Guest post by Eric Beltran
Stop! Wait! Don’t do it! Not yet…
You may think that you are ready, but chances are, you’re not. Maybe you even have a script for your film or video production all set and truly believe you’re ready to roll. It’s understandable to think you’ve got all you need, but you don’t.
The reality is that once your script has been completed, all of the real work in terms of planning your film or video production process has just begun. Yes, the story’s complete, but its transition to the screen is a whole other…well, story.
There are so many things to consider when getting ready for a shoot. It’s scary really. Unfortunately, far too many people are unaware of the barrage of issues that can arise on set even when you’re fully prepared.
That’s why it’s important to take your time and plan out exactly what it is that you want to do on your project, to define your goals. Then, set a clear course and equip your crew for any possible trip ups because, trust us, you’ll stumble on at least a few.
The eagerness to jump into production, combined with the failure to properly plan for one, is a recipe for disaster.
Just when things are coming together, break it all down.
Don’t worry. We’re not saying to destroy the set. We’re talking about doing a complete script breakdown. In the script breakdown, you want to delve into each scene separately and write down everything that you will need for each one.
You want to determine the location of the scene and which characters will be in it. You also want to know the props, wardrobe, sound effects, and any other special equipment that each scene in your film or video production requires.
It’s something like a basic outline, except that it’s not full solely of information pertaining to the story and concept alone, but also contains information about the shoot itself.
Sometimes, it helps to go through the script with a variety of different colored high lighters and use a different color for each separate aspect of the breakdown. After all, it’s a visual medium, so why not extend that to your notes?
Storyboard and start blocking out.
Now, you must storyboard your project. Take your time to figure out what it is that you want to happen in each scene. You must take the time to visualize the scenes within the script, and this is the perfect tool to do exactly that.
This is also a great way to start seeing how shots and scenes will transition from one to another. Figuring out not only what it is you want in each shot, but also how they’ll cut together, is extremely important. Whether you go to the intended location or draw something more general, either method helps.
This is also a good time to consider the blocking of each scene. If you know the framing that you are planning to use, then start figuring out where it is that you want the actors within it. You can also start to determine how you want the actors to move within the frame as well.
These are questions that will come up during any film or video production, so why not start figuring out the answers early on? The actors will want to know where they’ll be positioned and how they should move within the scene. Things will move faster and you’ll start gaining trust if you’re prepared with the answers.
On top of that, knowing where the actors will be placed will not only help their performance and the efficiency of the production, but it will also help the director of photography when he’s making his lighting design choices.
The shot list can be like your bible on set.
Then, of course, you will also want to start working on a shot list. The shot list may be a listed summary of the storyboard, or it can go into further detail about each take you plan to shoot for each scene.
At the very least, you should consider how many shots you want for a scene and what kinds of shots, whether they’re close ups, medium shot, wide shots, etc. This is when you can ensure you’ll end up with a coherent story in the end.
Other things to consider when planning a shot list: the location, the amount of characters in the shot, what equipment you are going to use, the angle of the shot, if there is any movement in it, and, of course, a basic description of the shot.
Plan and prepare for the worst.
If you want your film or video production to go off without a hitch, then it is important to do as much planning as possible before things get too chaotic. At that point, it’s all about how you react to problems when they arise.
Things happen during film and video productions, all kinds of things. The trick is to do whatever you can to visualize the entire shoot, as far as you can see and predict, and think through every possible scenario.
The motto is: Plan for the worst, hope for the best.
The other thing about a well executed pre-production phase is the freedom it lends to the entire production process. Planning as much as you can beforehand will give you more room for creativity during your production and that is, ultimately, what every film or video artist wants.
If you think everything through thoroughly and do everything you can to ensure that you end up with a coherent story, then you’ll have some room to experiment. You want to give yourself the freedom to have fun, try new things, and be inspired at any given moment.
Plan and prepare properly, and you’ll put yourself in a better position to find and create something truly unique.
KVibe Productions is a full-service video production company. Whether it’s a product video production, a corporate video, or a commercial production, KVibe offers the total package of multimedia services from development through distribution.