Anatomy of an Indie film

This past weekend, my friend and I finally shot the short comedy we’ve been working on for almost 6 months. I am on as producer, composer, and DVD guy. Between going to AC to work on a TV show and actually getting down to finally shooting this short film, I’ve learned more about making movies in the past month, than I have in the past 3 years. And now I will pass some tidbits of info unto you….

First and foremost you need to have a script that you can get behind. Tweak it. Tighten it. If you haven’t revised it at least 5 times, you haven’t revised it enough. Make sure you (as the director) like the script. Don’t waste your time on garbage. Writing your movie is the step BEFORE pre-production.

Planning. Pre-production phase.
Decide on what medium you’ll be using to make the film. You have two real options. Film or digital video (there are tons or formats from HD to minidv). I personally believe the days of analog are over. How are you planning on distributing your movie? Screenings? DVDs? Web? All three?

How much money are you going to need? Are you paying the actors? Paying for locations (insurance, location fee)? Paying the crew? Paying for equipment. Rentals.

Cast good actors. Friends who can’t act is usually a bad idea. Besides, they won’t be as into the project as an actor trying to make it. Hold rehearsals for blocking and tone. Be prepared.

Make a detailed list of the shots you need to get. Time will be very limited. Especially if the location is donated. Make sure you are prepared. Story-board if you want.

Production.
Make sure everyone is well fed on set. There should be a coffee drip going as long as the shoot is. Most people on an indie film set are working for free or for very little. Make sure they’re happy and kept enthusiastic.

Lighting, you’ll more than likely want to rent lights to achieve better production values. Eliminate ugly shadows. Is your camera properly white balanced? Are the actors properly powdered? Don’t want them to shine.

Audio. Pay CLOSE attention to audio. It is often neglected on independent films. Good audio will most likely push your movie over the edge.

Do you have enough tapes or film to get you through the day? Is electricity readily available at your location? Do you have enough crew members to get the job done?

I’d suggest having someone there to take good notes for editing and to act as a backup for the director, making sure everything that needs to be shot… is being shot. The director needs to focus on the actors’ performances. Let someone else do all the paper work. Let someone else do the lighting setup if you can. Try not to do all things all the time.

Post-Production.
For another day.

Please check out the teaser trailer I’ve made for the movie we shot entitled, Stall.
All info related to the movie will be here—> www.miabifilms.com/stall

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