storyboards vs shot list

so looking over my footage, i realized i missed some shots. i should have had a more detailed shot list. i made one for some of the scenes, but not all of them.

my teacher at the usc directing intensive class said he never storyboards, and said a shot list is much more important. i will have to agree, and do detailed shot lists and floorplans first, and then storyboards if there is time.

i read that even john woo doesn’t like to storyboard. he only does it to appease the hollywood producers.

a shot list is pretty simple. something like this:

SCENE 1 – art school studio / working at desk

1a – W dolly of mark and amy at their desks.
1b – CU of mark drawing.
1c – M of mark drinking coffee.

that one’s easy because that only covers 1/8 of a script page (you measure pages in 1/8 increments). if you had storyboards, you’d get the same information in 3 drawings.

but when the scene is longer and things get more complex, a shot list can be more useful.

SCENE 4 – art school studio / mark asks amy to come with him.

if i storyboarded it, the panels would look like this:

1 – W amy at desk.
2 – W amy at desk, mark enters frame.
3 – CU amy sees him.
4 – M reverse over amy’s shoulder, see mark go to desk.
5 – CU amy’s drawing.
6 – M reverse, mark asks amy to come with him.
7 – M amy says ok. gets up.
8 – M reverse, they leave.

the shot list for that would look like this:

4a – W amy at her desk, mark enters frame.
4b – M reverse over amy’s shoulder, see mark go to desk.
4c – M amy.
4d – CU amy sees him.
4e – CU amy’s drawing.

the shot list has less shots because the storyboard panels for 1 and 2 are the same shot, and 4, 6, and 8 are the same shot. that means i shoot it from that camera set up all the way through the whole scene.

on the floorplan i would draw circles for the actors, and then place an arrow for the camera, and label it 4a, or whatever shot it is. then draw another camera for 4b, 4c, etc. once you see all the camera positions, you can figure out the best order to shoot everything.

i’ll have to scan the floorplans i made on the set and post them up here.

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