How To Prepare Your Film For Pre-Production

Moving through the stages of preparing your film or video for shooting, can be a very overwhelming experience due to the sheer volume of work that needs to be completed before the cameras start to roll. If you have chosen to take such a project on, preparing yourself and your team will lighten the load, giving you a well-organised plan of attack.

Studying to become a filmmaker, producer, screenwriter or any role that plays a part in filmmaking; teaches you these practices with qualified mentors and teachers who have learned the hard way, on deadline and under pressure to perform. Joining a group of like-minded individuals in the industry who wish to pursue the same career, provides you with that extra comfort and support, by utilising the knowledge and experience of those who have successfully mastered the preparation of producing a film or video.

Here are some tools and ideas to help you in the first three stages of preparation

Rule # 1 - Your Script Is the Key To Your Production

Your entire production will be based on your script, it is key to have this written, revised and finalised before your start. By starting with the outline of the story you wish to tell, then you can write your treatment. This is the story you will be telling on screen, describing every detail on what will be happening on the screen. You can use your treatments as references when you are finalising your script. Sourcing the right script writing package will assist you in having the right tools. By having this in place you can use index cards to compile your story, a script writer that allows you to edit your work, revise, and make changes accordingly, which will keep you on track with the industry standards and formatting process.

Rule# 2 - The Script Breakdown

Pre-Production truly begins when you start with the script breakdown. You need to define and separate, scene by scene and line by line all the parts of your script that are going to be displayed on screen. By writing an in-depth script breakdown of your: Characters, set and dressing, props, wardrobe, special effects, and overall vision of how the story flows and interacts together. This part of the process is crucial for direction within production, having already digested what the end result will look like gives you the confidence to share that with the team knowing you are aware of every part of the script. Part of growing is also enjoying the process from the start, no matter how hard the climb is feeling good about yourself and your script makes the filming on the day easy, enjoyable and creative.

Rule#3 - Set Your Budget

To start with your budget will be an estimate of costs, allocating your funding to the areas that are required and needed to make the project cost effective, not allocating the funds to a "want" as that can be the final addition should you have any resources left at the end of filming.

Within your budget will be the costs of hiring people to help, editing, filming, set design, props, marketing, communication, food, beverages, along with your own time and costs of writing. This is the most important factor that you include yourself as part of the budget, most newly start-ups believe they can wait a year or two without taking any return, what happens by doing this is you run short in your own personally finances, therefore leaving you worried, tired and eventually you will give up on what you have worked for. It only has to be an exchange and could be $1.00 dollar a day put to one side, and eventually, you would have accumulated a small amount to look at and feel your worth on the project.

Putting a contingency plan in place is crucial, usually between 30-40% of the overall budget for those unexpected costs that you could come up. Let's say you were filming and the light was wrong, you have to go back the next day, therefore you have lost a days outgoings and fall short for the rest of the film. Once you have made the film you also need to have a budget for marketing this, even if it starts on social media sites, your own website, film festivals your time is priceless and needs to be accounted for to keep the flow and success of your film going. Before you start your budgeting set up a business plan with your financials, seek advice from professionals, banks etc... and do your groundwork and research of the costs; you may find people out there who work for less and are better fixed to your budget.

Use an excel spreadsheet or accounting package right from the start. Each day enter in your time, your outgoings, what you spent, keep all your receipts and records filed away and be organised so this pressure is removed when you are busy filming and producing. There are many wonderful mentors that are government funded in assisting for free new businesses in setting up and getting it right. Take some workshops on project management, marketing, communication this investment is worth its weight in gold as all of these factors come into play when you are producing.

There are 10 more stages before you are ready to shoot, within the Writer's Workshop® online and in person, we teach you the basic tools and skills to build a strong foundation and to create that platform and stability of producing or writing your own film, video, book and ideas. Developing your skills will enhance your possibilities and give you the basic training for pitching to Studios, Directors, and Festivals to invest in your film.

By Isabella Rose

If you would like to expand your mindset and have the basic tools and foundation for writing your scripts, preparing your portfolio and budgeting for your film, we would love you to join us online for this fantastic workshop that has been written to walk you through the steps of creating your ultimate dream.

the Writer’s Workshop