The Film Making Process (Part I)

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A lot of people are passionate about films, perhaps they even want to make one. To be a film lover is not sufficient, you need to know the process that involves in making a film. If you want to make a short film or a full length feature film this article will help you to understand the task involved in Filmmaking. For better comprehension it is divided into FIVE STAGES.

  1. Development
  2. Pre-production
  3. Production
  4. Post production
  5. Distribution

Development:

It starts with an idea which can be a concept or a character, whatever suits you best. All you need to do is develop a story which you want to narrate. Write down your story in a single line which is called the logline or premise, keep in mind you should know the core of your story well. To make the concept or the core idea more lucid, write a synopsis as well. Do not take this stage lightly and don’t be in hurry to complete your story or script because it takes a lot of brain storming, time and patience to make an idea into a great story or Screenplay.

Lot of great writers suggest: Writing is re-writing.

The story should hold the reader interest in the same way as it interests you, as you need to arrange for the finances, on the basis of the script. It is unwise to search for the producer just after completing the story, it’s advisable to write down complete Screenplay of the film because if producer likes your story then he may ask for the screenplay as well. One should be prepared beforehand. Also make a Budget of your film, if you don’t know how to do budgeting then ask for help from someone who has already been through this procedure. If producer likes the script and your project seems profitable, then go ahead with Pre-Production.

Pre-Production:

Now if you are done with the final script it’s time to visualize it. Pre-production is the process where you do whatever preparation you can do to make your shooting or production process as easy and systematic as you can. This is the process where you assemble your team according to your vision and whatever script demands.

I think first thing you should do is breakdown your script called as script breakdown. Mostly production people do this. After breakdown you get to know exactly what are the locations, props, characters you require in the film.

As a director you have to start deciding the look and feel of your film. You can sit with your cinematographer aka DP or DOP and production designer. Also collect lot of references as close to your vision to get your DP and Production Designer on the same page and discuss the elements like colors palette, costume, mood and lighting you want to give your film.

Divide each scene into shots and make a shot breakdown list with DP, decide if you want a long shot, two shot, close ups and so on. It helps you to know how many shots are there in your scene and approximately how much time it takes to light up and in what order you want to shoot them. So, the next thing is casting and location recce.

When you are done with the shot breakdown you can also start Storyboarding which will help you analyze the complicated shot or action scenes in an easy manner. It totally depends on your choice you want to storyboard the scenes or the whole script. You can hire a storyboard artist for it or you can do it by yourself. There are a few free soft wares specially designed for story boarding you can check it out on google, if they can be of any help.

For Casting you can hire a casting director or you can hold an audition. Check what are your requirements for the Actors, what should be their age and how should they look like. Don’t compromise on their Acting skill and Age parameters. Finalize the cast and start rehearsals with them.

Locating scouting or Recce is another important part. Make a list of all the locations you want for your script. Hire a location manager to do this particular ask or if you don’t have that much budget do it yourself. There are few things you need to look while location scouting. First thing is how much space it has, can you place lights and tracks as per your requirements. If you shouting indoor see if the entrance is enough big to get big equipment in if you require. Check the electric supply how much load it can take. Check if there are any sound issues, also check the surroundings for noise issues.  Check how far is the nearest hospital and market in case of any urgency. Check the availability of the location and Do not forget to click pictures of it to compare later. Lock the locations.

After you lock the location, shot breakdown, assemble you team. Now it is time to do a Technical scout or Technical recce with the head of the departments like Director, DP, Production Designer, 1st AD and the line producer. This is done to plan each and every aspect of the scene on the location itself for example like the camera movements, lighting setup, look of the scene, production design elements. So, that your team can give you the final requirements of things you need to purchase or arrange. It is also important that your team should know the location I advance so, that they exactly know where to place what and it will help them to start planning their work. Your 1st AD takes a note of everything discussed during technical recce.

Now the final part is Scheduling of your shots. The 1st AD is responsible to do the scheduling, you hire a location for a day and you should utilize each and every minute of it. So, your scheduling will help you save a lot of time. It is re arranging of shots in order to shoot it. It’s the work of the1st AD to consider the time required to set up the desired lighting, camera movement and the axis for a particular shot.

I’ll cover production, post production and distribution in the next part of this article….