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Before you begin collecting videos clips, you have to know what to look for. When you being to edit them, you have to know how long each needs to be.

To guide these decisions, you need three documents.

10 points for a complete set of documents: final script, final shot list, and treatment

7 points for two of the three.

5 points for only one of the three.

Proposal and Treatment

In class, while you work on your video, I will circulate through the room to discuss what you’re doing and give you feedback. In video-making terms, we will be talking about how you are treating your script and shot list.

In many video-production processes, especially those involving budgets, the treatment is written out. You are welcome to do that, too.

In two short paragraphs, give an idea of what the finished video will look like.

First paragraph: What is it about? What question will it answer? What claim will it support?

This paragraph should have fewer than 50 words.

In an essay, it is called the thesis statement. In the video world, it is used in a press release. It can also be used as the blurb in lists or on a YouTube page.

Here’s one for the recent Star Wars movie:

Three decades after the defeat of the Galactic Empire, a new threat arises. The First Order attempts to rule the galaxy and only a ragtag group of heroes can stop them, along with the help of the Resistance.

Second paragraph: How are you going to treat it? What about the pace, for example, slow and contemplative? upbeat? What about the tone, for example, humorous? solemn? How will the musical soundtrack contribute?

In many ways, the treatment is the most important document that you will produce for this course. If you get this “right”, it will make everything else possible in the next two months. I put the “right” in quotes because I want to emphasize that there is no One Right Treatment. It is certainly something you can change, but it is not something you would “correct”. So don’t be afraid.

If I gave your script to two of your classmates and asked them to make a video from it without consulting each other, they would come up with different videos. Both would be based on the same script and would contain the same dialogue, but almost everything else about them would be different. Why? Because of the two different ways that the two different directors “treated” the script. Your treatment document is your description of what you are going to do that other directors would do differently. Don’t worry about them when you write it. Concentrate on what you are going to do.

Start with your concept. Now think it through, imagine, envision. It’s the end of the semester, three months from now. We’re all sitting in the Lecture Hall. Your video is up next. There’s this pause while everyone turns expectantly, hopefully, curiously toward the screen.

What will we see?

Use words, as many as you need, to help us now to see what you see. Complete sentences are good, but you can use lists of them or within them. You can write what looks more like a paragraph.


Write/adapt/copy the script.

10 points for your own

8 points for an adaptation, part yours, part someone else’s

6 points for someone else’s

The script is what you will read as the voice-over for your video. It will probably be in paragraph form.

At a maximum, you want about 150 words per minute, thus, 450 words for a three-minute video, 600 words for a four-minute video.

Shot list

Break your script into small chunks. Next to each, write a description of what we will see on the screen. Note whether it is a video clip or an image.

NASA Video – samples and models


shot list