Movie Pre-Production

So, this is where we actually start talking about making your movie. You've got a screenplay which tells you roughly how long your movie's going to be. And if you need a budget, there are ways to get hold of big investment into your movie if you know where to look and how to make your approach. 

There's a great desire when making a movie to get behind the camera and start shooting what's in your screenplay but that's a big mistake.  Before you can shoot a second of video or film you need to plan out your shoot and that includes:

  • Shooting schedule
  • Locations
  • Who is on set and when
  • Sets
  • Props
  • Effects
  • Budget

Pre-production is the planning that means you can focus on making your movie when you get on set. It means that as many problems have been anticipated and dealt with. It has allowed you to plan your shots so that they're in the most economical and time efficient order and that everything you need is there ready. It means that your actors and extras are ready and waiting, knowing their lines but the ones you don't need aren't hanging around unnecessarily.

Pre-production is the part you should spend a lot of time on but it's also where your Producer will give you enormous help. They are there to work through this and to provide schedules, cast calls, prop lists, release forms and everything else that would stop the Director getting on with directing the movie.

You might be in a location that's used three times during your screenplay so ideally you'll schedule to film all required shots in one go but out of sequence as a result.  This introduced continuity difficulties and weather plays a major role if you're shooting outside.

Planning your shoot is vital and a great opportunity for your Producer to take charge.  The Director makes the creative decisions but if the budget is blown on the big scene at the opening of Act 1 how can you film your grand finale with no money?

But the big part of Pre-production the Director gets involved with is script preparation. This is where the printed screenplay is transformed into storyboards, shooting schedules, plotted scenes for camera angles, lighting and sound recording. It's where the movie script starts to come alive.

It's a cliché but fail to plan and you plan to fail.  In movie making that is definitely true.

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