ups and reaction shots.

Basically, I want you to direct the film on the page. Pretend that you're gonna direct this sucker. That means you can include as many ?ANGLE ONs,' ?CUT Tos,' ?CLOSE Ons,' ?POVs,' ?DOLLY SHOTS' and camera placement ideas as you desire.

If you have a scene in a bathroom and you want to show a character shaving or applying skin cream or brushing her teeth and you want to have twelve shots to accomplish this, do it. But remember: every scene, every line and every shot should help move the story, reveal character or get a laugh.

In this version try to be more visual. If you can "show" something, rather than have your characters "talk" about it, do it. The goal of this exercise is to help you get in the habit of shooting your movie as you write it.

Some writers aren't that visual in their screenwriting and that's OK. But if you're going to be a director, you should ideally have a strong visual sense. You should learn to rely on images instead of words whenever the scene or situation dictates.

A Close shot of a person laughing or crying can say so much more than having the same character "tell" us how happy or sad she is.

So go ahead. Expand that first exercise to 15-20 pages, using specific directorial stage directions. Try to let your camera angles and various shots make your story jump off the page!


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