Shot Reverse Shot

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Dialog in a Screenplay Student Samples

Required Elements

  • Research
  • Screenplay
    • Write a simple 5 part dialog interchange
      • Each person should have about 5 lines of short dialog
    • Keep each line short because the actor will need to ADR their lines
  • Storyboard
    • Draw each shot from the camera’s point of view
    • Include the specific position of the main character in the frame
    • Use the rule of thirds or other cinematic guides
  • Camera, Actor, and Light Blocking Map
    • Create a map of the camera, actors, and lights placement
  • Shot List
    • List order the shots will be filmed
    • Shoot each person’s lines together
      • Example: shoot person #1’s lines all together with a slight pause between them to aid editing
  • Lighting
    • Watch Canon DSLR Video Tutorial – Portable Light Tips
    • Find a place that has natural light
      • The Commons works well, just sit close by a window and have the light fully cover the face
    • Have the actor face the window and the camera have it’s back to the window
    • Be sure to light each side of the face equally
    • Use a reflector or bounce to reflect light back onto the face, if there is not enough light on one side
  • Camera Position
    • Have the camera about eye level
    • Image from
    • Remember the 180 rule for shot reverse shot
    • Use a tripod or set the camera on a stable surface when recording
  • Camera Settings
  • Lens Settings
    • Select a wider angle prime lens or the 25mm setting on a zoom lens
    • Select MF on the top of the lens
      • Be sure to check your focus for every shot
    • Set the focal length to about 25mm by turning the zoom
  • Audio
  • Editing
    • Plan the edits
      • Are you going to just cut back and forth from dialogue lines or are you going to have another edit in between like a close up of an actor’s hands in between the shot / reverse shot sequence?  Maybe a pause to build tension?
      • How long will each edit be?
        • Edit timing is what will make the flow between actors work