what I’ve done so far: script breakdown

After reading this script a million times and getting a feeling for some of the creative things I wanted to do, it seemed like the next best logical step was to breakdown the script.

For those that don’t know…

Creating a script breakdown is when you tag various ‘elements’ in a scene to better understand its shooting requirements. Script breakdowns are typically put together by the 1st AD or producer during the pre-production phase. A script breakdown informs and leads into the creation of the shooting schedule and the budget.

Studio Binder

Last month I did my breakdown, extracting what props and costumes I’d need, when each scene took place, and created a preliminary shooting schedule. I’d guesstimated that I’d need about a week to film, and after I created this breakdown? I clocked in at 6 days of shooting. How’s about that?!

I was going real old school when I first started this process. I got out my scissors and cut up the script, pasted each scene on a page, and made copies of this literal cut & paste masterpiece. I used colored pencils and made notes all over these pages, transferring what was relevant (again, by hand) onto printouts of this PDF. I used a rainbow of post-its and tabs to keep track of what scene took place and when.

I’ll say this: I pride myself on my tech prowess. I thoroughly dislike notebooks that are half-full of random scribbles. The permanence of ink is frustrating. I love Notability and the ability to highlight my hand written notes on the iPad and move them around the page. I like to make things pretty.


I think that all-digital strategy hindered me–correction, has been hindering me. As soon as I went analog, the ideas started flowing and progress was made.

That said, I did eventually have to transfer my ideas to the computer, and I used Studio Binder for that. It’s my first time using it, and it’s proving to be pretty helpful! I was able to re-print my script with scene breaks…though it doesn’t look as charming as my cut & paste version. ?

The next step for me is storyboarding and creating a shot list. All of this is wild, because I haven’t taken any classes or watched someone do it first hand. I’m googling this shit, trusting my instincts, and telling myself that these are necessary steps in figuring out what my creative process is.