Pre-production – Plan It!

Script Breakdown / Storyboards

Once the script is written and locked, this is a great time to break down your script. One great way to visualize your story and to effectively shoot your film is to storyboard your film. This will help save time shooting and you will know exactly what needs to be shot. Storyboards do not have to be perfect. As of matter of fact, they can be stick figures and even textual based. You could even draw a plan view of the room you are shooting in and the placement of the characters, camera, and lights.

Once the storyboard is drawn out, you could even color-code each box with a marker to represent what actors will be in each shot. You just have to find the best way that works for you. Perhaps take a bunch of pictures with your phone and put them into a slideshow. This visual representation will help your cast and crew what you want to shoot, but will also help them know of the next shot as well so setting up will be that much faster.

Location Scout

Location Scouting. When writing your script, you should have a few locations in your mind that you would like to shoot in. Perhaps your bathroom, under a bed, in a dark closet, your garage, or even the deck in your back yard.

If you have access to your parent’s work, perhaps you could shoot a small scene in their office or workspace. Sometimes businesses will want to charge money to shoot in their location which is completely understandable. They may rely on a business that day and if you are renting their space, they could lose money so they would hopefully want to gain that money lost in time.

However; some businesses may love for you to shoot your movie as it would ultimately help promote their business. Just be ready to change the script if a location falls through or is unavailable at the last minute.

Find Your Actors

As you started your scriptwriting process, you should have reached out to your family or friends and found some people who would like to be in your film. Can’t find anyone? You can always be an actor too.

Find an actor who best plays the part. Does a kid work well to play the part of an Army Captain or President of a mega-corporation? Have them read the lines of the script to see if they are a good fit for the part. Do you have animals and how well are they trained? Do you have the patience to work with cats? Keep that in mind before writing their parts.

Find Your Crew

BTS Set of “Rack”

Crew can be your family members, friends or if you are clever enough, you. Perhaps you have a few pieces of string, some wheels and remote control to turn, pan or dolly your camera on your own.

Crew members can help you run the camera, gather food for the set, light the scene, or even record your sound. To hire a crew, you’ll always want to reward them so always feed your crew or offer a favor in return for their help. Who knows… Maybe they’ll be happy to help you for free. It never hurts to ask.

Curious to know more about Crew? This video is wonderful on breaking down the various roles.

Video by Filmmaker IQ

Gather Your Equipment

The one object you’ll need is a camera. Without a camera, how can you make a film? Sure, you could draw everything on your computer but that’s a whole other style of filmmaking. You’ll also want to consider lights and a way to record sound.

You can use just about any light source you have available to you. The Sun is a great and FREE source of light. Find a window in a room, a small LED desk lamp or if your camera has a High Dynamic range, you could practically shoot in the moonlight or by candles.

Borrow your parent’s cell phone if do not have a phone yourself. Just be sure to take the best care of it while on set. If it breaks, the movie can down the tubes quick! If you have access to a DSLR camera, even better as you’ll have better picture quality and a wider selection of lenses. A camera tripod is a great accessory and can be used for multiple ways and can function more than just an object to hold the camera.

A good microphone will help record clean sound. After all, a film is 50% sound. If you do not have access to these, don’t worry. You just need to find a way around it. Perhaps a character can show his or her actions without actually having to speak them.

Set a Date!

“A Goal Without a Timeline is Simply a Dream”

Setting a day to shoot your film may well be one of the hardest things to do when making a movie. However; once you set that date, the hard anxiety, stress, and excitement could turn off, or jumpstart a whole new set of emotions. Once set, it is on. There’s no going back and it will give you a solid moment in time to strive towards. Since this is a Filmmaking Class that takes place in one week, know that we are going to start shooting tomorrow.

So… The hard part is done and the date has been set for you.

Next film date? It’s up to you.

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