[Quick Summary: A cop hunts a serial murderer who taunts the San Francisco police.]
When I get stuck, I read scripts that have stood the test of time.
I'd recommend today's script for anyone who has trouble describing locations and/or spatial distances.
One technique the writers used is frequent camera angles.
I know, I know, I KNOW.
We're "not supposed to use camera angles."
- Writers can get sloppy and overuse them
- Writers are accused of "directing on the page."
However, I'd argue that they're used here (appropriately) for emphasis:
ex. "CLOSE - HARRY [on roof of Bldg. #1]
as he looks up from dead girl to skyscraper overlooking area. [The shot highlights the closeness of the two buildings.]
as Harry crosses and looks up at Building #2 in b.g. [This action points out where the sniper could have gotten a clear shot.]
REVERSE ON HARRY
Makes up his mind, spins around and exits quickly from rooftop. [This reaction shot shows Harry makes quick decisions.]
EXT. BLDG. #2 STREET - DAY
We are HOLDING on Harry as he long-strides up the street toward us. We SPIN with him as he passes and discover that we are near the base of Building #2. As Harry moves toward it, we PAN UPWARD." [This solidifies the relationship between Buildings #1 & 2.]
WHAT I'VE LEARNED: I must justify each use of a camera angle.
Dirty Harry (1971)
by H.J. Fink, R.M. Fink, and Dean Riesner