Screenplays come in three distinct flavors: master shot, shooting script, and continuity.1 Before we settle into discussing how to go about making one, let’s be clear about which of the three flavors we are trying to master.

Most of the screenplays available for purchase in a bookstore, and many that you can find on the Internet, are more accurately called continuities. That is, they are a record of what was actually shot when a film was made. They contain all the accidents that occurred on set, and the improvisations (or mistakes) made by the actors; they leave out descriptions or scenes from the original that were not shot, or add scenes that were never in the screenplay. In most cases these post-production ...

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