Ask the Expert: Direct the Camera Without Using Camera Directions

READER’S QUESTION

We know that long before a script becomes a movie it is first a reading experience, and that we should avoid camera directions because that’s the director’s job. But there is a definite feel I wish to communicate in my first page. Here it is.

EXT. HIGHWAY 27 – DAY – AERIAL VIEW

WE SEE the lush Florida countryside until we FIND our subject, a dark blue van.

SLOW ZOOM IN ON VAN

VIEW ON VAN – MOVING

Two characters shout at each other while the CAMERA MOVES beside the van until we see the child/protagonist looking out the window at us.

INT. VAN

Everyone is quiet.

DA

One thought on “Ask the Expert: Direct the Camera Without Using Camera Directions

  1. Susan Modregon

    Excellent re-write. I don’t know what feel the original was going for. I felt nothing. No story or characters to feel for. But they’re understandable mistakes if you don’t know. I learned a lot from “Story” by Robert McKee and Blake Snyder’s “Save the Cat” books. Highly recommend. But to the reader I’d add, did you notice how Dave used STARES instead of LOOKS? You get more visual from descriptive words like stares,glances,peeks than a general word like looks. But most importantly stay away from words like WE SEE or PROTAGONIST or OUR SUBJECT. They take the reader out of the story. You want the producers as engrossed in your story as the movie goer. The producers know the terms they don’t need it in your script. I’d suggest you download several scripts to see examples. Especially ones like your story. simplyscripts.com is an excellent source and its free.
    Question for Dave: I thought visual effects and sounds were supposed to be capitolized for the directors. Shouldn’t RUMBLES and WHIZZING BY have been capitolized if they are meant to be seen and heard? Do I have that wrong or is there something I’m missing?

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