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SIC Preview: Pre-Production: Breaking Down Your Screenplay

written by Shane Hurlbut, ASC

Music via Musicbed: David A. Molina – “A Thousand Years”

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Contains over 13 minutes of extensive video content and analysis – join now and never miss another article like this!

You will learn:

  • How to mentally prepare yourself for the production ahead
    • Managing your time
    • Creating a workflow
    • Becoming one with your team
  • Understanding where to focus your efforts during the pre-production process
    • Creating a relationship with your director and how he handles a film creatively
    • Establishing a vision for the project
    • Figuring out the tools you need to accomplish that vision
  • How to COMMUNICATE the Director’s vision with the department heads and rallying the troops to get the job done
    • Becoming one with your team: Director, Producer, Gaffer, Key Grip, Makeup Artist, Art Director.
  • How to break down a screenplay
    • Analyze the story and narrative structure to pull out your vision from the screenplay.
      • Think outside the budgetary box. If you’re budget is $30 Million, shoot for $100 Million
    • When making notes, embed in a PDF file
    • Communicating your vision with the Director to become a team
  • How to create a shot list and embed it with your screenplay notes
  • How your notes and shot list translates to the screen
  • How to use camera and lighting theory to propel your actor’s performance
  • Examples from two of my feature films

Whether you’re working on a commercial, music video, short film, or feature, understanding the pre-production process as a Director of Photography is essential not only to your success, but the success of the entire production. Inside, Shane Hurlbut, ASC will break down his methodology step-by-step, sharing insight from start to finish while explaining the benefits of each of his steps. Shane will explain the best way to prepare for pre-production, share why it’s important to communicate your vision to ALL departments, show you the best way to break down your screenplay, and use scenes from feature films as examples to show how notes and a shot list translates on the screen. This is a must-have for all aspiring DoPs out there!

All videos were edited on HP Z840 workstations using HP Z24x DreamColor monitors.

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