I am writing a script for a short movie. How do I write a shooting script? Is it needed? What is the difference between a script and a shooting script?

3 Answers 3


Shot lists are fairly easy to write. You can draw up your own grid or download a template online. The simplest way is to have four columns: shot number, shot type, action, notes. However you can customise a shot list to include whatever you think is necessary to illustrate your vision.

Here is a template I use for simple shoots:

example_shot_list Notice that they are written in an order that would be logical to shoot on the day. They are not listed in order of how they will play out in the story.

Hope that helps :)

  • I noticed you used Celtx (or the graphics for Celtx) for storyboarding. Is is worthwhile to buy the graphics pack for Celtx?
    – daviesgeek
    Aug 10, 2011 at 17:00
  • I just have the free version and that comes with some basic graphics. I always draw up storyboards by hand - only used celtx this time because it was easier than scanning an image. So I couldn't really say whether or not it's worth it. Sorry mate
    – Chard
    Aug 10, 2011 at 21:55
  • The template link is no longer valid. Looks like the site has been hacked. It redirects several times before landing on a malware-looking page.
    – cowgill
    Dec 13, 2016 at 9:07

The script is the blueprint for your film. A shooting script can be as detailed or as simple as you want/need it to be. Obviously the more detailed it is, the easier people are going to understand what you want.

The simplest way to do it (and this is my preferred choice) is to make notes on the actual script so that you don't have to write a whole new document.

The shooting script tells your cast and crew how long the takes are going to be and which characters are in them. It's kind of hard to explain so I drew up a little example. Please excuse the poor quality of both the script and the notes: shooting_script_eg

On top of this you would usually have a floor plan which details where the actors are going to be and from which angle you want the take to be shot. Once again, excuse the dodgy example: floor_plan_eg

There's a basic example, hopefully it gives you an idea.

  • Ok, thanks so much. I probably used the wrong terminology...how do I write a script for the camera operators so they know what to shoot, etc. (Sorry, as I said, I am new to script-writing for movies)
    – daviesgeek
    Aug 8, 2011 at 15:18
  • I think what you're referring to is a Shot List. Directors use shot lists and storyboards to illustrate their vision to the cinematographers. Shot lists are fairly easy to write. Just need to write the shot number, the type of shot (eg close up), a brief description of what happens in the shot, and any other information that might be helpful. eg anchorboltstudios.com/2010/02/how-to-make-a-shotlist
    – Chard
    Aug 8, 2011 at 21:48
  • Yes. That is what I'm looking for. Sorry about the confusion. Can you add another answer so I can accept it?
    – daviesgeek
    Aug 8, 2011 at 21:51
  • The question is still 'How do I write a shooting script'. It would be misleading to other people if I submitted another answer and you accepted it. If you want to ask another question then I can submit an answer to that.
    – Chard
    Aug 9, 2011 at 0:49
  • There you go...
    – daviesgeek
    Aug 9, 2011 at 1:41

I'm a director and I designed a new shot listing software called Shot Lister. It's an awesome app that runs on iPad and iPhone so you have your entire digital shot list in your hand as you shoot. Lets you build, organize, schedule and share shot lists all on the fly. Check it out. I think it's really going to answers a lot of your questions.

  • 3
    Although I don't think linking to a product is a good way to answer this question, I can verify that it's actually a really good app. I've seen a couple of 1st AD's use it to much success. Good work on that one, Zach.
    – Chard
    Jul 31, 2012 at 9:57

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