Making a movie is not easy. The team is large, there are a lot of moving parts, and the littlest setback can cause a producer millions of dollars.
Some mistakes and setbacks cannot be avoided, but with proper preparation, a lot of other, smaller mistakes can be avoided making for a smooth shoot that will yield a great project. The following list is a comprehensive collection of all the things a producer needs to consider as they are preparing to start their latest film shoot.
Finalize Your Budget
The budget is everything when you are making a movie. The budget lets you know what is at your disposal, how much money you can play around with in the event of an emergency, and what your time schedule is going to be because going too long can cost more money. Sit down with the entire producer team and figure out how much money you have.
Once that budget is finalized, everything else will fall into place, and you will have a clearer picture of how the shoot will potentially go.
Finalize the Script
Changes are always going to be made to the script, that’s the nature of collaborating with a lot of talented people, but the cinematographer and the director need a version of the script called a shooting script at their disposal. This type of script lets them plan out how something is going to be shot, so that everyone knows how to prepare.
Having a final shooting script will be the key to having a smooth, well-planned shoot because everyone will know what needs to be made, what needs to be built, who needs to be where, and who needs to show up. Get that done fast so that you can give everyone their schedule.
Find Your Shooting Locations
As a producer, you have to find where you are going to shoot your film. By having the shooting script and your budget in place, you will know what you can afford and what will work best with the story. Hire a location scout and start looking for places that will bring the story to life. When you arrive at these locations, you will be able to assess if you can fit it into your budget and if it will serve the story well.
You will have all the necessary information at your fingertips to help you make the most informed decision possible.
Put Your Cast Together
No matter how well you prepare the team, you won’t have a movie if you don’t have any actors. Once locations are set, you can then cast the film and have all the pertinent information necessary for your actors. You will be able to know how much they are going to get paid, where they are going to shoot, how much it’s going to cost to send the actors to the location and feed them and house them, and how many actors you are going to have on any given day.
A lot of information comes from a simple casting, but that’s why it’s important to have it as part of a producer’s checklist. The sooner you have the details the better for your future preparations.
Go Through Permits and Insurance
Next thing a producer needs to do is get the proper insurance for everyone on the set. No one will be able to come to work at all on the first day if there is no insurance. Insurance will cover anything that gets broken, and it will cover anyone who gets broken during the shoot. Proper insurance will save a producer millions of dollars by avoiding lawsuits.
The production company is also going to need the proper permits to start shooting. You cannot simply show up to a place and make a movie without permission. Once you have all the previous items on this list secured, you can then get the permits so that you can get the shoot rolling as soon as possible.
Set Up the Schedule
Once all the important paperwork is in place, now it’s time to schedule the shoot so that everyone can clear their schedules and report to set. The schedule also allows for the correction of any conflicts that were unknown before. Certain actors may need a certain day off for family events or personal reasons or members of the crew may have other projects they need to finish up first.
These issues can only be settled if there is a solid schedule in place where everyone knows where they have to be and on what days they have to be there.
Hire Your Crew
Now that potential crew members can see the schedule, they can say yes or no to taking the job. Having a great crew that works together well is essential. The crew is what makes all the magic come to life. They are the camera operators, set builders, electricians, plumbers, caterers, lighting designers, and sound designers who bring this imagined world to life for all to enjoy.
The crew is the real reason a movie gets made, gets made on time, and is enjoyable for all to see. They create the world, and the actors and director get to play in it.
Have Proper Tech
One tech glitch can bring the whole operation down. The number one tech must-have on set is a wifi hotspot. Getting a hotspot rental is necessary and should be one of the first things on your list as you get ready to start shooting. Hotspots give computers access to the internet for research and troubleshooting, and gives actors access to their email and files in case they need anything for their character.
A lot of locations are in the middle of nowhere and there is no internet access. Being able to connect to wifi also helps in the event that there is an emergency and you need to reach the outside world.
Shooting a film is hard, but if a producer uses this list to prepare for their next shoot, they will be very successful indeed.