Micro-Budget Filmmaking: Pre-production | Dustin Curtis Murphy | Skillshare

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Micro-Budget Filmmaking: Pre-production

teacher avatar Dustin Curtis Murphy, Director, Writer, Filmmaker

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

10 Lessons (45m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Essential Pieces of the Puzzle

    • 3. Budgeting, Crowdsourcing & Funding

    • 4. Example of a Crowdsourcing Video

    • 5. Micro-Budget Hacks

    • 6. Setting Up Your Production

    • 7. Shooting Schedule

    • 8. Call Sheets, Sides & Contracts

    • 9. The Shot List

    • 10. Class Project & Send Off

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About This Class

This is the second part of the Micro-Budget Filmmaking Series where you’ll be guided through the entire filmmaking process by award winning filmmaker Dustin Curtis Murphy. Murphy's work has screened at BAFTA/BIFA qualifying festivals and his latest short film was a semi-finalist at the Academy Award qualifying Rhode Island International Film Festival. Part two is a beginner-to-intermediate class about pre-production.

"What is pre-production?"

Pre-production is everything you need to do to get your ducks in a row prior to hitting the record button on day 1 of filming. Pre-production is often a step that first-time filmmakers skip, however it's an important aspect of the filmmaking process that will help ensure that you haven't missed some essential piece of the puzzle.

In this class, you'll be guided through all the breakdowns and spreadsheets you'll need to set yourself up for success and I'll help you brainstorm ways to attract talent despite having limited resources.

In this class you’ll learn:

  • How to get the most bang for your buck on a micro-budget
  • How to attract talented collaborators willing to work for free
  • The essential (and non-essential) roles every production should fill
  • Tips on crowdsourcing from an instructor who’s previously run successful crowdsourcing campaigns
  • How to organize your production

This class is perfect for students who’ve completed Part 1 on Screenwriting, however, it can also work as a standalone class. To get the most out of this class, you’ll need to already come to the table with a finished screenplay ready to next the step closer to filming it.

About the Micro-Budget Filmmaking Series:

If you’re looking to propel yourself forward in the craft of filmmaking - whether that be an eventual goal to be a screenwriter, director, producer, cinematographer, editor, sound designer, you name it - you need to know everything you can about what it takes to actually get a production off the ground. It’s great to work with a team of artists who are at the top of their craft, but unless you’re fortunate enough to have a large budget or be hired by someone who does, it’s likely that for a time you will find yourself coming up with your own projects, self-financing and filling multiple roles yourself as your hone your talents.

Multitasking a variety of roles on a micro-budget production is great practice for when you eventually join larger productions. Understanding the basics of every role will only make you a more effective communicator and leader. It will allow you to empathize with the challenges that specialized workers face and help you to set reasonable expectations for collaborators.

Two classes in this series are available now!

Parts 4 & 5 (covering Post Production & Distribution) are Coming Soon

Meet Your Teacher

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Dustin Curtis Murphy

Director, Writer, Filmmaker


Dustin Curtis Murphy is an award-winning filmmaker from Los Angeles, CA. After winning Best Student Short at the age of 18 at Shriekfest, Hollywood, Murphy has continued to make films that have screened at BAFTA/BIFA qualifying film festivals. His latest film Samaritan was a Semi-Finalist at the Academy Award Qualifying Rhode Island International Film Festival and is now available to watch online via Omeleto. His previous film festival hit, Nora, premiered at the British Film Institute as the centrepiece of a TED Talk event and is now available on Amazon Prime after winning 19 awards at various festivals, including two for best director.

