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Apartment4films
12-28-2013, 12:17 AM
My friends and I are in the foundation stage of developing of a tv pilot, we have great ideas and are real confident in this project. Only problem is that it's messy. This is our first time tackling something like this. Any tips or perhaps templates you guys suggest we follow so that this doesn't become just a waste of time?

Nick Soares
12-28-2013, 09:17 AM
Hey Apartment4films,

First of all thanks for joining here! I see you live not to far from me :) -- To first find out if this will be a waste of time, let me ask you three questions.

What is your budget?

Do you know any professional crew?

Do you have local access to production equipment?

Anonymous Filmmaker
12-28-2013, 09:29 AM
Also, do you have any experience at all making films?

Brandon Podell
12-29-2013, 04:06 PM
I'm not sure how experienced you are with film, so I'll assume that you're completely new since you said that it's your first time tackling something like this.

You can find actors and crew who will help with your production for free on Craigslist's "Crew" page and on Facebook group pages. At minimum, I would provide food and drinks for your crew. You can also choose to reimburse them for travel expenses if you have the budget. Let your actors and crew members know that this project offers "no pay." If you never met an actor or crew member before, talk to them over the phone to feel them out, and then meet with them in person before you shoot anything. Don't rely on them showing up on set if you've never met them before. If they don't show up to your meeting (it can be at a public place like Starbucks) without a very good reason, then you know that they're not reliable, so don't use them for your project.

If you want your actors to act their best, ask them to rehearse their lines before you start filming. When casting, you can ask them to submit online video auditions, Skype with them for a virtual audition, or ask them to show up in-person to your audition. Cast the actors that fit your characters the best. Once you cast your actors, you can choose to have a table read, where everyone gets together and reads through the screenplay. At this stage, you can give direction to your actors so you don't have to waste valuable time on set doing so. You can also fix any flaws with your screenplay and change dialogue that doesn't sound right coming from the actors who you cast.

Making your TV pilot episode 30 minutes will increase the number of film festivals that accept your film. Film festivals are more likely to accept your film if it fits in even time slots with their other films. If your film's length isn't even, such as 42 minutes, then it may not fit perfectly into their "2 hour block," and they may not select your film.

You will need a camera, tripod, light kit, and an audio kit. If you don't have industry-standard equipment, don't let that stop you. You can find starter cameras for only a few hundred dollars. The better ones are $500 and up and some of the least expensive professional cameras start at a few thousand dollars. Even though a cell phone isn't ideal at all to shoot a TV episode with, it will work if that's the only thing that you have as long as it shoots in 1920 x 1080.

Audio is just as important as video. A professional microphone will cost about $1,000, and you'll eventually need one for indoors and another for outdoors. There are several microphones between $50 and $80 that will make your sound a hundred times better. A mediocre microphone for $269 is the Rode NTG2 ( http://www.amazon.com/Rode-NTG2-Condenser-Shotgun-Microphone/dp/B00093ESSI/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1388360537&sr=8-2&keywords=rode+ntg2 ). This microphone can get you by for indoors and outdoors if your budget is limited. You will also need a boom pole, a shock mount, and audio cables at the bare minimum. You put your microphone into a shock mount. The shock mount attaches to your boom pole. You then hold the boom pole directly above the actor's head when filming, just out of range of the camera. Try to hold it as close as possible without getting in the way of the camera. You should hold the boom pole above the actor's head who's mouth is facing the camera. If an actor's back is facing the camera, you would not need to record this audio as long as you're also filming the opposite angle. An inexpensive boom pole is about $100 - $150 and a shock mount is about $40. You'll need XLR cables, or possibly another type of cable, depending on your camera that you're using, to attach the microphone. You can attach a microphone directly to your camera or to a recorder, which would allow you to record your audio separately, and of a higher quality. The Zoom H4N ( http://www.amazon.com/Zoom-Handy-Portable-Digital-Recorder/dp/B001QWBM62/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1388355746&sr=8-1&keywords=zoom+4hn ) is a popular choice for recorders, but isn't required. I would highly recommend using a recorder so you can eliminate certain background noise that is under a certain frequency, and also so you can mix your sound while recording. While you're sound mixing, try to record as close to -12 db as possible without going over and never go under -24 db because it'll be too low. It's okay if your audio occasionally peaks, but never let it record higher than -6 db. You risk your audio peaking if you record anything over -12 or -6 db. If your audio peaks, then you won't be able to remove the distortion. Recording audio between -24 and -12 db allows you to record minimal background noise, and then you can increase the volume when editing. Before you start filming, plug your headphones into your recorder or camera and listen to any background noise. If there is any background noise whatsoever, try your best to eliminate it -- unplug refrigerators, turn off the heat and air, turn off fans, electronics, computers, and sometimes even lights if they buzz. Also, record between 30 and 60 seconds of roomtone (audio with no noise whatsoever) at EACH location.

