Film School Friday – How important is preproduction?

Preproduction Episode Summary

In this weeks episode of Film School Friday, Corey and Bill are talking about all the different steps to consider during preproduction of your next project.

Preproduction Episode Notes

In this weeks episode of Film School Friday, Corey and Bill are talking about all the different steps to consider during preproduction of your next project.

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Preproduction Transcript

Bill Cornelius  0:00  

Dude, down, down, down, down, down, down. Down Down there today Bow Bow.

Corey Allen  0:19  

Welcome to film school Friday. I’m Corey.

Bill Cornelius  0:22  

I’m Bill.

Corey Allen  0:23  

And together,

Bill Cornelius  0:25  

we formed the infocus podcast, giant robot.

Corey Allen  0:31  

Yes, Yes, we do. And film school Friday is our special weekly episode where I get to quiz bill to see how much knowledge he’s retained from film school. Bill this week, I want to talk to you about pre production, having never attended film school, I feel like I just float through life doing a bunch of planning and hoping that everything goes off without a hitch on the day of a shoot out imagine there are a lot of things that are important to do, as part of a good pre production process.

Bill Cornelius  1:03  

Yeah, so pre Pro, as, as industry folk refer to it sometimes. Yeah, very important to the process. It’s it’s the planning stages leading into your shoot, and a lot of things need to come together and pre production in order for the shoot to even happen, please enlighten me what those are, of course, you can always do a guerilla style and show up on the day and do whatever which that’s more power to you, I’ve been there, if you’re making something that that of higher quality that you want to have a little more refinement to pre production is is your friend and you need it.

So pre production, a lot of it is paperwork, a lot of it is meetings, a lot of it is networking, and it’s good, the more time you have to do pre production, the better you will feel because it can definitely turn into a crunch time shitshow if you don’t have a lot of time, which sometimes is the case, depending on the client, or, you know, lack of good time management, I made kind of a list of the essentials for pre production and a lot of the things that come together typically in pre production, you know, obviously you start with the script, that’s should be something you already have before pre production even starts.

Once that’s approved, the treatment, the script, whatever it might be, then pre production begins. That’s you’re off to the races. And then you can start getting into things like budget, first and foremost, which we always talk about is kind of the gateway into everything else. Yep, find out what that budget is. I like to when it comes to producing my own work. I like to get the shortlist figured out first. And then I make the budget because sometimes depending on how the shortlist shapes up is going to shape your budget. I think that’s that’s an important order to go in.

Corey Allen  2:59  

Because maybe you need like a big crane, maybe you need like some big technical build on a vehicle or Yeah, anything that could be very budget

Bill Cornelius  3:07  

dependent. Exactly make sense. And so budget being budget and shot list being very high up on the things to get after right away. And the shot list is sort of your skeletal outline and build out of what the shoot is even going to be. So that’s that’s your Bible essentially for the day of at its basic level. So once you get budget taken care of you get shot list figured out, you can do storyboards.

And this is something we talked about in a previous episode, it’s up to the director, its directors preference on storyboards, I like doing them, it’s a great visual to provide for the DP and really anybody else on set for what the shots are going to look like on the day. It’s a great guide, I feel like get your crew together, assemble your team. So that is, you know, finding the right folks for the right positions people you trust people you know, people you want to work with, in some cases, get the right people on board.

If you’ve been working for a while in the same community, like like I have, for example, there’s people you know, that you like to go to and you like to lean on and you work well with. So that’s this is your time to assemble a team and get your crew figured out locations, location scouting, tech scouting, going out and taking a look at places to actually shoot so these are guided by the script by the shot list. You want to go out with your location manager if you’ve got one. I like to go out with the DP as well so I can talk about shots and lighting. And also get a feel for the space because that’s very important. pictures are not good enough.

Honestly, you want to show up you want to go to the space and see what the space looks like figure out the power situation, get all that taken care of take some pictures if you want, just so you know the space, get your locations nailed down. And I feel

Corey Allen  5:07  

like that’s an important one too, because so many times, today we scout virtually, or maybe look at different spaces on maybe it’s appear space or any other, like where you can essentially book a location for a shoe without ever actually being present there. Yeah, and you don’t know if those photos have been photoshopped not not like to change the makeup of the space, but maybe the lighting that is available. You can’t tell that from a still photo on the internet. Okay, really need to see that with your own eyes.

