With only four weeks until we begin shooting, we are now in the thick of pre-production. As many of you already know, pre-production is the period of time before principal photography when we make all the preparations for the shoot. These preparations include everything you can think of and more:
- Hiring Crew
- Casting Actors
- Securing Locations
- Preparing Shot Lists/Storyboards
- Contracts/Legal Matters
- Arranging Set Operations (food, gear, transportation, rentals)
- Design Prep (Set pieces and costume pieces)
- Wardrobe Fittings
That's a fairly simplified and abbreviated list of the to-dos involved when prepping a film. One would think that being a lower-budget film shortens the complexity of pre-production. Well, it does and it doesn't. We don't have to worry about prepping big-budget luxuries like massive trucks, trailers, drivers, planes, explosions, dailies, airfares, etc. However, our budget constraints often require us to be a little more creative in terms of organizing logistics. For any given task, we end up spending 50% of our time finding a solution we can afford, rather than a solution that's just a good one. But lack of money should really never be an excuse for what you show onscreen. Luckily, we have a terrific team that refuses to settle for the cheap, easy option if it won't help our film look better or play better. This is usually where we end up eating up time looking for the absolute perfect location/prop/actor what-have-you.
What have you?
This feeds into the big question I am perpetually asking myself throughout this process: What is the difference between making a movie and making a good movie. In pre-production it's hard not to get caught up in the web of logistical hurdles. It's easy to start feeling like you are a slave to your schedule, financial decisions, and location constraints, and you spend less and less time considering the things that most directly translate to the screen. I find that if I remind myself never to take off the "creative hat" then any and all non-creative decisions will be made from an inspired place as opposed to a place of indie filmmaker desperation.
More specifics on the pre-production particulars to come. Here's to a productive week!