More info at: www.dcmfilmmaker.com

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1. Introduction: My name is Dustin Curtis Murphy. For those of you who have already taken part one of this micro budget filmmaking, Siri's micro budget screenwriting, you already know a little bit about my background for those who are new, First off, Welcome and second, for the sake of saving re occurring students some time, check out my bio to see who I am and what experience I bring to the table. In a nutshell. I've option screenplays. Crowdsourced, a Web series Several of my short films have won awards at film festivals, and my latest film is now streaming on Amazon Prime. My micro Budget, Siri's is an overview of everything you need to know. Toe actually get your film made throughout the course. I'll guide you through the entire filmmaking process. Did you? How to make a great film with nothing more than the assets? You already have it here, disposing by the end, you'll be equipped to make your own micro budget films. But for now I'm going to focus on an aspect of filmmaking that first timers often overlook and that is pre production. You might be asking yourself what is pre production and why should I learn it. Preproduction is everything that you do after writing the screenplay, but before you yell action that first day on set, it's an important aspect of the filmmaking process that would help ensure that you haven't missed some essential pieces of the puzzle. In this class, you'll learn how to get the most bang for your buck on a micro budget. How to attract talented collaborators willing to work for free, essential and non essential roles. Every production should fill tips on crowd sourcing from someone who's previously ran successful crowdsourcing campaigns and how to organize your production. All guide you through all the breakdowns and spreadsheets that you'll need to set yourself up for success and help you brainstorm ways to attract talent. Despite having limited resources, this class is perfect for anyone who's completed part one on screen writing. However, it can also work as a standalone class. To get the most out of this class, you'll need toe already come to the table with finished screenplay. Whether or not you wrote that screenplay is part of my previous course. This is so I can help you through the specifics of your pre production needs. So you can see your work flourish. Don't have a screenplay. Well, just start with my first class, and then we'll see you back here once you've completed it. All right, now let's get started. 2. Essential Pieces of the Puzzle: Congratulations if you just completed part one in my course. Siri's micro budget screenwriting than you are now an official screenwriter, one of the easiest yet least tapped into elements for new talent. Pursuing their dreams is owning the title. When I moved into L. A. After living on the outskirts as a kid, I asked one of my most successful director friends his secret. How do you keep getting director gig after director? How do you even get your first directing? The answer that he gave me was shockingly simple. Oh, I just tell people I'm a director and they hired obviously, you need to first get yourself in front of the right. But often I hear people blow amazing opportunities due to their lack of confidence. They say, Oh, I'm trying to be a screenwriter. Oh, I'm an aspiring film director. Have you written a screenplay? Then you're a screenwriter? Own up to it. No one is going to take you seriously unless you do first. Are you a full fledged filmmaker? Well, almost. First you have to learn the basics of pre production. Now that you have a script, what do you need to do to prepare yourself to bring that strip toe life. I can't tell you how many times have shown up on set. And lo and behold, production has to be postponed on the day off because somebody's forgot some essential prop or something else that they simply cannot shoot without. All the pain, embarrassment and wasted time can be prevented with several pre production processes that help empower you for success. So what are all the raw elements that go into a production? Well, for now, let's just start with the basics, props, locations, equipment and talent both on screen and behind the scenes. All of these needs are outlined in your screenplay. Your screenplay is your blueprint, even though it might not be formatted like schematics. Paul Schrader, screenwriter of Taxi Driver, puts it this way. Screenplays are not works of art. They are invitations to collaborate on a work of art. If you've ever gone to the movies and I'll assume you have, I'm sure you've noticed the long list of names and titles. After the film is finished, they seem to go on forever, and most of us have no idea what it is that most of these people are doing? Sure. You know, the director is the person that gets to yell action and the actors air easy because you get to see their faces as they do their work. But what is a grip? What is the best boy? What is a fully artists? And how was that job different from a re recording? Fully engineer. The good news is that unless you're headed to work on a union big budget production, you won't need to memorize all those job titles. Yet for your micro budget production, all you need to know are the following basics. Producer, director, screenwriter, director of photography or cinematographer. Editor Sound guy Being raised in the industry I assume that everyone inherently knew what these job titles were. But in teaching these classes, I've learned not to assume the obvious. So I'm not gonna go into the definition of these basic jobs. And if you already know this information because you're already that advanced, I do apologize. In layman's terms, the producer is the boss, the person who's behind the scenes, acting as a general manager, making sure all the pieces of the puzzle are coming together. Producers do the hiring and firing and they have the final say. Some producers come up with an idea and then hire the screenwriter and director to bring their idea to life. Others search for worthy screenplays that interest them. Producers are the person with a strong understanding of the time and cost implications of the directors and writers artistic requests. Often times, this is the person who wrangles up the money for