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I'm writing a feature-length movie screenplay - well it's still at the story stage, so I haven't started to write the screenplay itself yet. I have been reading wordplayer and a few scripts to see the structure.

I've got one scene in mind where the POV is really important for maximum effect. I want to describe that the camera should be inside the boot of a car (trunk for the Americans here), pointing back at a character. It's similar to at the start of Pulp Fiction when Vincent and Jules get the guns out of the boot.

In terms of the story, it is obviously irrelevant where the camera is placed. But this is a comedy and the camera angle will make it funnier.

Should I put in a camera direction for this? I don't intend to direct the film myself, so want to do whatever would maximise my chance of selling it as a spec script.


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There are a couple of schools of thought about this. Some say that you can add camera directions for effect, some say never.

Personally, I would say be very careful about adding any sort of direction because it can be a very slippery slope. If you add it once, you'll be inclined to do it again. Start directing and you'll turn off your readers and alienate potential directors/actors. But only do it once and it'll probably feel out of place.

Ultimately, a director is going to make the final decisions about camera placement and angles, regardless of what you put in your script. Any camera angles you spell out in your script are going to be suggestions at best. You are better off convincing them that this bit is funny by showing in the action why it's funny.

I would say do your absolute best to try and describe the scene, sans POV. Describe the sky behind them, the way they are looking down, the darkness of the boot. Give it a few tries and let some other people read through it. If they understand what's going on, you've done it. If not, then you might need to fall back on straight POV. But at least you gave it your best.

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Writing any camera directions whatsoever is considered to be intrusive by potential readers of your script (be they readers for a production house or potential directors). Try to look at your scene objectively. Does it really need a camera direction in the slug? Or, could one short sentence in the action lines serve to do the same sort of thing?

Once the script is out of your hands you are just going to have to live with what the director wants to do with it. If you are truly interested in writing for the screen you should get used to the idea that even though you picture a scene as being funnier/more exciting/sexier/what-have-you from certain angles, the director might not see it the same way. He or she might even cut that scene to make the movie flow better. Sad, I know.

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