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Wesley Kirk

on 9 October 2013

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Transcript of Pre-Production

the short film basics

An analysis of every element required for production.
The first, most crucial step in pre-production.
"Directing is 90% casting."
List every character's costume changes, every prop used, every key piece of set decoration. The art director's job is to create a consistent look in what they choose for these items.

For student films, the bulk of the budget is spent acquiring these items.

Thrift stores are your best friend.

Beg, borrow, and steal (but not really).
Films are almost always shot out of order because of scheduling conflicts. This is easily the most difficult task in filmmaking.

You'll run into difficulties with the availability of actors, locations, equipment, requirements on lighting, weather, child actor laws, and a thousand other problems.
Casting Calls - a process of selecting actors.
They each read a monologue of their choice to exemplify their acting range & abilities. They leave their headshot & resume.

Monologue - a speech presented by a single character, most often to express their mental thoughts aloud, though sometimes also to directly address another character or the audience.

Headshot - a flattering photo of an actor, capturing their personality.
A small number of actors are asked to audition again. This time reading a pivotal scene from the script.

When auditioning multiple actors, considers their individual talent, and their chemistry together.

Get to know the actors, and find out if they'd be a good fit on the crew.
The director will practice several scenes with the actors, discussing the characters, their motivations, what emotions they're going through, as well as blocking out the scene.

Sometimes the cinematographer will practice shooting the scene during rehearsal to make production go smoother.

This is your last chance to recast before production.
What they're looking for:

Does this aesthetically fit the style of the film?

Does this emotionally fit the mood of the story?

Does this logically fit the world these characters live in?
What they're looking for:

What is the natural sound?

Can I hear traffic, planes, wind, air conditioning, machines, chatter, anything distracting?

What is the sound quality of the space?
What they're looking for:
Do we have to pay for this location?
What time is the space available?
Do we have electricity?
Where will equipment go?
Where will the crew be?
Where will everyone park?
Will we be blocking traffic?
Where are the restrooms?
When do we need to be gone?
What are we & aren't we allowed to do in the space?
What they're looking for:

Is it visually interesting?

What is the natural light?

Can I plug lights in?

Do I have room to move the camera?

Where can & can't I point the camera?
Take the entire creative team to scout all the key locations of the film, preferably around the same time of day as filming will be.

Everyone has different requirements to look out for.
Recommended software: Movie Magic (budgeting & scheduling)
The order of events and deadlines for a film, ranging from pre-production until the film's release.
The order of scenes & shots each day to maximize efficiency. Each shot is allotted a certain amount of time to shoot, and the assistant director keeps filming on schedule.

Includes lunch breaks.
Recommended software: Shot List app for iPad.
Raising funding
Location scouting
Casting actors
Acquiring props & costumes
Equipment checkout
Preparing locations
Edit deadlines
Picture lock
Kickstarter rewards
Online release
Your video must look impressive and engaging.

Your video should match the style & tone of your film.

Tell your personal story of why this matters to you. Sell your credibility.

Highlight how important your project & story are.
Offer a simple reward system ranging from $1 to $100 or more.
When determining rewards, make sure the cost is signi.
Update donors throughout production.

Potential rewards:
DVD with special features
Props from your film
A personal Thank You letter
Credit in the film
80% of donations are made in the first and last 3 days.

Promote shamelessly through every outlet possible.

Email family & friends, blogs with similar content, community leaders, etc.
Kickstarter is the best tool for amateur filmmakers to raise a small budget. You are given one month to raise your goal.
If you don't make it, no money is exchanged.
If you do, you're awesome and your movie is awesome.
Reach for something attainable. $500 - 2,500 can be accomplished for a student film.

Add ~20% to your budget.
If successful, Kickstarter will take 5% of your money raised, and there will be costs during production you won't expect.

If you don't think you'll make your goal, Indiegogo is an option. You keep whatever you raise.
Full transcript