Pre production tips

Posted on November 5, 2013

Pre-production tips

There are there three processes to film making. When the film has been written, when the film has been shot, and when the film has been edited. These three-stage process may seem tedious, but the process of pre-production is a highly creative, fun, and exciting part of the film making process. Pre-Production is the planning stage of your shoot and occurs before the camera starts rolling.

Create a storyboard

Putting together a series of images to capture what will happen in the film is particularly helpful, it’s easy for other people to grasp what you are trying to achieve with your film, so it’s a useful document to share with crew members and people who will be in your film.

Prepare a schedule

When making any kind of film the shoot in most cases takes a small proportion of the time involved. There is a lot of time spent in development and pre-production, most of the time is spent in post-production, and then promoting your film and getting in seen. To help you plan properly it is good practice to produce a schedule. When scheduling a film, sometimes it’s useful to work backwards from the date that the films needs to be delivered. Even if you don’t have a set deadline, this can be a useful process. You will probably have other projects and activities going on in your life that you want to get on with. So, identify the date by which you want to have finished your film and work back from there. Allow plenty of time for editing and changes, then work out how many filming days you need, and think about whether these should be spread out over time or concentrated into a burst of activity. And then this will tell you how much time you have for development and pre-production. Ensure you have enough time to fully develop your idea and do all the preparation necessary to make your shoot go smoothly.

Choose your Cast

Picking your cast is one of the most important decisions you will make as a filmmaker, probably only second to the script you choose to shoot. Not taking anything away from the beautiful shots, inspired soundtrack and rhythmic edits but it will be the cast embodying the characters and saying their lines that will be what audiences remember most about your movie. People may say an actor was “born to play that role” and refuse to believe that anyone else could’ve played that role but actors don’t just show up at the filmmaker’s doorstep as if delivered by the stork ready made to act as the character. A director needs to make that vital decision.

The following is a list of things your actor will do or possess that will help you decide, even with only one audition, if the actor is the best man or woman for the role.

COME PREPARED. They arrive on-time or even early, bring their own copy of the script, provide you with their resume and headshots, show interest in the role and discuss it with you and are ready to do their monologue or act your scenes out with the right amount

HAVE THE LOOK. Film is a visual medium so having “the look” is supremely important because the physical features of a person can express the essence of a character in an immediate non-verbal way and if you find a person with the “perfect” voice and mannerisms for your character then you know you’ve struck gold.

LISTEN TO YOUR DIRECTIONS. You need to know from day 1 that your cast will listen to you. Some actors are very uptight about their training and experience especially if they are dealing with a novice director and this could lead to uncomfortable and energy-sapping friction on the set. Avoid this by testing your actor during auditions with suggestions to play the role multiple times in multiple way.

QUESTION YOUR DIRECTIONS. You are hiring the actor to help you mould your vision and bring a character to life. They are not simply CGI models that you command to do this and say that.

LISTEN ACTIVELY. A good actor will always be “on” during takes even if she is not saying anything and another actor is talking.

SHOW SIGNS OF INTELLIGENCE. The ideal actor for a role only has to be smart enough to bring your character to life in a believable way.

HAVE A FOLLOWING. Although one might question whether an A-list actor deserves to make the money he makes, there is no doubt that the A-lister at least gets audiences interested in the movie. That initial interest might eventually lead to eyes on the screen.

Select your locations

Choosing your location can be quite complicated, in most cases someone will own the location, and you will need to negotiate with them if you are able to film there. In some cases, the location may be owned by the council, in which you will need to get permission to film there and may need to pay a fee.

Thank about Sound.

When filming it is important to think about sound when you are preparing film. Find out if things are going on around your filming location, such as traffic noise, or if there is building noise in the area. Planning is essential, for your research first, and make sure your location is ideal for filming.

Prepare a budget (Unedited)

You may have lots of volunteers all contributing their time for free, but it’s still important to prepare a budget. Include peoples time and make a note if they are donating this to the project. Think about how they will travel to and from the shoot. Do you need to cover their expenses? Is the location charging you to film there? Do you need to feed everyone? Are actors being paid? How are you paying for tapes or memory cards? Are you hiring any extra equipment? What about the editing will you be doing this yourself? Do you need to work with an editor or hire in extra computer power? This will all help you to realise whether you need to raise some funding before you can start filming.

Prepare your actors or contributors

When filming, filming days can be expensive, think about spending time with your actors, or contributors before shooting. Spending time with actors or contributors prior to shooting can save on filming costs and help the film crew to get to each other better before shooting.

Brief your Crew

It is also good to spend time briefing your crew before the filming day. This might be by email rather than in person. But it’s helpful for them to have a run-down of what is planned, so that they can bring the right equipment and maybe remind you of things you need to think about. It’s also good to start building a relationship with the crew, so you get a sense of how you’ll all work together as a team.

the risk assessment is used when assessing any hazards, hazards may be someone falling, tripping, etc. Within the form you will include the details of what you will do to reduce the risks involved for everyone involve. Once the risk assessment has been created, this will then be circulated around to the members of the production team.

release forms are signed by the contributors to confirm that are happy for their contribution to be editing and shown. Additionally, if you are working with actors, then you will have a contact with the outlining the terms of your agreement.

the call sheet provides useful contact details for the crew and locations, maps of how to get to locations, emergency contact numbers and other useful information about the shoot. Sometimes, if you are filming outside, it will give details of sunrise and sunset times and weather forecasts.