Planning can often be taken lightly. With all the creative minds working on a shoot, it’s easy to go the spontaneous way and say ‘Let’s reach the location and see what happens’. But this approach often doesn’t work out in implementation. Be it top film production companies or independent filmmakers, a proper strategy before rolling the camera is a must to follow. Planning for a film project includes making storyboards & shot lists, preparing a budget, doing recces, rehearsals, making schedules & call sheets, etc.
1) Helps avoid delays
Having your storyboard in place & shot lists ready means a smooth shooting experience. On the floor, every person is on the same page. Everyone knows what to do. No confusions. No time is wasted in dissipating information or clarifying things. It’s just lights, camera, sound and efficient action! The call sheets & schedules ensure all the right people are at the right place at the right time. While shooting, time is an expensive resource – since each additional shoot day incurs additional cost.
2) Unforeseen expenses are minimized
Often, you can miss out on some permit or clearance for a location. And for big crews with professional equipment, this can attract the attention of authorities… and subsequent fines. These unnecessary costs can be prevented by making sure all permissions are acquired.
Gear checks too are essential, to reduce the chances of compatibility issues on set, and thus also reduce the need for renting a replacement at the 11th hour. But no one can completely avoid surprise expenses. According to Murphy’s law, anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. A smart filmmaker/producer knows that – and prepares for the worst, with a
contingency amount in the budget.
The contingency amount is usually around 10% of the total capital available for a film. This amount is an estimation set aside for reshoots, overtime and other additional (or accidental) costs.
3) Keeps crew in the spirit to work
People work most productively when they can visualize their efforts coming to fruition. That’s not so easy when the film’s facing setback after setback. When everything’s going wrong, the morale of the team drops quickly. So it’s better to plan beforehand & keep the
momentum going on set. That’s when your team will perform at their best!
4) Ensures problem-free post-production
“We forgot to take that shot!”, “The recording has too much noise.” These kinds of complaints can come up at the editing stage. And no matter how good your editor is, not all things can be fixed in post. This is where your planning comes in handy. You get all possible
footage you’ll need for the edit, and you have checked the quality your equipment is recording at. This means a fuss-free post-production experience… and who knows, an award-winning film!
5) Greater control over the final product
A film needs to come on screen just the way the filmmaker intended. Arranging table reads and rehearsals ensures the best creative output from the cast. Having tried out different versions of each scene, each actor can bring their best to their role. Look tests help decide color palettes, takes care of fitting issues. Team discussions encourage collaboration between crew members – after all, a film is a combination of various brilliant minds coming together in sync.
The result of all this optimization? A good film that the team can be proud of. So before you begin filming another project, keep these points in mind.