The Importance Of Shot Lists & Two Links That Will Rock Your World | Script Revolution

The Importance Of Shot Lists & Two Links That Will Rock Your World

Shawn Davis has been kind enough to continue documenting his journey into becoming a producer/director. This time round, he shares the trials and tribulations associated with making the jump from producing a five page script to something twenty pages long. He wants to share with us the key part of his process that made things a lot easier on the logistics. On top of that, Shawn also wants to share a couple of fantastic links that just might completely revolutionise your post-production software options for zero cost - CJ

There is a vast difference between say... a 5-page shoot, and a 20-page shoot. Oh, let me tell you...there is. Like the SS Minnow verses the Titanic difference. However, in this little story, I'm also gonna part with some seriously kick ass information that, if you ever want to do the Producing / Editing thing, will rock your world. But first to my little story.

When you're doing for instance... a 2 or 3 character, 5-page script, it can all seem to be on auto-pilot. Not to say it's not hard, 'cause it is. But at the same time, it's manageable. Script, characters, locations. Pretty standard stuff. But when you take the leap to a 20+ page, 8-character story, you really jump into the deep end. Why did I do it? Simple. First, I loved the story Nikki Lee wrote. Second, I want to do a feature next year and this is the next logical step towards that goal. Hang the carrot further out there each time...

In order to get to a 90-page story, you have to learn what it takes to pull one together. On this story, I got a taste of that. Locations permits, public discharge of a firearm permits, on site police officers during the shoot for crowd control, park location closures, craft services, and so much more. In all of this, the hero of this film shoot was the shot list. Yeah...the shot list.  What is a shot list? Well... it's what it sounds like. A list of shots. But it goes much deeper than just a list. When I first started on my shot list for Wrong Exit, it was simply designed it to be a page-XX, scene-XX, line-XX layout. Then I went deeper and went for the camera angles and equipment needed for the shot. What I ended up with was a 197 shot list that gave every single shot I needed to get the 20 page shoot done. The "on location" Bible as it were.

Picture this. 15 people on set. Police closing off roads. You're doing a rape scene with gun shots and squibs firing off. Where do you think your brain is at. It's fricking everywhere. The shot list pulls you back in and directs you to where you need to be when your adrenalin is in overdrive. Did it take hours and hours to make? Hell yeah. But there's another unexpected dividend. By doing the shot list, you're forced to go over each scene, line by line and really think it through. Down to where you want the camera, the cast and the crew.

My suggestion...try to do a shot list on a small project. You'll see what I mean. It's like a cheat sheet into the future. Like writing a note to yourself for a time when your brain can't think of such things for itself. You'll find it can be your best friend when your mind is on every thing else.

And now for the treat I promised. If you ever decide to take on the world of becoming a small indie, I have some software links that will blow you away. Out there is a massive amount of editing programs that are more than willing to take your money to give you the latest greatest software for postproduction. Sony, Adobe, Final Draft... They all have fantastic software. But I found something  you are truly gonna dig.  In the world of postproduction software, nothing comes close to Black Magic. They've been around for decades and are they doing most of Hollywood's top feature productions.  Black Magic has released to the public both Fusion 9 software and Resolve software. Seriously, if you have any knowledge of postproduction software, you know this is like the Mount Everest of editing platforms. It's hands down the best. Previously on the market for a ton of money, this software is now available for FREE. And I mean FREE.  This is NOT A HACK. It's completely legit. Not a trial version. ..Not a limited version. Full versions of both software for absolutely nothing...FREE!!!

Black Magic Fusion 9 operates  on a node platform while Resolve is time line based but has a limited (but powerful) extension of Fusion on it. It also uses Fairlight as its audio editing software.  All in all, this is a truly kick package for free. Don't believe me? Here are the links. Remember, you owe me a coke for this one. To find the downloads, go all the way to the bottom of the page. There you will see the free download links.

DaVinci Resolve Free Download

Fusion9 Free Download

**Small note -- Even though the operating software states it runs fine at 8-GB DDR, I strongly suggest a bump up to 16-GB DDR if you can. Your video rendering will be night and day with the upgrade.

About The Author

Shawn Davis's picture
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Shawn began writing in 2008 as a means to overcome a lifelong reading disorder. After several short scripts, he took on writing his first feature screenplay in 2009. Six years and several screenplays later, Shawn's highly acclaimed script Equal Retribution was reviewed and given...Read more

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Beau Thompson's picture

I was on the shoot and Shawn did an amazing job. As an actor being able to show up on set and do your job is a luxury in the indie world but Shawn made sure it was all on point. Even when things went wrong there was a fall back. I would work with Shawn anytime and anywhere. Great advice.

Shawn Davis's picture

Thank you for the kind words, Beau. It was truly a pleasure working alongside you as well. I really enjoyed watching you work with the other, younger actors as you brought them up to a new level they didn’t know they could perform at. You’re an absolute pro and It would be my pleasure to work with you again.