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Pre-Production: But what to prepare first?

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  • Pre-Production: But what to prepare first?

    This might be a weird question, but what do you best prepare first when you're doing the pre-production of your film? ...The location? The cast? The crew? Or is it different with each project?

    I always find this phase really difficult because every single aspect needs to come together. Everything needs to be 'booked' on the same dates. But how do you decide what dates you're going to film? Is it dependent from the date availability of your crew, your location or your cast?

    Is there a certain order of preparing that is recommended?

    Thanks in advance!

  • #2
    Hey, you should check out this video, Film Riot : How to Plan a Movie Shoot on youtube, i had the same questions and this vid helped me out a bit, i tried posting a link but it wouldn't work but hopefully that'll answer some of your questions!


    • #3
      Thank! I'll check it out.


      • #4
        I think that the order of your pre-production tasks varies from project to project and from person to person, but generally, finding crew, then locations, then actors works the best. First, how many actors, crew members, and locations do you have access to? Second, how many actors, crew members, and location do you need for your project? Third, how experienced do your actors and crew members need to be, and how common or rare is it for the locations that you need? Fourth, how long is your film?

        If you need just a few actors and crew members and one location for a short film, you may be able to manage finding them all at the same time. If you need a very rare location that you have to pay for, such as a power plant or pool hall, then you should find the location first. If you just need houses or business locations such as a bar or an office, then you can cast your actors and find your crew members first, and then ask your cast and crew for help finding locations. If you're shooting a longer film such as a feature, it may be hard to lock down all of your locations first for specific days unless you're paying to use them, so I would recommend planning out a few weeks at a time for locations. If you don't have a large network of actors, crew, members, and locations, then I would first find your crew members. Finding producers, a location scout, and other crew members is usually the best way to go. Other filmmakers are in the same situation that you are in, and if you become friendly enough with them, they may ask their network of friends and filmmakers for locations and actors. Just like finding a location scout helps with finding locations, a casting director will help you find actors.

        I would attempt to find actors last because if you don't have a crew and locations, you waste the actors time and will ruin your reputation. You should find crew members first because they can help you obtain locations and actors. I generally wouldn't find locations last because if you do find all of your locations first, and then can't get the actors in time, you're not going to ruin your reputation by telling the location owner that you're not filming there.

        If you're having trouble finding crew members, actors, and locations, you always have the option of taking a step back from producing for a month or so, and instead, offer your services to other filmmakers. This will help you network and find more reliable people who have access to these things for future productions. Paying for cast, crew, and locations always speeds things up, but you still need connections to other filmmakers and actors.

        For figuring out which days to film on, depending on how many crew members you know, first either choose dates yourself or start off by asking your crew which dates they are available for. If you're available any time, then base the dates off of when your top crew members are available -- director, director of photography, and sound mixer/boom operator. After you figured out these dates, when casting, mention the exact dates that you are filming on. Actors will only respond if they are available on those dates. Try to schedule your filming dates at least 2-3 weeks in advance. The further away your filming dates are, the higher chance you have of actors responding.

        Please let me know if you have any other questions.


        • #5
          1) Getting Quotes and Estimates wheeled in. (summary of what you need on money)
          2) Waking up in the hospital, with massive headache, after finding out you are way above your own head.
          3) Convincing investors that your script has the biggest balls of all the others, and that you can stay "under" estimated budget. Also spamming them with work you previously screwed up.
          4) Repeat Step 3 until you have reached the age of Pharaoh Tut Nix Zur Sache.
          5) Take care of permits and licenses (all legal stuff)
          6) Coordinating what every scene requires and weed out scenes which can be shot at the same location in the same draw.
          7) schedule craftsmen and equipment for every session.
          7b) get told not to do certain things cause they blow the budget... go ahead and do it anyways.
          8) Schedule Actors, book their rooms and take care of logistics.
          Last edited by Michael Bergner; 12-29-2013, 10:39 PM.