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Pre-Production: Breaking Down Your Screenplay

5 out of 5 based on 7 customer ratings
(7 customer reviews)


Out of stock

Product Description

Music via Musicbed: David A. Molina – “A Thousand Years”

If you are an Inner Circle member please contact anne@hurlbutvisuals.com before purchasing for a special discount.

Contains over 13 minutes of extensive video content and analysis.

You will learn:

  • How to mentally prepare yourself for the production ahead
    • Managing your time
    • Creating a workflow
    • Becoming one with your team
  • Understanding where to focus your efforts during the pre-production process
    • Creating a relationship with your director and how he handles a film creatively
    • Establishing a vision for the project
    • Figuring out the tools you need to accomplish that vision
  • How to COMMUNICATE the Director’s vision with the department heads and rallying the troops to get the job done
    • Becoming one with your team: Director, Producer, Gaffer, Key Grip, Makeup Artist, Art Director.
  • How to break down a screenplay
    • Analyze the story and narrative structure to pull out your vision from the screenplay.
      • Think outside the budgetary box. If you’re budget is $30 Million, shoot for $100 Million
    • When making notes, embed in a PDF file
    • Communicating your vision with the Director to become a team
  • How to create a shot list and embed it with your screenplay notes
  • How your notes and shot list translates to the screen
  • How to use camera and lighting theory to propel your actor’s performance
  • Examples from two of my feature films

Whether you’re working on a commercial, music video, short film, or feature, understanding the pre-production process as a Director of Photography is essential not only to your success, but the success of the entire production.

Inside, Shane Hurlbut, ASC will break down his methodology step-by-step, sharing insight from start to finish while explaining the benefits of each of his steps.

Shane will explain the best way to prepare for pre-production, share why it’s important to communicate your vision to ALL departments, show you the best way to break down your screenplay, and use scenes from feature films as examples to show how notes and a shot list translates on the screen.

This is a must-have for all aspiring DoPs out there!

All videos were edited on HP Z840 workstations using HP Z24x DreamColor monitors.

Released: 2/24/17

Shane’s Inner Circle members through 4/24/17 received this content as part of their membership.

Join now and never miss an article like this!

7 reviews for Pre-Production: Breaking Down Your Screenplay

  1. 5 out of 5



    One of your best so far. This is beyond awesome! This really gives me a better understanding of how to do story breakdowns. I struggle with camera emotion, picking the key frames, and framing to build emotion. This really helps. More, more, more :)!!! Thanks so much.

  2. 5 out of 5


    loved this!

  3. 5 out of 5


    This is the nitty gritty of film making for me. Thanks for sharing this because I’ve always wanted to know how the pros would breakdown a script. My biggest take away from this is again the use of lens and camera movement to capture the emotion of scene. I’ve never would have thought it about if I had not signed up to your Inner Circle. Thanks again Shane.

    (P.S. I know we are dealing with cameras and lighting but I would like to see insight on what the sound guys use to get that “Hollywood sound”..lol)

  4. 5 out of 5


    Again, Amazing stuff Shane! This is a Huge help because in a 4-5 Months i will be undertaking my first 2 mil budget feature. So seeing your method on approaching a shot list coupled with your older videos on expansive intimacy I will feel much better developing this list and method.

  5. 5 out of 5


    Mr. Hurlbut and Lydia, I’m so grateful for these courses! I’m sure that no one can even dare to argue that this is the best place for learning this craft! I already knew some of the things you say in this video, but hearing it again from a Director like you, makes me feel very confident. Please, keep on the good work! I will be praying for you and your family… God bless you all!

  6. 5 out of 5


    I’m about to head into my biggest film yet as a DP and am employing the tactics you laid out in the Nov. workshop and right here in this post. It has made me so much more confident in my communication with the director and has forced me to think critically about by framing selection. Not just what looks good but how it affects the viewer. Maybe these are things I would know intuitively but using your methods leaves little room for error. This is a really solid roadmap. Just what I needed. I also appreciate the fact that you only had 3 weeks on “Fathers and Daughters” yet you use the same tactics as you do in a 7 month production. It’s great to hear that driven home. Cheers Shane!

  7. 5 out of 5


    Shane, Great Great stuff!
    I love it. I am a Production Designer turned Director. You are filling in all my weak spots. I spent 25 years on set and while I did pay attention to camera and lighting. I also had a department to run. This really is a master class. This is really an Outstanding experience for me! and OMG People who have not been on a real set, this is life changing. Even in film school, you don’t get this kind of access to real budget, real decision making. The process of breaking down a script and being able to see it fully realized in a 30-100 million dollar film. Thank You! thank You! You are doing a great service for many.

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