You will also need a lit kit. You can get away with using as little as two lights ( http://www.amazon.com/Lighting-Photography-Umbrella-Softbox-Background/dp/B003Y31FHC/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1388355851&sr=8-7&keywords=light+kit ), but it would be safer if you had three lights. Here are some more-accepted and moderately-professional lights, but they're more expensive ( http://www.amazon.com/Arri-Tungsten-Fresnel-Light-531600/dp/B000SPKV10/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1388355907&sr=8-1&keywords=arri+light ). Here is also an inexpensive LED light ( http://www.amazon.com/NEEWER%C2%AE-Dimmable-Digital-Camcorder-Panasonic/dp/B004TJ6JH6/ref=sr_1_31?ie=UTF8&qid=1388355978&sr=8-31&keywords=led+lights ) that usually comes in handy -- you won't find use for this light in every scene, but it really comes in handy for places where your larger lights can't fit.

When filming video, record multiple angles of each scene. I prefer to start filming wide shots and then film close-ups. This way, by the time you film the close-ups, your actors will have rehearsed the scene a few times.

Before writing the screenplay, think of what your target market is. In other words, who is your audience -- who is going to watch your film. You don't need a target audience, but if you have one, then your film may sell better. For example, if your main character drives a Mustang, your film may appeal to people who like muscle cars, and then, you could market your film to places and people associated with cars.

If you do not have any money whatsoever for a budget, you can always find people who have their own equipment. If you don't know anyone in the film industry, you can network by offer your services for free to others who are producing films. Many productions often need additional Production Assistants, where you will be an extra set of hands to do various tasks with a low skill-level. Coming up with a budget of even a few hundred dollars would help tremendously with providing food, printing screenplays, and purchasing props.

Also, make sure that you have each of your actors sign a release form before shooting. This form says that you are allowed to distribute images and video that they're in. You can also choose to have them sign a non-confidentiality agreement, which would help prevent them from discussing your film with others. If you're attempting to sell this film, you may also want to have a still photographer on set taking photos, even if that person only has a phone to take photos with. After your film is created, you should put together press kits to market your film to distributors. A press kit should include a description of your film, biographies of your cast and crew, and photos of your film. You can also choose to submit your film to film festivals, but this step isn't needed. Submitting to film festivals is costly, and there's no guarantee that your film will get accepted. If your film doesn't get accepted, you will still have to pay the fee for submitting it. The average fee is about $50 per film festival. Getting your film accepted to film festivals and winning awards will create publicity, which you can add to your press kits so distributors can see.

If you have any questions, please let me know.

Apartment4films
01-01-2014, 01:42 PM
our experience is next to little honestly. Most of our experience is in theatre.

Apartment4films
01-01-2014, 01:44 PM
thanks man really appreciate. I'm sure ill have more questions sooner than later.

Apartment4films
01-01-2014, 01:49 PM
we don't have budget. I honestly dont know where to like set the budget at.

High School tech students.

Little access, not entirely sure exactly what we're working with

Nick Soares
01-01-2014, 10:58 PM
Check out the Downloads Section (http://www.filmmakerforum.org/downloads.php?do=cat&id=1)

It was just opened back up to regular members today, because new downloads are coming this month for Pro Members.

You can find things like a Crew Deal Memo (http://www.filmmakerforum.org/downloads.php?do=file&id=7) etc...

filmmaker6563
01-02-2014, 11:50 AM
To learn more on how to make a video/film:

