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Ben Yennie: 5 Steps to Make an Awesome Shotlist.

Since we’re releasing our new animatic generator, we thought we’d give you a guide on how to create storyboards and animatics you can really use.  That all starts with a shot list.  So, how do you create a great shot list?  

Step 1: Director and DP have a meeting.   

After the UPM or AD has made the preliminary schedule, the director and DP sit down and figure out the coverage for the script.  If possible, it should be done after the location is locked, and diagrams and shot lists should be made based on the location in which you will shoot the scene.   It’s also possible to do an early preliminary shot list, and then adjust as necessary once locations fall into place.  

Step 2: Create a line script

The first step in a DP script breakdown is a lined script.  In order to do that, you must block off sections of the script that will be covered by various shots.  Assume that the master shot will cover most of the scene, however, you may need to break that up if any of the characters move.   

Each line should cover only the parts of the script you intend on using with that shot.  However, if you’ll be covering both parts of a dialogue you should line straight through to make sure you get the reaction shots you may need.   Make sure you include the angle of the shot, the size of the shot on these lines.  You’ll get more detailed once you make the actual list.  


Step 3: Make diagrams.

Your diagrams may well be done in conjunction with what you built in step 2.  While they’re not necessarily required, they are incredibly useful.   They save you valuable time on set.   This step should be done after the DP visits the location, as the diagrams will be more accurate and more useful.  

You can share this documents with everyone who may need to see them using the cloud storage included in your ProductionNext account.  You can even tie them directly to the scene you’re diagraming so they’re right there when you need them, wherever you are.   

Step 4. Use a shot listing template (like this one) to create a shot list.   

It’s important to note that while the shot list is a creative document, it’s also a very important logistical document.  It tells everyone how long the cast and crew will be on set that day, which is vital information for the AD to finalize schedules.  

Here at ProductionNext we're all about making logistics easier, so we’ve made a template you can download and fill out.  Once it’s done, you can re-upload it and it will work very nicely with the scheduling tools we have baked into the platform.  You can also use it without being a member of ProductionNext but you don’t get all the extra cool stuff that’s not an excel template.   

Make sure you use the fields on the template -- they’re all there for a reason.  Things like what lens you’re using and any special equipment are things somebody has to make sure are rented.  The characters in each shot can have a huge impact on how long to schedule each actor for.  

The camera movement is more than just visualization, it’s also important information for scheduling.  The AD needs to know to know to allow time to set up the dolly, or whatever special equipment they may be using. 

If you’re using the shot list in a  shoot on ProductionNext, make sure each sheet is only a single scene.  That will make things easier to organize, and play nicely with our system when you decide to upload. 

Step 5. Upload it to ProductionNext!

Finally, if you’re a member of production next (Or anyone on your team is) export each shot list as a .csv.  Here’s a video on how to export an Excel document as a csv.   Once you get it in the system so it plays nicely with our other tools including animatic and call sheet generators, item and equipment lists, the budget, and other vital documents.  

If you’re not already a member, apply for the closed beta.  The site is FREE during beta!   Click below to apply.


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