As you can imagine, there is more to filmmaking than meets the eye. From the budget to the lighting, the casting to editing, there are many aspects of the filmmaking process to consider. One stumble is all it takes to upset the process and film production is an industry that’s chock full of challenges.

When making a film, the goal is to find a good script, set up a crew and get actors for the movie. Once these are done, you have to get funding to make the film. As the shooting begins, the main goal changes. The goal now is to shoot the movie on time and within the budget so it can reach the editing stages.

While it is impossible to know what makes an exceptional film until you’ve gone through the process yourself, it pays to know what to expect before diving into filmmaking to minimize mistakes and avoid delays. Whether you are an aspiring filmmaker shooting his/her first film or just plain curious about the movie-making process, here’s a guide on filmmaking:

The 3 Stages of Filmmaking

Pre-Production: Story Development and Planning

If there is one thing that all movies have in common, it’s the fact that all films started from an idea. A good story is the foundation of the film and without it, you cannot convince financiers to fund your film much more convince moviegoers into seeing the final product. Simply put, the story you want to tell is the most important aspect of filmmaking.

So think of a good idea to build a good story. As you build the story, think of how to tell all the important elements of the film: the plot, the characters, the conflict, and so on. You can brainstorm with your partners, conduct research online or offline, and take notes. Always bring a pen and notebook with you so you can write down cool ideas as soon as they pop into your head.

During this stage, the idea is pitched to people involved in the film, including the producers, studios, and financiers. The idea is then fleshed out, the script is written so the story, setting, and dialogue take a linear form. The script serves as a guide so the rest of the people involved in making the movie know what’s going to happen durign filming. You can also use the script as a reference for dialogues, lines, etc.

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To visualize every scene, create a storyboard. A storyboard is a sequence of drawings that represents the scenes you are planning to shoot. Apart from helping you visualize the important scenes to shoot, a storyboard makes it easier to let other people understand what you are trying to execute in a shot.

All the aspects of making a film from start to finish
are discussed and set at this stage, including the budget, location, legal agreements, equipment, marketing, distribution, etc., To find the best location, you’ll have to scout for the best spots. When constructing the sets or shooting on location, always consider the size of the space for the cast and crew.

Because making a film is expensive, most films do not get past the development stage. But once a project moves past the development stage, it’s ready for the actual production.  

Production: Shooting a Film

The production stage is where the actual filming starts. It is a nerve-wracking and thrilling experience at the same time because you’ll be diving deep into the story and working with a lot of creative people. The goal here is to shoot all the scenes within the given schedule without going over the budget. You have to get everything that the director needs to execute his or her vision while also meeting the expectations of the financiers.

During the physical production, you have to assemble your cast and crew. Do not rush; take your time finding the right people for the job so the director’s vision will be executed perfectly. Do not feel obligated to include family and friends in your film unless they are suitable for the job.

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To minimize delays and avoid mistakes, come prepared. Be sure to shoot with the script ready. Create an organized schedule; make sure every person involved in the movie knows the schedule so the cast and crew know what scene will be shot and when. Check and keep track of all the tools and equipment you’ll use for the actual filming. Make sure the actors are prepared with their lines and the crewmembers are in their right places before shooting.

Allow yourself more time to shoot the same scene from different angles. By giving yourself more time to shoot the scenes, you have a lot of footage to work with, in case changes or problems crop up during post-production. To help with the editing, pay close attention to the sound quality when recording live sound or pre-record some background sound for a certain scene.

Post Production: Editing, Public Showing, and Distribution

One might think that the production phase is the most action-packed stage of filmmaking but the post-production is even busier. This is the phase where everything falls together, all scenes that were shot during the production phase are painstakingly pieced together to create a rough cut version of the movie.

The online and offline editing will be the main focus of the post-production phase. The director and the editor will work together to edit the film so the final product appears exactly the way the director wants it to. You’ll get an editor to edit the film and apply motion graphics, audio, computer graphics, etc. Color grading and sound mixing are also applied to fine-tune the color and soundscape of the final film.

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The distribution phase is just an added step to the process because it is not a part of the studio workflow. Unless a distributor has already been acquired, the final film is presented to the public through public showings, film markets, and movie festivals to find a distributor. The distributor will handle the marketing campaign for the film and decide the way the film will be released (DVD or wide theatrical release).

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