The journey of a thousand miles begins in pre-production. Time to get in shape.
You can't do it on your own. If you could, then you'd be vlogging. There are a lot of roles here, some of which are most likely out of your budget. Even if you're operating on a skeleton crew where you're playing writer-director-grip-and-transportation, understanding the roles in every phase of your project from inception to distribution will help you in recognizing where the strengths lie in some of the people that are committed to your project. From there, you should delegate accordingly.
Finding the right people to work on your project is extremely important. While your team won’t be as stylish, witty and devastatingly handsome as the guys in “Ocean’s Eleven,” you will spend a lot of time together planning a complicated operation with limited resources that may involve conning a few individuals here and there. Assembling this group requires a balancing act between competence and cooperation: each person needs to do his or her job, but also work well with others. So while first-time writers and directors may want an experienced producer on board to help, they probably don’t want the producer lording over the project. Likewise, a more experienced director of photography doesn’t like it when a know-it-all novice director constantly tinkers with the lighting and framing of each shot. On lower budget sets, there’s not a lot of room for egos. If everyone is working for less than the standard scale, a little respect will go a long way.
- WRITER | The Right Writer, Union vs. Non-Union & What You Can Ask For
- PRODUCER | Great Communicators, Under Pressure & Problem Solving
- DIRECTOR | Medium, Vision and Control & Commanding Without Ego
- CAST | You Can’t Teach Talent, Budget & SAG
- ESSENTIAL CREW | Director of Photography, Sound, Hair and Makeup, Gaffer/Grip, AD/UPM, The Importance of Transparency, It’s Not All in the Resume & Multi-Jobbing
Are you better at creating interesting character conflicts or balancing equity and debt financing? If the first part of that sentence sounds like more fun, then consider how you can compensate for this through your team. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should go all Occupy Wall Street on your project’s number crunchers when they tell you something is too expensive. After all, that’s their job; yours is to find a creative solution. Even better, bring them into the brainstorming meetings, so you know what’s possible. Maybe you’ll be surprised by the left brain powers hiding behind that math nerd exterior.
The crew you’ve been assembling to help with your dream is about to get bigger. After all, Pre-Production means you’re really close to actually filming something! Or, if you can’t afford to bring anyone else on board, your existing team will have a whole lot more to do when the project begins Pre-Production.
- PRODUCING | No, the producers haven’t gone away.
- PRODUCTION MANAGEMENT | Line Producer/UPM, Production Coordinator
- LOCATIONS & TRANSPORTATION | Location Manager, Location Scout, Transportation
- PRODUCTION ACCOUNTING | Production Accountant
- ART DEPARTMENT | Production Designer, Art Director, Wardrobe
- CASTING | Casting Director, Principal Cast, Background
What are your main goals for this stage of the project? If they include usable images, workable audio and no fires on the set, here’s who can help with all that. Maybe these are new people you need to hire, or maybe these are existing team members who are adding yet another set of responsibilities to the three or four job titles they already hold on the project.
- ASSISTANT DIRECTORS | 1st AD, 2nd AD, Production Assistants, Script Supervisor / Continuity
- CAMERA DEPARTMENT | Director of Photography, Camera Department
- GRIP | Key Grip, Best Boy Grip, Grips
- ELECTRIC | Gaffer / Chief Lighting Technician, Best Boy, Electricians
- SOUND | Production Sound Mixer, Boom Operator, Utility Sound Tech
- VANITY | Hair and Makeup, Wardrobe
Post-production is where you complete your story, or at least keep it from falling to pieces. So in this final battle against the forces of bad storytelling, the question is whether you’re going to do it alone or with a team. Maybe you have no choice but to do it all yourself – just remember when we said to set aside some money for post. Or maybe you made so many sacrifices on set that you need the best people to fix all the glaring errors, some of which might be actual glares in every shot. Whether you’re a one-man band or the post-production Rolling Stones, these are the important roles and responsibilities of a post-production crew.
TEAMS & THE SUPERVISOR:
The process of prepping, shooting and cutting your project will drain most of your resources – definitely the project’s budget and finances, but also your sanity and emotional well-being. So if you set aside the money ahead of time, your early footage has drawn some additional investors or you discovered a gold mine in your couch cushions, here are some people to help ease the pain in this final stage of the project.
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