the budget or funds the project themselves . The director is the team leader, the person who works with the actors and the crew to give the overall artistic vision for the peace. They come up with the shot list. Give actors they're blocking, make final decisions about costumes and colors, etcetera. The screenwriter is the person who writes the script, dialogue, action and all. Sometimes they write it, then handed off other times there on set for spur of the moment. Rewrites, the director of photography is like the cameraman. While they don't always operate the camera but instead choose to delegate that job, they're responsible for the look of the film. They worked closely with the director to make sure they're using the right lighting lenses , etcetera to achieve the director's vision the editor is the person who puts the footage together at the end. During postproduction. Some editors rely on Data Wranglers to properly store all the footage in a safe spot until they're ready to undertake their work. Others are involved as earliest preproduction to give assistance, and on low budget productions, they could be doing the data wrangling themselves. The sound guy should be obvious. They record the sound. And, yes, I know they aren't always guys. In the world of micro budget filmmaking, it's likely that you'll be filling two or more of these rules yourself just in order to get your film made. But don't worry. That doesn't mean that you're doing it the wrong way. Even great directors like Robert Rodriguez, who directed Sin City and Once Upon a Time in Mexico, started out self financing their own micro budget productions and wearing all the hats you can read just about how Robert Rodriguez did it in his great book Rebel Without a Creep. Don't get me wrong. It's great to work with a team of artists who are at the top of their craft, but unless you're fortunate enough to have unlimited resource is or be hired by somebody with a big budget that it's likely that for a time you will find yourself coming up with your own ideas. So financing those ideas and wearing multiple hats during production in order to get your career off the ground next, we're gonna take a look at budgeting, crowdsourcing and other creative ways to raise the funds you need to successfully finance your project. And here's a sneak peek. It takes less money than you think. 3. Budgeting, Crowdsourcing & Funding: Now it's time to talk about your budget and I know what you're thinking. What budget? Since you're interested in micro budget filmmaking, I'm gonna go out on a limb here and assume that you're re sources are shall we say, limited. Still, I know you're dedicated to your filmmaking and you want to see your film flourish. Now, you could start to throw your own money in your project, or you could start to finance your project through other means. There are several ways to go about funding your project. However, I feel most equipped to talk to you about a way that I've had personal successes and that is crowd sourcing. Crowd sourcing is when you get a bunch of people to give you a little bit of money rather than trying to convince the big boys to drop a load of cash all at once. It's $5 from Uncle John and $10 from Mom and Dad, and hopefully, by the end of it, you end up with enough cash to at least make something. There are certain websites like Kickstarter go fund me, Indiegogo and patri on, among others that helped facilitate your crowdsourcing efforts and bring legitimacy toe what you're trying to do. Each online community has its niche. They all have their own interests in mind and use your search for funds as a way to piggyback on their own search for the almighty dollar. Some take a portion of the money you raise. Others ask your donors for additional money on top of what they gave you some platforms, arm or advantageous than others. Now here's my quick guide to some of the more popular platforms. Go Fund Me has a certain niche. It's used mostly for charitable work. Rather than create a funding. Well, I've used the platform to contribute to some of my favorite worthy causes. I've never actually ran a Go Fund me campaign for a creative project due to this reason. So I'm gonna strike this off the list. Right now, Patri on is a site where fans can contribute to your creative projects on an ongoing basis , much like a monthly blech. It's great for recurring needs like Web series, however, not the most practical way for doing a one off film. Kickstarter is one of the most well known crowd sourcing platforms for creatives and entrepreneurs you can raise funds to Kickstarter by setting up a campaign period, say, 30 days in which you hope to raise X amount of dollars. The way you convince people to contribute money to your campaign is by offering tears of rewards. For example, contribute $10 get an official sticker, contribute $25 get a DVD copy of the finished film contribute $100 be named as an executive producer on the film. Kickstarter is quite popular, so the upside is that your project has the opportunity to be seen by more people than many of the other crowdsourcing sites. The downside is that if you don't meet your financial goal, then you don't get to keep any of the money, and it all goes back to your donors. Indiegogo is another site that operates very similarly to Kickstarter. The big difference is that it has a smaller amount of visitors to the site, so your project is seen by less eyes. However, there is an upside. Indiegogo allows you to keep the money you raise regardless if you meet your goal or not. When I was faced with the decision of how to crowd source My own project. I chose Indiegogo, while I would have liked to have taken advantage of the Kickstarter community and get my project and from more eyes The truth is, all my contributors ended up being people I already knew and not strangers who stumbled upon my project. All my donors were either friends, friends of friends or someone within my network of collaborators. That being the case, you might say, Well, why even use a crowd sourcing website at all? Why not just do it myself? You know, it's it's a valid point. However, there's a certain amount of legitimacy that comes from using an established website that really shows your potential donors how serious you are. Many of my donors weren't people I had close