You know how to read a video script and how important pre-production really is, but there’s something else we’ve never really discussed. Yes it’s true – shooting and editing get all the glory, but it’s what happens between scripting and shooting, without which, the video production process comes to a screeching halt.
You’ve got a great script, beautiful locations and the ideal cast, but if you showed up on-location and realize there are no props, no sets were built and no actors were cast – then I would tell you someone forgot the all-important Script Breakdown. I know, it doesn’t sound very sexy, but it is very important.
What it is?
The Script Breakdown is the process of analyzing a script and all it’s elements. The breakdown is a list of everything needed for your shoot from characters and props to locations and wardrobe. It’s that information from the Script Breakdown that determines the budget and the shooting schedule. So yes, it’s pretty important.
Lawn and home defenders
In the 90’s we got permission from Columbia pictures to produce a parody of the movie Men in Black. Our client was the lawn care company TruGreen so our version of the film was called – wait for it, Men in Green. It featured 3 agents whose mission was to protect the public from an alien invasion – that just happened to leave the lawns of America in shambles.
We shot Men in Green over a period of 5 or 6 days in a variety of real world locations and on sound stages. As you might imagine, the script called for a lot of props, sets, wardrobe, special effects and yes, a creature suit. It was a really fun project, but without a Script Breakdown, it would have been an impossible nightmare.
Through the years, I’ve learned that Script Breakdowns produce three important results in our videos:
A Focused Crew
A crew always works better if they know where they’re going and what’s expected of them. A Script Breakdown tells them what is needed for each scene. And when the crew is in a “happy place”, their calm focus spreads to the cast.
A Confident Cast
Of all the people you want to be confident, the main ones are your cast. They are, after all, the face of your video. For your cast, the Script Breakdown translates into the right wardrobe & make-up on the right day. Because you want a cast to have the confidence to focus on their performance and not the distractions around them.
A Smooth Shoot
The truth is you just get more done, stay out of overtime and save more money with a Script Breakdown. Because when you know where you’re going, it’s easier to get there and Script Breakdowns tell you that and more, making smooth shoots a reality.
It’s important to note that a shoot is never “too easy” or the budget “too small” to justify skipping the breakdown. Regardless of the size of your project, you need the exercise of a Script Breakdown. Why? Because it will put your video shoot in perspective and remind you of those items you otherwise would have forgotten.