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Casablanca in the Classroom
School Pre-Production
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Tips for Typing Video Scripts

  • Double or triple space between lines. This makes it less likely that the reader will get lost while reading your script.
  • Type your script so that each line of text goes only halfway across the page. Shorter lines are easier to read. This is especially true when talent has to read a script live, in front of the camera.

    Mark your scripts for easier reading. Use the following techniques when writing your scripts:
  • comma ( , ) = . . . this makes skipping over commas less likely
  • period ( . ) = / same for periods
  • end of paragraph = // same for paragraphs
  • pronunciation = use CAPITAL and lowercase letters inside ellipses immediately after word to be clarified, e.g. "pronunciation"
  • to emphasize words = underline them
  • to really emphasize = double-underline them
  • Sometimes, you may want a word to be said a certain way, with an upward or downward inflection of the voice:
  • for upward inflection = put a carat above the word to be inflected
  • for downward inflection = put an upside-down carat above the inflected word.
Roles for the Crew
Before you begin production, however, a number of key roles need to be filled. There's no rule, however, that requires each role to go to a different person. In fact, most smaller prodcutions require that each person take on several roles at once.

The Production Crew
Four persons is a good size for a production team in a single-camera shoot. Each person below has unique responsibilities:

Producer/Director - The Producer/Director is the main person in charge of the production. Oversees acquisition of images, according to the plan. Decides when to move on to the next scene, and whether additional takes are necessary.

Camera Operator
Camera Operator - The Camera Operator operates the video camera. Makes sure that shots are well composed, and that quality images are acquired. The camera operator is also usually responsible for making sure that good quality audio is acquired. For this reason, the camera operator should use headphones, whenever possible, to listen to audio as it is being recorded.

Production Assistant
Production Assistant - The Production Assistant (PA) is the utility player on the production crew. The grip helps carry equipment to the shoot, helps talent with microphones, holds bounce boards for outdoor lighting, and does anything else the Producer/Director requests.

Talent - Talent is the performer or performers in front of the camera. They are responsible for delivering an error-free and convincing presentation onscreen.

Shooting - Make sure your camera is on a tripod whenever possible. If a tripod is impractical, zoom the camera out all the way and get close to the subject - this will minimize 'camera shake.' Use an external microphone whenever possible. Auxiliary lighting may be necessary for quality image reproduction.
Production Basics
Production is the process of acquiring images and sound for your video project. These are usually recorded by shooting a number of scenes and takes.

Shooting Multiple Scenes and Takes
Scenes - Recording a number of shorter scenes is usually preferable to shooting one long one. Decide on a system for identifying various scenes (Scene 1, Scene 2, etc.).

Takes - If someone makes a mistake during recording, do other takes of the scene until success is achieved. Identify the various takes of each scene - saying the words aloud "Scene 1, Take 2" and so on will help to determine which scenes and takes were the most successful, upon later viewing.

When the camera person begins recording a scene, the director should wait for 5 seconds, then call out the scene and take. The 5 seconds allows for the time required for video cameras to get "up to speed" and prevents words from being "cut off." After calling the scene and take, the director can "cue" the talent to begin talking.

After the talent is done talking, he/she should continue to look directly at the camera
until the director says "cut." Inexperienced talent will tend to look away from the camera
immediately after their last word.

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