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Screenwriting Tips

Expert screenwriting tips by working screenwriters



Minimize Camera Direction

Non-pro screenwriters often use too much camera direction in their scripts.

Camera direction is used extensively in shooting scripts, not spec scripts.

Examples of camera direction:

FADE IN

FADE OUT

ANGLE ON

CLOSE-UP

ZOOM INTO

CONTINUATION

SMASH CUT

DISSOLVE TO

POV

INSERT

INTERCUT

BACK TO SCENE

An example of excessive camera direction

This is typical of what we see (note: it's not submitted work):

INT. UNDERGROUND PARKING - NIGHT

We PAN across cars, come face-to-face with UNKNOWN, hiding behind one. ZOOM IN on the gun in his hand.

PULL BACK to show Amanda walking towards her BMW, unaware.

The above script sample has three separate camera directions, that's way too many. They slow the read, do not help it in any way and are inappropriate.

The scene would read much better with no camera directions.

The caveat

There's a caveat in that sometimes camera direction can be useful in a spec script: such as a perfectly placed ANGLE ON, POV and DISSOLVE TO.

But be warned, 95% of the camera direction we see is inappropriately used.

There's an art to using camera direction, most non-pros overuse and misuse it.

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