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Filmmaking 101: The Story Starts in Pre-Production

As with anything that is designed or built, films are not made in a day. However, despite the statement’s accuracy, it seems to have little impact on people’s predetermined understanding of how long the entire process should take.

The misconception is that experienced production crews should be able to interpret and capture a visual translation of the screenplay within a week and without a shooting script — all whilst making impromptu dialogue and lighting changes. Then, once the footage is in for editing, it should only be another day before the final cut is ready.

In reality, things always work out to be quite a bit more complicated and this is not to say that such schedules or deadlines are unrealistic, just that there is a marked relationship between achieving desirable outcomes and investing in pre-production and planning.

The Five Phases of Filmmaking

Skipping or glossing over the early developmental stages when organising a film is something most production companies and clients can ill-afford due to the myriad of things a director or producer must concern themselves with and be involved in.

Here’s a breakdown of what aspects you can expect to plan for:

Ideation: Idea generation & concept development

Pre-production: Pre-viz, design & logistics planning

Production: Filming, practical FX & audio recording

Post-production: Editing, scoring, Foley & visual FX

Distribution: Marketing, ad campaigns & screenings

Keep in mind you’ll want to approach each phase individually and complete all that’s required before moving onto the next. This will help to ensure a logical work order, keeping you and others on the same page at all times.

And, as you might have guessed, the timeframes you’ll be dealing with will all come down to the scope of your project, what connections you have readily available and who you have on your support team.

How Pre-Production Informs Design Decisions

Simply put, pre-production is a way filmmakers can begin curating what combination of ideas add up to a concept that is both marketable and profitable. Of course, not every idea will make for a great film, and indeed, there will be many that fail to make it into the final script.

With a screenplay completed, now is the time to explore any technical challenges that might present a problem later on. For our part as a digital service provider of on-demand pre-production, we can help you through this process by:

• Preparing storyboards & shooting scripts for use on set

• Rendering layout designs for different effects & lighting

• Creating motion graphics to troubleshoot complex shots

But as we mentioned, these are not the only aspects that make up the pre-production process and you may wish to evaluate your possible options for things like casting, location scouting, set design, costuming, equipment hire and most importantly, finances.

Placing a Value on Pre-Production Planning

Speaking of finances, a common question that gets asked is how much pre-production is going to cost. The short answer is it tends to cost much less than what you could expect to spend in terms of in time, money and resources when trying to correct any mistakes made in post-production.

If you would like to know more about our rates, please contact us and use the short from to describe your needs and project briefly. We endeavour to respond to all enquiries within 24 hours and appreciate your time in requesting a quote.

We look forward to working with you!

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