Most people only think of the man behind the camera to only be behind the camera, but in reality it is best if the cinematographer plays a bigger role in pre production as well. Script break down is prominent to the Unit Production Manager, art department, actors, and various other departments. Although Director of photography does not fall under one of those departments, he should play a part in the script breakdown. In article found on nofilmschool.com, it says "Shane Hulburt once said, if you make every choice as a cinematographer based on the emotions of your characters, you will hit a home run every time." He was right. For the cinematographer to capture the emotion of the characters, he must know the characters and the subtext of the film very well. This is why he must do a script breakdown. Now it does not have to be in any specific format, it just needs to be done so the cinematographer is intimate with the text and characters.
The Technical Breakdown of the Script
The technical breakdown done by the cinematographer is when the script is looked over line by line to scan for technical issues based on the films budget. The cinematographer should decide what camera accessories he needs for the shot, a shoulder mount, a jib, a crane. He must also look for any other technical issues that might propose obstacles on set. Once obstacles and accessories are noted, then the paper work can go on to other departments such as the AP to ensure they are all identified and addressed.
Character Break Downs
Because the cinematographer is responsible to make the emotion of each character come alive through the lens of camera, he must know each character very well. He must know what each character is thinking and feeling at any given moment of the script. Each character's arc in the story must be recognized as well. The cinematographer needs to know how the character was in the beginning, how and why it changed, and the end result of the change. All these things are very important for the cinematographer to know. If he doesn't know the story he is supposed to paint then how can he help paint it.