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									COMMUNITY FILM PROJECTS
    FACTSHEET 4: A BEGINNERS GUIDE TO THE PRODUCTION
    PROCESS


This factsheet aims to give you an overview of the different stages in the
production process and understand some of the terms used.


    1. Development

It is important that you prepare well before filming so that you don’t waste time
and effort filming scenes you don’t need.

First you need to develop your film idea. Streamline your idea as much as
possible to the essential elements or story. What do you want your film to
say? How can you tell your story in a fresh way? You also need to think
about your ideal audience. Who will want to see your film and where will they
watch it?

During the development stage, you will usually:

   Develop your ideas
   Write your script or, if you are planning a documentary, write a full
    treatment of your idea
   Plan the length of your film and the format you will use with screening
    (exhibition and distribution) in mind
   Storyboard your film (Storyboarding means planning your shoot with
    drawings or photos of each scene. It will help you focus on how your film
    will look.)


    2. Pre-Production

You begin pre-production when you have a well-developed script and you are
clear what the project is about and who the audience is. The pre-production
stage is all about planning how you will turn your script into a great film. This
is the time for detailed and specific planning – for pinning down the schedule.
This is a written plan of what will take place at each stage of your production -
from casting, rehearsals, the shooting schedule, to the post-production and
delivery of your film.

During the pre-production period you will usually:

   Prepare an overall schedule
   Audition and cast actors
   Book crew (Decide who will do what and make sure they are available
    when you need them)
   Prepare the shooting script (Pin down the locations and group your scenes
    together in the order they will be filmed)
   Identify the locations you will use and get permission to film there (If you
    are planning to film in public spaces you need to get local authority
    permission. Contact Northern Film & Media’s Location Service Manager on
    0191 269 9209 for help and advice on finding locations and gaining
    permission from local authorities and private owners).
   Prepare shooting schedule (Plan your shoot. Decide what will happen on
    what day – and prepare contingency plans for bad weather)
   Book locations and transport
   Book catering provision
   Sort out insurance
   Sort out copyright clearance for any pre-recorded music you intend to use
   Rehearse – directors and actors
   Prepare locations / sets (i.e. do any art work and set dressing)
   Sort out costumes and props if necessary
   Produce call sheets - daily plans that let everyone know when they are
    expected and what they are expected to do


    3. Production

Overview
After all your careful planning you are now ready for your shoot. During the
production phase you will usually:
 shoot scenes
 plan ahead for next days shoot
 reschedule if things go wrong

NB: There will be a lot of hanging around during the shoot. You may wish to
think about what to do with your participants during “down time” so they do not
get bored and disillusioned.

Production stills
You should also be taking high quality stills photographs during the production
or capturing artwork which can be used to market the film once finished.

Release forms
You must make sure that you obtain a release form from anyone who
appears in the film. This is a form that people sign to say that they are happy
for you to use their image in your film. If you do not obtain this they can refuse
to let you show your work. (You can download forms from the First Light
website at www.firstlightmovies.com)


    4. Post Production

This is the editing part – it falls into two sections – off-line and online. The key
creative decisions are made in the off-line edit, so you may wish to involve
members of your group in this part of the process.
Off-line edit
Lower cost, lower picture-quality edit. All editing decisions are made during
this time (except for special effects that will require sophisticated equipment).

On-line edit
High cost, high picture-quality edit. All the pictures in your film are replaced
from the original tapes at the highest resolution available. Special effects and
captions are added, and pictures are colour graded at this stage. If you are
hoping that your programme will be broadcast, the on-line editor will also
make sure that signal levels recorded on your final master edit conform to the
standards set for broadcast video/audio.

Sound Dub
Additional sound effects and music are mixed with the recorded sound.


Use of Music:
We strongly advise you NOT to use pre-recorded popular music on your
film for the following reasons: If you want to use pre-recorded music on
your final film soundtrack you must get permission from the
copyright/performing rights holder. Using a well-known track is likely to be
prohibitively expensive. If you do not get clearance to use the music on your
soundtrack you will not be able to show your film or enter it for festivals. You
must always check out the cost of any clearing any music you want to use
right at the beginning of the pre-production process.

We advise using a cheaper alternative such as:
 Commissioning specially composed music OR
 Using “library music” – mood music commissioned/promoted by specialist
  music agencies.


     5. Screening / Exhibition and Distribution

You may want to screen your film at a cinema, or a non-theatrical venue. You
will need to have publicity and marketing ideas to promote the film and
encourage an audience to come and see it. Plan to take good quality stills
pictures during the production, so you have a strong image to promote your
film.

Make sure you have sorted out the following issues early on the production
process, otherwise you may find you are unable to show your film.
 Music – Have you got copyright clearance? (See pre-production and post
   production sections)
 Release forms (See production)

You may need to specify a viewing age for your film if there is strong
language or violent/sexually explicit content.

If you want to show your film to the general public, you will need to apply to
your local authority licensing department for permission. They will be happy
to give you advice. You will need to send them a copy of your film at least 28
days prior to the screening.



FACTSHEETS IN THE COMMUNITY FILM PROJECT SERIES

Factsheet 1: First Steps for Community Film Projects
Factsheet 2: Choosing a Film-maker
Factsheet 3: Sample Budgets
Factsheet 4: A Beginner’s Guide to the Production Process
Factsheet 5: Finding Out About Festivals

								
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