© 2015 ellathompson



Although I was more satisfied with my group’s shot construction this week than last week (despite the extremely overexposed shots), I didn’t find the exercise as interesting. This was probably because we only completed half of it… (Whoops.) I felt that the group worked efficiently, and we created a visually interesting scene from the script we were given. In fact, all of the groups’ scenes were quite dynamic and visually pleasing.

It was a challenge to shoot in story order, but it also forced us to be more innovative with our shot construction so as to disguise and cheat the continuity. Some groups opted for tighter shots over wider ones. Most groups dealt with the challenge of maintaining continuity by avoiding repeating the same shot throughout their scene (e.g. shot / reverse shot).

The class discussion about ‘shooting order tradition’ was great. I recently scheduled a five-day shoot for a JMC grad film, so I can relate to trying to find the most efficient way to shoot. Building a shooting schedule is like taking apart and re-arranging an enormous puzzle. It’s tortuously complicated. So, it was nice to finally gain some clarity and affirmation on what and why we shoot in a particular order.


Both week 1’s single shot exercise and week 2’s shooting-multiple-shots-in-story-order exercise yielded pretty decent work in relation to the allotted prep. times. Since coverage was the whole focus of each task, and we didn’t have to attend so much to other filmmaking elements like sound, lighting, performance, etc., we had the mental space to really think about the shots during the time we had.

It’s interesting to compare how we arrived at our final decisions for the single shot task and for the shooting-in-story-order task. For week 1’s single shot task, we first found a location, blocked the action in a number of ways, decided which blocking worked best and then finally decided upon how we could cover it. For the shooting-in-story-order task, we found a location, broke down the script in terms of shots, and then shot it. Since we opted for tighter shots with little action and most of the actors remained seated throughout, blocking rehearsals were not as necessary. It was carried out far more efficiently than the single shot task.

In neither task was there a single director. There was, however, a single camera operator in both tasks. The actors probably were the ones who had most input in terms of their performance/choreography. Both times, however, the task was done collectively, with input coming from all directions. This was not the most efficient approach, but it was acceptable for these tasks.

What we could have done better for both exercises was spend more time looking at the script. There were times when we would set up and start talking about shots before realising that some of us hadn’t actually read the script. We needed to spend more time interpreting the text and allowing it to inform our shot selection.

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