From the initial idea to the final export of your film, there are lots of steps you need to do which will help you achieve The Film Look. It’s kind of like playing a game of Monopoly.
Let me explain.
Every film starts of with an idea. Some ideas will be good, some bad, and sometimes you just have to make them to find out.
An idea is nothing unless you have a script.
The first properties on a monopoly board are not the most desirable at the start of the game, but in the case of filmmaking these are the most valuable.
Investing time is all you will need to do at this stage of the game, and developing your idea by writing the 1st, 2nd, 3rd or how many drafts of your film should be done now.
Once you have a draft you are happy with, take a chance and let others read it. Take their feedback onboard, make changes where needed, and work on it until you have a final draft you are happy with.
Having a solid script will definitely be your get out of jail free card when you are on set shooting it.
You want to be spending more time in pre-production that you do in production. Having a thought-out production plan will help make the shoot go a lot smoother.
First you want to invest in someone who can help you produce the film.
Depending on the level of film you are trying to make, this person could have a lot of experience or none at all, but they need to be as passionate as you are.
Next you can work out the budget for the film. Whatever it is, start to assemble your cast and crew. Invest as much time and energy as you can here; these are the people who will be helping make your film a reality.
Scout around and find the locations for your film. We have a video about how to do that if you want to check it out.
Build a production plan that is made up of your shots list, storyboards, and shooting schedule. Be organised but don't advance to shooting just yet.
Spend time and money on the production design of your film. The right-looking costumes, props, and set dressing will allow you to be ahead of the game and achieve The Film Look a lot sooner.
This is where all those hours spent planning your film come into play. Things will not always go to plan, so be flexible and work with your team to make the film.
Don’t take a chance with sound; get someone whose sole job it is to record sound. And let your picture and sound people do there job, but if you are the picture and sound person, don’t forget to direct your actors.
The more roles you can give to others, the more each person can concentrate on their own job.
From the planning stage, your camera operator will understand the look you are going for, and he or she can direct the 1st AD, Grip, and Gaffers to help achieve that look.
After hours, days, weeks, or even months of shooting, you will now have all of the footage you need to edit your film.
But don’t jump ahead and start editing just yet. Time is back on your side so spend it Organising and syncing your files. Once the edit gets complex, you’ll be glad you spent time organising it as you can’t buy this time back.
Get your rough cut done; but don’t worry about how the colour grading looks, how the effects shots are not complete, or even how the audio sounds at this point.
Share it with others, ask them about the edit and what does and does not work. It’s better to find this out now.
From the feedback you receive, make changes, colour grade your film, finish the effects, and add your Foley and sound effects.
Then don’t look at it for a week!
That separation from the project will allow you to see the edit with fresh eyes; you will see your mistakes and way you can improve it. Do as much as you can to make it the best you can, but tax yourself to get it complete.
Having a final film you can show others and learn from will be your most valuable asset.
There are many steps to filmmaking that I haven't described. Plus it’s not as easy as a board game, but you CAN play the filmmaking game like you're playing monopoly.
Take every opportunity, buy every property, take every chance.
At first your films might not turn out the way you thought they would, but you will have learned about the process of how to make a film. The more times you go around the board, the more your skills you’ll take with you onto the next film.
Once you’ve gone around the board a few times, look at the skills you have developed. You might find there is an area of filmmaking which you want to invest more time and energy into because you enjoy it the most. The more you learn, the more you can invest, and before you know it you have won the game.
Play the game of filmmaking as much as you can, and hit the orange lens cap to subscribe, and remember achieve it one shot at a time.
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