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Screenwriting with Single and Multiple Cameras

By Edited Apr 23, 2016 1 1

Film Camera
Credit: worradmu

Screenwriters can find significant differences between writing for "one camera" and writing for three. The major difference is that film producers use three cameras for live sets, like SNL and the Colbert Report. This means you will write a scene without any cuts and the unfolding events will just involve the work of the cameraperson(s) and the producers. This type of writing is categorized under "sitcom writing." This also applies to sports shows and talk shows, as you can imagine the dialogue is more prominent in these types of scripts.

One-Camera Scripts Intensify Live Action

When you write a one-camera script, things become a bit more elaborate. Here the scenes in your script become more specific because one camera focuses on everything. You can outline calculated shots to intensify the plot. TV shows, sitcoms and live talk shows are already adopting this type of filming. Writing a script by using only one camera (instead of a few) creates new and innovating approaches to film-making.

Some TV Shows Favor One-Camera Setups

In the world of television using one-camera scripts have become very popular. Dramas such as Dexter shocked the world and created hype. Since then more films and TV shows created from one-camera perspectives have found different ways to engage viewers. The beauty of writing for TV is that you have the choice to write the script in various ways, as opposed to cinematic scripts that force you into a standard mode of writing. 

Formats for Sitcoms

You can divide TV scripts into sitcoms, hour-long dramas, one-camera half-hour comedy, half-hour drama, and documentary. These categories use only one camera, except for sitcoms. As I mentioned before, sports shows and talk shows also use more than one camera. Either way, these formats are based on the hour-long drama. Learning and familiarizing yourself with that specific format is necessary in the entertainment industry. 

Learn Different Script Formats

Obviously, you must follow industry standard formats, but you don't need to limit yourself to one common format. Experiment with different formats and discover new ways to write scripts. Add more cameras if you like, it's all up to you. The above-mentioned information is merely for educational purposes, to create a point of origin for your writing. 

It is good to learn these formats so you can use different techniques in your script or screenplay. Do yourself a favor and download a free script from a sitcom: one from an hour-long drama, and second script from a one-camera half-hour comedy. Revise both of them and study the differences. A popular screenplay formatting software can also assist you by importing the script directly into its workarea. Familiarize yourself with all the elements that the screenwriters used, and then try to write a short script that mimics each script format. Practice makes perfect—if you repeat this exercise you will begin to overlap the script formats and progressively create a new style of writing. You will reap great benefits from studying these formats, and you will receive greater insight into the techniques of multiple camera writing. 

How to Write a Sitcom Script



Sep 26, 2013 11:09am
Well all that i can say is Well done.
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