relationships with, but mere acquaintances that, like the project that I was doing, crowd sourcing can be a good way to create some funds for your project. However, I wouldn't recommend using it over and over and over again to generate money for several different projects. Your network will most likely only be able to handle one crowdsourcing campaign every few years or so, so if you do choose to go this route be very selective about which projects you pursue by this method. If you've had some success with crowdsourcing in the past, don't assume that your necessarily gonna have the same success each time you do it. Also, don't put your picture online and then forget about it. Don't leave it there and expected to accumulate money unless you put more additional love into it. The success of my own campaign was heavily due to the amount of events that I ran in conjunction with my online campaign. Once you've chosen your desired platform, the real work begins. You need to create a compelling video pitch written pitch, set up your perks and turn on the machine. The next video is an example of a crowdsourcing pitch video from a successful campaign that I ran several years ago. So when what you can from seeing a pitch video in action and then skip ahead to the following video to continue the lesson 4. Example of a Crowdsourcing Video: reference cam. One reference cam to okay, we're here at, um happy our sketch comedy Season three Conceptualization meeting number one. Yeah. Any ideas? Yep. Okay, so here we are, on the verge of starting season three of Happy Hour sketch comedy. Hopefully, you're familiar with our work in Seasons one and two. Pack up Emily Cale about going off sport a while while West Alan Abandon, the character of Robin, decided to play Batman himself much shorter. Maybe you know us from even before our big debut on the web. But we were a live stage show. Or if you're my mom, my mom, maybe you remember from when I was making Happy Hour videos in the backyard. Needless to say, since those days, we've come a long way. Welcome toe happy Our studios I got This is how we're gonna start Season three. You start off ends, seeing falling from the sky, we're gonna need a bigger budget. We've improved quite a bit from seasons. One and two. That's right. We've completed two seasons. That's almost 40 sketches making up roughly two hours of content for the Web. When those two years, we've reached an audience of nearly 35,000 with YouTube. Funny or Die Happy Hour sketch comedy. The Web series. No longer a single boy with a rogue flip cam. We've expanded to a cast and crew of over 30 people, but now we're upping the ante. It's time for Season three and we need your help. What you're asking yourself, Why should I support Happy Hour sketch comedy? Take a look at these testimonials. I completely support Happy Hour sketch comedy. I gave them all I owe. And it was. What of the investment we've been planning? Season three For months. Lodging in July were planning to bring to the Web 12 new episodes. We've done the math. We've crunched the numbers and we know what we need to get this project afloat. We need money for an array of things. Locations, craft services, equipment, props, costumes, death web marketed, a nice steak dinner. Stay in the glass, striking place, ceiling lamp, my own personal trade. Lamborghini Veneno, a pony. Guys, we're only asking for five Branch. That's right. We're only asking for $5500 to be exact. What can I say? Were funny and we're fast and cheap, but not in a sleazy way. You'll find the details of where your money will be going right below this video on our profile. And don't worry, Lamborghini is not one of our line items. That was a joke. This is a comedy show With your help and financial support. This video can have a happy ending. Don't you want a happy ending? Happy. I would love you long time. 5. Micro-Budget Hacks: when all else fails and you find yourself with less financial resource is then you would have wished for. Don't give into the temptation to abandon ship or postpone production. I mean, reasonably analyze your situation and ask yourself a tough question whether or not you're ready. But don't let in experience or lack of funds hold you back when you hit that brick wall. Believe me, it's a brick wall that every filmmaker before you has faced. If you wait for conditions to be absolutely perfect, then there's a very strong chance that you will never take that initial step and make your production. Now we'll be talking about some micro budget hacks to help you park or over that brick wall . So your production smooth sailing the best five ways to spend your barely their budget. Most bang for your buck camera. This is obvious. Without a camera, there is no movie. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that you have a camera and want to shoot the project yourself. That's fine. The more hats you could personally fill, the better as far as your budget is concerned. But it's always wise to understand your own limitations and seek the essential collaborators. Well, I have some talent As a self shooting director. I always prefer to work with a great cinematographer. A lot of DP has come with their own lighting, camera and even sometimes sound equipment. So if you find a good collaborator in this area, you may have just hit the jackpot. Cinematographers For small productions like yours often times are the camera operators themselves, but it's wise to verify this in advance. If you have a limited resource is to spend on a self shooting GOP with their own kit would be one of the best places you could spend that money. I've worked with very talented craftsman with cutting edge equipment who have had a day rate of only a few $100. Sometimes renting the equipment alone would cost about the same. Here's some tips about GOP's Where can you find one? They're everywhere. Once you know where to look. Try meet up Facebook groups. Industry sites like manna dot com. Try instagram DeMeo Always ask for riel or examples of their work. So you know what kind of quality finished product you can expect. How do you know you get along the Best Way I found is the first shot about your tastes. Best collaboration experiences I've had is with people who gel with your vision. If you want to make a comedy akin to Step Brothers and your