The Film Director’s Shot List

by Peter D. Marshall

A shot list is a description of all the camera angles for a scene and can include shot size, camera movement, character movement, coverage and cutaways. I believe shot lists are very useful because they can help guide you through the blocking process.

Like most things in the film business, there is no standard format to follow to help you write a shot list. It varies from director to director. Many directors do not make shot lists – at least they don’t show it to anyone on the set. (Unlike most TV Commercial directors who work with shot lists AND story boards.)

The thing to remember is this – a shot list is like a road map: it gives you a path to your destination but you don’t always have to follow it.

TIP: the ‘average’ dialogue scene of 1-2 pages contains 4-5 shots

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