Monthly Archives: October 2010

What is “Post-Production”

The industry likes to simply call it “post”. Editors hate it when someone during production says “just fix it in post”; in essence creating more work for the editor. Post includes all the process that happens after the footage has been captured. In other words, the cameras have been put away and now we put the footage, and sound together into a meaningful motion picture. Initially when you think of post you think film editing and this, of course, is a huge part of post-production. A the entire story can be told in many different ways depending on how it is edited, and that’s why your editor is one of the 5 most crucial people you hire for a film. In addition to film editing, there is also sound-editing, which include sound effects, ADR, foley, and music. Post-production can also involve visual effects if your film requires it.

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What is “Production”?

Once your schedule is made, your crew recruited, your actors have been casted, and your locations are secured, it’s time start production and push record. Production, also referred to as principle photography, is where the actual film making process takes place. This is where your director really takes over and does his job. As a producer, your job is to oversee, solve problems, and offer opinions, but at the end of the day, your director is calling the shots creatively during this process. The ultimate objective is to stay on schedule, get all the shots/coverage that you need, get the best performances from your actors, maintain continuity, and stay on budget.

What is “Pre-Production”?

This is the second phase of the film making process. You engage in this phase once you have secured financing for your film. The main objective of this task is to assemble your team, and secure your locations. The first thing you want to do is hire your director. This is crucial. Your director will basically be the man in charge of all creative decisions in your film. You want to find someone who is capable, likable, and shares the same vision as you. Once you find your director, you need to hire your casting director. Have him/her start searching for and narrowing down the actors to approximately 5-10 for each major role. While your casting director is doing that you will assemble your crew. Of course, every crew member is important, but if you had to narrow your crew down to the top five most important people, most directors would say: DP, Production Designer, Editor, Script Supervisor, and First AD. Once you have secured those people then start recruiting the rest of your team. After this is done, you are going to work with your director, production designer and first AD to scout for locations. After securing locations, you will work with the first AD and the director to develop a shooting schedule. Once you know how many days your actors and crew members will be working, and how long you will be spending at each location, you can start building your budget. You should have already started working on your preliminary budget during the development phase in order to secure financing, but now that you have more details ironed out, you can start fine tuning your budget. During this time, as a producer, you are also working with your UPM to get permits and sort out all legalities involved in shooting at certain locations. Your production designer is preparing all the set designs, art work, and props. Your DP and director are working on shot lists, determining the visual tone of the film, and sorting out all the angles needed for thorough coverage. After your casting director has narrowed down the field to 5-10 actors for each major role, the director – and sometimes the producer – will watch the tape of all the actors and see if there is anyone that can be cut just from watching tape. Then the casting director will call in all the remaining actors to read for the director. The director ultimately chooses which actor will be chose for each role. Some times the director will narrow it down to 2-3 candidates for each role and have them do chemistry testing. Finding the right actors can be a long and daunting task, but having a great performances in your film is arguably the most important aspect next to the story. Once all this is achieved, you are ready to move into production and push “record”!

What is “Development”?

This is the first phase of the film making process. The producer will usually be the most heavily involved person in this phase. During development, you are finding material either by creating an original script by working with a writer (you could also be the writer), or discovering some one else’s material and optioning it. Either way, you are attaining owner ship in the material. Once you have optioned or purchased the rights, you are working the material to generate an amazing script. This could mean adapting a book, comic, play, web series, short film, or feature script. A big part of this process involve working with writer to generate a script that you are happy with. This is one of the most difficult but most important skills to acquire as a producer. Once you have the script at a place where you are happy with, your next job is to secure financing (which is a whole new ball game). Once the financing is secured, you are ready to move on to the next phase; PRE-PRODUCTION.

What does the film making process entail as a producer?

As a producer, you are usually the first and last one involved in a project. That’s one of the reasons producers enjoy doing what they do. The film making process can be broken down into five phases. People from all around the industry will argue that certain phases are more important than others, but as a producer, you should place equal importance in all five phases which are: DEVELOPMENT, PRE-PRODUCTION, PRODUCTION, POST-PRODUCTION, and MARKETING.

What does “Non-Theatrical” mean?

This refers to the exploitation of a film in small venue screens such schools, military bases, churches, and commercial airplanes. “Non-theatrical” does NOT mean “any media other than theatrical”. Pay-TV, for example, though not theatrical, is not referred to as non-theatrical…it’s simply in it’s own category.