Content Creator, Video Producer

Making a Video, Part 1: Scripts and Shot Lists

Inspired by my Filmmaking 101 lesson earlier this week, I set off to get started on my very first video project. A perfect blend of my exploration into video production and content creation, I will be shooting a DIY video featuring the handmade Christmas gifts Ryan and I will be making this year.

This is my opportunity to not only scope out how much time and resources are required for these type of videos but also to start feeling out the style and tone I’m going for.


The first step was to draft a script. As a DIY video, most of this script will be the instructions for the project.

I will likely narrate the script as a voiceover rather than speaking to the camera as I go. This means, that the final script will likely change, depending on what the final edit of the video is like or if something happens during the actual DIY project that requires us to change some of the text.

However, it was good to have a tentative draft of the script in order to plan out the shots I want to capture during the filming process. This will make filming go a lot smoother and help make sure I don’t miss any important shots.

Since this video will simply be me speaking, I just drafted the script in a Google doc. However, when drafting more narrative scripts with characters, dialogue and actions, I like to use the online tool WriterDuet. This tool makes formatting a breeze!

Script in WriterDuet tool
WriterDuet allows you to easily mark text as action, character, dialogue, etc. and will apply the proper formatting.

Shot Lists

With my tentative script ready, the next step was creating my shot list. Again, I could just wing it and just set up my shots on the fly, as I completed the DIY project. However, I may miss an important angle I wanted to get.

And there might be shots that are good for the video but not necessarily a natural part of the DIY project. For example, I’d like to get an overhead shot of all the required tools laid out.

There are a lot of shot list templates available online. I used this one as a starting point and customized to my needs.

There are a few places in my script where I actually want to film a couple of different ways and then decide during the editing process which version I’ll use, so I’ve included both options in my shot list.

Shot List spreadsheet
I’ll shoot two options for the intro of the video, so I’ve included both in my shot list.

Ready to shoot!

With my script and shot list in hand, I’ll be doing the first shooting on Sunday, when we’ll be actually completing the DIY project. Look out for the next post, where I’ll be talking about filming the action.

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