Film Pre-Production

What is film pre-production?

There are three parts to film production: Pre-production, production, and post-production. Film pre-production is an essential part of film production. It is the preparation stage, and failing it might create a film production failure or, at least, make it much more expensive.

The pre-production steps usually start right after you get the finance for your film and have the final draft of the script. At the end of this stage, you should know how you will make all the scenes written in the movie script look and sound good in the movie.

It is impossible to go through all the movie pre-production elements in one post, but I’m going to go through the important ones and if there is something that interests you more and you want me to go deep into it, let me know. 

Pre-production budget and schedule your film

The first thing you need to do is the schedule and budget your film. Now, you should have at least some finance by now and planning the budget is planning how you are going to spend the financers money. You can do it by breaking down the script. Pay attention to how many night scenes you have how many scenes are in the exact location or could be shot in the same location (even if in the script it’s not the same place).
Also, see if you can change things in the script to make the production less expensive. Read more about it in this lesson, and I also recommend reading the lesson on Making a Low-Budget Film.

When making the budget, you should include expenses for the investment packet to get more money. The investment packet is something you want to look professional, and you might need even a professional graphic designer.

You should also pay attention to office expenses, which usually beginner producers intend to ignore. Still, it affects the budget hard if it is possible to get a line producer and a unit production manager and let them take care of the budget and schedule the film.

Hiring the crew members

After understanding your budget, you can understand how many crew members you need. This understanding is critical, and the crew you’ll choose will affect the quality of your film.
Read the article about the producer’s helpers. These are crew members you can’t compromise in to do your job right. Still, there are many more crew members you need to find, like Camera operators, audio operators, production assistants, an assistant director, director of photography, a prop master, gaffers, grips, hairstylist, makeup artists, script supervisors, set designers, still photographers, location scouts, Transportation, Mechanical Effects team, catering, security.
Please make sure all crew members share and believe in your vision and are available on the dates you need them to be.

Auditioning

I already uploaded a post about Casting an Audition, and I recommend going through it (you can find it in the film direction course). I will say that when you choose your talents, make sure they are available for the days you are planning to shoot.
After you finish the auditioning stage, make sure you have a list of all the actors acting in the film, their roles in the film, their telephone numbers, their agents, and every other detail you need to be handy to you.

location scouting

  • Sometimes having one good location can improve your film. When looking for locations, you have to consider the size of the location, parking, transport facilities, and toilets. Do you need to build anything?
  • You also need to check how much control you will have over the location during shooting. You want to have as much as possible.
  • Pay attention to audio problems that may occur in each location- like traffic or electricity. When I find a location I like, I always like to walk around and see if there are other locations in the area I can use. It will also be good if it is close to a first aid station and a police station.
  • You may also want to do insurance for the locations. In the article Making a Low Budget Film, I’m talking about lowering expenses in that area.

The Master Production Calendar

  • Your job as the producer is to plan each day of shooting. You’ll need to decide how many pages of script to shoot each day. Usually, it’s 2-5, but it can be a lot more if you need to save money.
  • Try not to shoot for more than 12 hours a day. Keep the shooting as simple as possible.
  • Each day of shooting, you will publish a daily schedule to make sure everybody knows what they need to do and how much time they have to make that happen.
  • The master production should include a daily schedule for the pre-production and post-production.

Taking care of post-production

  • Your job here is to find editing rooms, video editors, colorists, and sound designers.
  • If the script needs a particular song, you should also think about music licensing.
  • Think about how you want to release the film. Is it through a file? Beta tape? Film?
  • In the Make A Low Budget Film post, I talk about saving money in the post-production stage, so if you haven’t read it yet, I recommend doing it.

So these are the essential things to take care of in the pre-production stage. As I said, it is impossible to go through everything here, but there are a lot of other things to pay attention to, like:

  • creating a final script
  • storyboarding
  • funding more money
  • taking care of communications
  • rent production offices if possible\
  • insurance coverage
  • open account for the production
  • pre-production meetings with all the prominent crew
  • members to ensure they have what they need and more.
  • Pay attention to audio problems that may occur in each
  • location- like traffic or electricity. When I find a location I
  • like, I always like to walk around and see if there
  • are other locations in the area I can use. It will also be good
  • if it is close to a first aid station and a police station.
  • You may also want to do insurance for the locations. In the article Making a Low Budget Film, I’m talking about
  • lowering expenses in that area.

 

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