http://www.youtube.com/user/filmriot
http://www.youtube.com/user/TheBasicFilmmaker
http://www.youtube.com/user/indymogul
http://www.youtube.com/user/polcan99
http://www.youtube.com/user/afi
http://www.youtube.com/user/framelinestv
http://www.filmmakingstuff.com
http://nofilmschool.com
http://filmmakeriq.com
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filmmaking
http://www.screenwriting.info
http://www.screenwriting.com
http://www.simplyscripts.com
http://www.amazon.com/Screenplay-Foundations-Screenwriting-Syd-Field/dp/0385339038
http://www.amazon.com/Save-Last-Book-Screenwriting-Youll/dp/1932907009
http://www.amazon.com/Story-Substance-Structure-Principles-Screenwriting/dp/B000E6TVNW
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Screenwriting
http://www.amazon.com/Preparing-For-Takeoff-Preproduction-Independent/dp/0415661684
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pre-production
http://www.videomaker.com/how-to/pre-production
http://www.indietalk.com/showthread.php?t=39742
http://www.amazon.com/Guerilla-Makers-Handbook-American-Edition/dp/0826414648
http://www.amazon.com/Rebel-without-Crew-23-Year-Old-Filmmaker/dp/0452271878
http://www.amazon.com/On-Directing-Film-David-Mamet/dp/0140127224
http://www.amazon.com/Master-Shots-Vol-2nd-Techniques/dp/1615930876
http://www.amazon.com/Master-Shots-Volume-Shooting-Dialogue/dp/1615930558
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Film_director
http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Idiots-Guide-Independent-Filmmaking/dp/1592573908
http://www.amazon.com/Film-Crew-Fundamentals-Professional-Production/dp/0578033445/ref=cm_lmf_tit_1
http://www.amazon.com/The-Shut-Shoot-Documentary-Guide/dp/0240809351/ref=cm_lmf_tit_4
http://www.amazon.com/Acting-Film-Michael-Caine/dp/155783699X/ref=cm_lmf_tit_7
http://www.writersstore.com/directing-actors-judith-weston/
http://www.writersstore.com/the-five-cs-of-cinematography-joseph-v-mascelli/
http://www.writersstore.com/the-filmmakers-handbook-steven-ascher-edward-pincus/
http://www.amazon.com/Producing-Great-Sound-Expert-Series/dp/024080970X/ref=cm_lmf_tit_2
http://www.amazon.com/The-Sound-Effects-Bible-Hollywood/dp/1932907483
http://audio.tutsplus.com/tutorials/recording/how-to-record-high-quality-audio-for-film-tv/
http://www.amazon.com/Sound-Design-Expressive-Effects-Cinema/dp/0941188264
http://www.mediacollege.com/audio/film-video/
http://www.amazon.com/Painting-With-Light-John-Alton/dp/0520089499
http://www.youtube.com/user/danonabouncycastle
http://www.amazon.com/The-Filmmakers-Book-Dead-Heart-Racing/dp/0240812069
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0428441/
http://www.amazon.com/On-Film-Editing-Introduction-Construction/dp/0240517385
http://www.amazon.com/Technique-Film-Editing-Reissue-Edition/dp/0240521854
http://www.amazon.com/The-Film-Editing-Room-Handbook/dp/0321679520
http://www.amazon.com/Blink-Eye-Revised-2nd-Edition/dp/1879505622
http://joyoffilmediting.com/index.php/books/film-editing/
http://www.amazon.com/History-Film-Music-Mervyn-Cooke/dp/0521010489
http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Guide-Scoring-Richard-Davis/dp/0876391099
http://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/film-composer.htm
http://www.robin-hoffmann.com/category/tutorials/guide-to-working-with-a-film-composer/
http://timidmonster.com/how-to-work-with-a-composer-for-your-film/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_grading
http://www.colorgradingcentral.com
http://www.taoofcolor.com
http://www.amazon.com/Color-Correction-Handbook-Professional-Techniques/dp/0321713117
http://www.amazon.com/The-Technique-Digital-Color-Correction/dp/0240809904
http://nofilmschool.com/2012/07/get-started-in-color-correction-and-davinci-resolve-9/
http://www.indietalk.com/showthread.php?t=50409
http://www.indietalk.com/showthread.php?t=38636
http://www.indietalk.com/showthread.php?t=37825
http://www.writersstore.com/6-lies-of-film-distribution/
http://www.filmmakingstuff.com/sell-your-movie/
http://www.amazon.com/Special-Effects-The-History-Technique/dp/B008SLF3R8
http://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/special-effects
http://www.indietalk.com/showthread.php?t=49155
http://www.indietalk.com/showthread.php?t=45351
http://www.filmschoolrejects.com/category/filmmaking-tips
http://www.amazon.com/Film-Art-Introduction-David-Bordwell/dp/0073535109
http://www.raindance.org/5-things-you-should-know-about-dslr-film-making/
http://nofilmschool.com/dslr/
http://www.tomcruise.com/blog/2010/11/05/how-to-become-movie-producer-guide/
http://filmmakeriq.com/2011/04/10-strange-filmmaking-terms-explained/
http://www.indietalk.com/showthread.php?t=18708
http://www.filmsite.org
http://vimeo.com/channels/filmschool
https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=audio+in+film&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8
https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=film+distribution&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8
http://www.youtube.com/user/MichaelGleasonDotNet
http://www.amazon.com/101-Things-Learned-Film-School/dp/0446550272
http://www.creativeskillset.org/film/business/#
http://www.raindance.org/10-zero-budget-filmmaking-tips/
http://www.raindance.org/16-ways-screenwriters-and-filmmakers-fail/
http://www.imdb.com/glossary/
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0102015/
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0181288/