Making a film doesn’t need to be complicated. In this 5-part blog series, I’m going to break down the 5 key stages of production so when you commission your film, it’ll be a breeze. Even if you’ve never made one before, this 101 guide will make it look like you and video marketing go ‘waaaaaaaay back’.
The 5 stages are:
So today we’ll move onto Planning.
How this is structured will largely depend on whether you’ll be making a corporate video or an animation. The process is broadly the same, but filming may require a little more involvement on your part. Essentially, this is the coordination of your project and the elements required to make it.
It may also be called project coordination, production management, pre-production or something similar.
Within planning we’ll be looking at:
Your video agency should produce this as soon as the project is commissioned, so technically it goes before scripting even begins. A detailed production schedule is vital to the success of your project. It lays out the details of the process as well as the dates so you know when you can expect to see something but also why that date has been chosen. It should also include reasonable client review periods including deadlines for feedback so everything stays on schedule. This schedule essentially creates the roadmap to stay on time and budget.
This may also be called a ‘Location Recce’. Essentially, it’s deciding where you are going to film. There are many options and although most clients often like to film ‘on-location’ at their site, whether this is an office, a factory, a shop etc., sometimes more creative or managed environments are required. If this is the case then you or the video company will source a specific location, like a house, a coffee shop, a studio or perhaps even a park. Time should be allowed for this as finding the right place is important, it’s not just the look of the thing to be considered but also access, costs, restrictions, power supply, facilities, natural light and noise pollution if you’re recording sound.
If, however, you’re shooting at your own location, it can be helpful to provide photos of the environment, so the crew have an idea of space and lighting and potential audio issues. A physical recce can also be arranged if there are many options or potentially complicated processes that need to be rehearsed.
This covers a range of things, but essentially some filming requires permission first. It could be filming a plant that will need to be shut down for health and safety reasons during filming or it could be getting the Council’s permission for filming at a public park on the street. It’s a necessary step to ensure smooth filming, but your production company should handle this. Do bear in mind some locations charge though, for example, National Rail can cost thousands just a for a few hours.
Consider how easy access will be. It’s likely your film crew will have lots of heavy equipment and multiple cars to park. Do you need to fill out a Risk
Assessment beforehand for insurance? Get these bits ticked off asap so you don’t need to worry about that stuff. It’s less stressful when you’re not ‘on-site’ trying to sort it as this can waste valuable shoot time.
This is the sourcing of your talent, and it’s not just limited to models and actors. Sometimes a specialist skill may be required, like a Parkour specialist, a yodeler or horse rider and so on. This can be done with an open casting, meaning you can put out a casting online, but it doesn’t always guarantee the calibre of the applicant. Alternatively, your production company can use a casting agency, which is preferable in terms of time and candidate quality but is much more expensive. Like, 50 – 70% more expensive. You know the old adage – you get what you pay for.
You may be looking to do some interviews with staff or customers. These ‘contributors’ will have a massive influence on the film so they must be selected and vetted carefully. Someone that seems quite enthusiastic in the office might ‘shrink like a Primark jumper on a hot-wash’ in front of the camera. Pick a variety of contributors that you feel represent your product or company as they will now be your brand ambassadors. The world is a shallow place with a short attention span; you need to consider their visual impact and whether it aligns with your demographics, how they sound, do they speak confidently and clearly? Contributor casting should be given the same consideration as talent casting.
One of the tricky bits for interviews is scheduling. To reduce costs, you want to get your filming all done within as few days as possible. So, things to consider:
Also, I shouldn’t have to say this, but sometimes it still needs to be addressed – equality. This is very important, don’t just get 5 middle class, middle-aged, Caucasian men in….. because that is a very specific market you’re targeting.
One final note – always have a backup or two in your pocket. People flake, a lot, like…loads. A no-show is not a surprise, it’s an expectation. Without a backup, it could be you in ‘the hot seat’
These are usually some of the last bits to come together because all of the afore-mentioned bits need sorting first. The shoot schedule should lay-out, in detail, where everyone should be, when and what they should be doing. This includes arrival times, rigging the kit, hair & make-up, filming and breaking down again. It’s actually pretty common for it to flex a little during the day but, ultimately, it will ensure all the shots are collected and that any access issues or contributor availability issues can be avoided.
You should also receive a call-sheet. This is like a cheat sheet for filming. It has everyone’s name and contact details on from crew, to clients to contributors: it has all the location addresses on, any access codes or location contacts and an abridged itinerary of the running order of the day. Why’s it called a call sheet? Because it also has the time that everyone is needed to be ‘called to set’.
So, that’s the 411 on Planning. It should be pretty straight-forward as it’s the video production company or animation studio that should manage most of it. Really all you need to do is supply:
Your video agency should be able to do the rest easily. Check back in tomorrow to read about the next step – ‘Shooting’ or if you missed the previous blogs, see our handly links below
If you’re ready to get started, then get in touch! Call us on 01604 422911 or email [email protected]. We’re a full-service video and animation company serving the whole of the UK and more!