Writing A Shot List

As well as a storyboard, you should definitely have a shot list on set. What is a shot list? It's basically a checklist of all the shots you need to get. It might look something like this:

Shot No.           Shot Type           Shot Description

1.                         WS                      Girl walks up to the house

2.                         MS                      Girl tries the key in the door

You can obviously go into as much or as little detail as possible. You could add in camera movements, or how long you think it will take to film the shot, but basically the shot list is there to make sure you get all the shots you need. The shot list can be called the wordy version of the storyboard but I'm not sure about that. I think the storyboard is part of the storytelling process and it helps you hone and tighten your script and form your ideas for filming. The shot list is more about getting your shots and making sure you have good descriptions of every shot you need so that you don't accidentally miss anything.

I think sometimes the best way to look at filmmaking is think of the actual shoot as a wedding. You have to budget, you have to organise time and people, you need to make sure all the relevant people are there at the right time and know what they're doing. So you make lists, the more detailed the better.

Same for a film. The shot list is there to help you get it done.