The Pre-Production Stage
There are 3 parts in a film production: Pre-production, production, and post-production. Pre-production is a very important part of the film production. It is the preparation stage and failing it, might create the failure of the film production or at least make it much more expensive.
The pre-production planning usually starts right after you got the finance for your film and when you have the final draft of the script. At the end of this stage, you should know how you are going to make all the scenes written in the movie script to look and sound good in the movie.
It is impossible to go through all the things that need to be taking care of in one post, but I’m going to go through the important ones and if there is something that interest you more, and you want me to go deep into it, let me know and I’ll do that. You can either write a comment at the end of the post or send me a message through the contact page.
Budget and schedule your film
- The first thing you need to do is to schedule and budget your film. Now, you should have at least some finance by now and plan the budget is planning how you are going to spend their 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 same location or could be shot in the same location (even if in the script it’s not the same place).
- Also, see if there are things you can change in the script to make the production less expensive. Read more about it in thisLesson 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 do want to look professional and you might need even a professional graphic designer.
- You should also pay attention to office expenses – that is something that usually beginner producers intend to ignore, but it affects the budget hard. If it possible get a line producer and a unit production manager and let them take care of the budget and scheduling the film.
Hiring the crew members
- After understanding your budget, you can understand how many crew members you need to have. This is a very important part and the crew you’ll choose will affect the quality of your film.
- Read the article about the producers helpers. These are crew members you can’t compromise in to be able to do your job right, but there are many more crew members you need to find: Camera operators, audio operators, production assistants, an assistant director, director of photography, a prop master, gaffers, grips, hairstylist, a makeup artist, script supervisor, set designers, still photographers, location scouts, Transportation, Mechanical Effects team, catering, security.
- Make sure all crew members share and believe in your vision and that they are available on the dates you need them to be.
- I already uploaded a post about Casting an Audition and I recommend going through it. For now, I will say that when you choose your talents, make sure they are available for the days you are planning to shoot.
- When the auditioning stage is completely done, make sure you have a list of all the actors that are acting in the film, their role in the film, their telephone numbers, their agents and every other detail you need to be handy to you.
- Sometimes having one good location can really improve your film. When looking for locations you have to think about: the size of the location, parking places, transport facilities, toilets, do you need to build anything?
- You also need to check how much control you will have on 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. Personally, when I find a location I like, I always like to walk around and see if there
- are others locations in the area, I can use. It will also be good if the location will be close to a first aid station and a police station.
- You may also want to do insurance to the locations. In the article Making a Low Budget Film, I’m talking about how to lower 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 in a day. Keep the shooting as simple as possible.
- Each day of shooting you will publish a daily schedule to make sure everybody know 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, colorist and sound designers.
- If there is a special song that the script needs, you should also think about music licensing. Al
- 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 how to save money in the post-production stage, so if you haven’t read it yet, I recommend doing it.
So these are the important things to take care of in the pre-production stage. As I said it will be 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 main crew members to make sure they have what they need and more