The Dialog / Action Short Film

Still from the 1981 film, “Raiders of the Lost Arc” (Dir: Steven Speilberg)

Your assignment: Write, Direct and Edit an action sequence in class (or on location). This builds off of the documentary we just watched, “The Cutting Edge: The Magic of Movie Editing”


  1. Form a crew of 3
  2. Come up with an idea for your action sequence with your crew
  3. Write a script (in screenplay format) for the dialog scenes
  4. Draw a storyboard for each shot in the action sequence. (The storyboard form is at the bottom of this post, and is handed out in class)
  5. Scout locations, find props as needed, and cast actors from class (pre production)
  6. Shoot your film during class time, somewhere on campus; OR, with permission, shoot outside of class.
  7. Edit


  • No weapons, sexual references, drug references or profanity. No fight scenes. No blood.
  • Characters: Two characters. You may get students in the class to act in your film.
  • Plot: The film should start with an “instigating event”–some situation that starts the action. The chase ensues. The chase must resolve or end in some way with a final short scene
  • Dialog: You must have a short dialog scene (at least three lines each character) at the start and end of the film.
  • Shots: At each moment in the film, the editor should have at least 2 shots to cut to (this is called coverage).
  • Style: The dialog scenes need to follow a traditional shot-reaction shot structure (2 singles and a two shot). The action sequence must be shot two different ways–for example, all in close ups and all hand held.
  • Edit: Each crew member edits their own version, with an alternate ending! 
  • Length: 3-5 minutes total
  • Music: Edit the chase to music
  • Finishing: Titles and credits


A storyboard form is here: