So You Want To Shoot Your First Film

Well, congrats on that! 

Now the hard work begins. But where do you start? 

Well where's your script? Don't have one? That's where we will start and I'll try to keep this as organized as possible. 

1- Get your script. Write it yourself or get a writer on board who can bring your ideas to life or who may already have a script ready to shoot. This is the starting point for all the steps to follow. Choose or write your script carefully, write what you know and keep your future budget in mind. So maybe leave out the massive War of The Worlds alien invasion or the Game of Thrones battle scenes. Period pieces will cost you big time when it comes to your budget.

2- Pre-Production! Time to put in work! The more you spend quality time in pre-pro the better your shoot will be and the smoother the entire process with be. So what's involved with pre-production you may ask? This stage is where you'll secure your funding (if any!), you'll find and scout your locations, bring on your cast and crew, break down your script for shooting, put together your story boards and sort out what you're going to do when your film is done. (festivals, releases, youtube, vimeo etc)

Oh, and of course you're going to make sure all your contracts are good to go. There's a number of good programs out there that can really help with this overwhelming portion of being an independent film maker. Now let's be honest, this part...pre-production...is the main reason most films don't get made. So push through and get it done and you'll be that much farther ahead then the masses. 

3- Lights, Camera, ACTION! It's time to shoot! YAY! This is where the magic comes to life. This is where you'll shoot with your cast and crew and you'll find out it takes multiple takes and a bunch of angles to get everything just right. Don't believe me? Watch a 5 min clip from your favourite movie and there's a good chance you'll see just how many angles they actually use. Each angle has multiple takes, lighting set ups. camera set-ups, make-up and hair touch ups and don't forget to scrutinize your continuity logs! 

Once you've called it a wrap on your shoot that's it right? WRONG! Now comes post.

4- Post-Production! Now you have hours of footage, so what do you do with it? Edit. Be ruthless and know you have to get your film down to a set time (some festivals require a certain time length) But what to cut? If it doesn't move the story forward or add to the overall film drop it. you may love the 10 minute tracking shot down the back graffiti filled alley but does it do anything for the story? Probably not. 

In post you'll also edit your audio, do any additional voice recordings, add your sound effects then move on to colour correction and find out if you need any pick-up shots or retakes. Then, well then I think your film is done. You probably won't and you could probably go on tweaking it forever but at some point you need to know when to release your creation into the world and take some feedback with an open mind and open heart and get going on your next project!

Ok, so I tried to keep this as concise as possible so don't go crazy with these guidelines but if you'd like to discuss more we would love to hear from you! The more people create, the more creative people will be. Happy Shooting and feel free to leave any comments or feedback below. (see what I did there?)

James

SevenSeas Productions