Bill Cornelius  5:38  

It’s like shopping for a house. You’re gonna see a house and pictures of it on Zillow. But you’re gonna want to go with your realtor to the house and take a look at it before you commit.

Corey Allen  5:48  

Unless you chose for location. Unless you’re shopping for a house in Nashville where they are you got

Bill Cornelius  5:53  

a cravat as fast as

Corey Allen  5:54  

you got to make an offer unseen.

Bill Cornelius  5:56  

Yeah, yeah. So locations, and then casting, find your talent, get a casting director hold auditions, find the right people to be your characters on screen. And then once you get those things taken care of, there’s a lot of meetings that need to take place you meet with the crew to go over the call sheet, get releases together, all those things, all the signatures, you need to get the food figured out.

There’s so many little things, you’re you’re building a small town, when you shoot a film, and you’re bringing a lot of people together to do it. And so you need to meet and discuss these things and get them all ironed out then gear rentals find you know, at some point during the budget process, you’re going to think you’re going to talk about at the base level, what gear you’re going to need locations and that sort of thing may change your gear situation, depending on what you end up finding.

So then, you know renting gear, getting a grip truck, getting, you know, whatever you might need for the day. And then something that again, like storyboards as directors, preferences rehearsals, with your talent, I love rehearsals, and I love to get some time on the side to work with my actors beforehand, to help them channel their characters more, to help me get my vision across to them more, because then when you show up on set, there’s a lot less time wasted, you know, getting into that they already kind of have had time to think about their characters and to arrive at that place before you get to set.

So and I know actors, a lot of times appreciate that too. But a lot of times there’s not there’s not time for rehearsal. And a lot of directors like to work and with spontaneity, they like their actors to experience something new for the first time on set to get a genuine reaction, which that’s respectable to.

Corey Allen  7:48  

I feel like there’s also an opportunity, especially today, in like virtual table reads, whether it’s like a meeting or to go through that with the actors and just talk through that. Yeah, without actually having to physically come together.

Bill Cornelius  8:02  

Yeah. And I again, that’s director’s preference. I think it’s very important, I love meeting with my actors ahead of time just to talk character and motivation and hash that out, get their feedback. I love to get their feedback on a character. It’s better to have those discussions offset than onset. Yeah. Which kind of leads me to what pre production is essentially, it’s, you know, if you do pre production, right, it’s saving you a lot of time on set, because as we say on the show a lot of time is money. The more stuff you prepare for and you put together up front, the easier that flow is going to be when you’re on set.

Everybody’s going to be prepped, actors are going to be rehearsed. locations, dp crew, they already know what they’re doing. Bam, bam, bam, you bang it out, and it works. It’s very efficient every time if your pre Pro is neatly put together. Of course, we always have unforeseen things that pop up. But it’s a lot easier to deal with unforeseen circumstances when you have a plan in place already. Yep. Then if you don’t, and you’re on the fly. Yeah, for sure.

Corey Allen  9:08  

Okay. Anything else?

Bill Cornelius  9:10  

I think that’s it. I think we’re ready to shoot now.

Corey Allen  9:13  

All right. checked all those boxes. It’s time to roll camera.

Bill Cornelius  9:18  

Yes. Green light.

Corey Allen  9:22  

Yes. Awesome. All right. Well, Bill, as always, thank you for imparting all of your knowledge to us. I don’t know where we wouldn’t be without you. Oh, that’s very sweet. I’d still be shooting from the hip. No planning no pre production gorilla stops figuring it out. Awesome. Oh for our listeners. Thanks for joining us today. Check us out on Instagram at infocus pod or online at infocus podcast comm if you liked what you heard today, go ahead and subscribe. And if you’re on Apple podcast, please leave us a rating. It would help us out a ton. And until next time,

Bill Cornelius  9:56  

feature crew and do pre pro

Corey Allen  9:59  

something delicious. Yes, yes.

Bill Cornelius  10:01  

And feeding your crew goes into pre Pro.

Corey Allen  10:04  

Your that food out. Plan for the Crafty