Should I use a series of shots for this? (context- Joe previously raged in his room - knocking things over)


INT. JOE’S ROOM Joe stands up the nightstand. Plugs in the lamp. Takes the alarm clock, pauses, decides to set it. Falls into bed.


Is that worthy of a series of shots? I mean, I guess it’s jumping time a little bit... sort of?

Is it okay to use a series of shots in a spec?

Thanks!

A good screenplay focuses on the prose rather than the technical aspects of film production. Don't include camera direction. Read some screenplays online to get a sense for what you should and shouldn't include.

Here, describe the action, just as you did.

I would say it's best not to write this as a series of shots. The reason is because whether to break that up into multiple shots is a decision for the director and cameramen to make, not for you.

Remember that filmmaking is a collaborative process. Your job as the screenwriter is to provide the "blueprint" that everyone else working on the film can use to make sure they're producing the same story together. But they all have their own expertise and their own creative ideas to bring to the table, as well.

As a result, the only things that should go into your script are things that must be included to tell the story. The only time you should specify a series of shots is when the camerawork is essential to telling the story. For example, the Doom movie has a one-take shot from a first-person perspective at the film's climax. This shot was designed to look and feel like the experience of playing the Doom video game, so the shot absolutely had to be done that way in order to work for that particular story. I would guess that the screenwriter wrote some camera instructions into that scene.

But that is one of extremely few positive examples I can think of. In the overwhelming majority of cases, you're better off leaving room for other members of a production team to make decisions about how a film is shot.

You are writing a screenplay, not a "shooting script". You are selling your ability to tell a story, not trying to direct the film. It's a rookie mistake to micromanage the direction in a screenplay.

Your screenplay should be formatted like a script, and read like a script, but leave out any of the fine technical details that aren't absolutely essential to your vision. (You'll also want to avoid micromanaging the actors by being too specific about their actions.) Your version of these instructions will just annoy the people whose actual job is to figure that kind of detail out.

There are cases where the shots themselves might be a key piece of the storytelling, but this isn't one of them. If it was, you wouldn't be on the fence about it.

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