cinematographer is a huge fan of Nicholas roughing, then it's likely you'll both be trying to make different movies. Who knows? Opposites attract, and the polar opposite styles could create something interesting. However, in my experience, the best collaborations are those with individuals who have similar sensibilities. If you're having trouble finding the right GOP, then I'd encourage you to just go for it yourself, even if you lack the equipment. Most of us these days have a smartphone, and the newer ones are actually great tools for filmmaking. Some even come with better hardware than professional DSLR cameras. For example, Oscar winning director Steven Soderbergh just shot his most recent major release on iPhone . That's right, the same iPhone that's in your pocket right now. When equipped with third party APS and clip on lenses, you could get a killer camera kit for dirt cheap to sound equipment. A good sound person is one of the most underrated people on set, but an important investment to make audiences are actually mawr unforgiving a bad sound than they are. Bad visuals on most micro budget productions that I've seen sound has been an afterthought . And seeing as the least important element of the production sound is not an afterthought Repeated with me like a mantra. Sound is not an afterthought. If you're at a loss as how to go about capturing great quality sound, maybe ask for a lead from your GOP, maybe someone that they've worked with before. Otherwise, there's the same previously mentioned methods of finding a GOP to find your sound person as well. If you're looking to purchase equipment and handling the sound yourself, a relatively inexpensive shotgun mike and recording device should do the trick as long as you know how to get the best sound out of it. Here's a hint. Don't hand the microphone to your little brother who's just doing you a favor and could care less about the sound quality. I'll go more into cinematography and sound in the next section on production. For now, let's move on with preproduction tips. Three. Food for cast and crew casting is one of the most important things you could do. Fighting actors you can trust to deliver a good performance when the pressure is on and you're up against the clock can either make or break your film way I've sourced most of my talent is through scouting and becoming involved in community theater projects. A lot of community actors are used to working for free and do so because it's their passion . It's likely they'll be more than happy to express themselves on screen as well as on stage . Also, many involved in community theater are also looking to make a jump into the professional world of acting. If your film contains a rule that they can sink their teeth into, it's likely that they'll be more than happy to get involved because they needed quality footage to use in their acting real. Even if you're paying actors and crew, you want to keep them happy. Woman set. This means keeping them well fed and with ample breaks to consume the food you provide them . We should ask in advance about any special dietary. It's a small gesture that goes a long way. If you have managed to get actors and crew for free food, is how you keep them gas and travel money if you're traveling to multiple locations, said some cash aside for your own gas and to compensate any other drivers, often times when you're asking for collaborators to work for free, they're not actually working for free. It's costing them to join your production. Let them know that you thought about it, and you want to help them at least break even. Five. Post production and release Don't spend everything on production. You'll need some money left over if you want to hire an editor. Sound designer by Music Online Find a composer and entering into film festivals is one of the most expensive aspects of indie filmmaking. Think about the full picture so you don't end up with film that can't find its audience. 6. Setting Up Your Production: grab a pen and paper, open up notes on your computer. Or, better yet, open up XLR, Google Sheets and let's make a spreadsheet. It's time to spend some time with your screenplay, starting at Page one so we can organize all the moving parts of your micro budget production, breaking down a screenplay and seem like a daunting task. But once you get past that overwhelming feeling that even the best producers know all too well, you'll actually find out that a preproduction spreadsheet is a very easy document to make. All you have to do is chug away. The work can be tedious, but the better job doing preproduction, the more easy or life will be during production, I would recommend going through the following process, no matter how simple you think your production this. Since Google Sheets is free and as a guerrilla micro budget filmmaker, you're gonna want to find ways to cut corners. I'm gonna walk you through my process on Google sheets. Feel free to use my process as a template, and adjust is necessary to fit your needs if you'd like to follow along. Here is the link to a Google Sheets example that I've already created. Step one. Open up your spreadsheet and your screenplay side by side in the spreadsheet and several tabs at the bottom and name these tabs accordingly. Cast crew equipment locations seen cast scene props See. Let's start in the cast step to fill in your cast. Information. How many rolls do you have? Not just speaking rules but supporting in background roles as well. Do you have any of the rules cast yet? Label the A column. Cast. The B column Actors and the Sea column notes. Perhaps you're considering multiple actors from a role, and you want to keep track of their reels. The SEA column would be a great place to store that information or just store their contact info so you have one central place you can go to to get that info easily in the D column, create space to input the actors availability. Once you have cast them, you'll find this very handy when it comes time to make your shooting schedule. Step three Next move on to the crew tab set this up similar to the Cats tab with columns for a crew position notes and availability start with the basics writer, director, producer, cinematographer sound guy, an editor. And if you're fortunate enough to have a bigger crew, you can add them later. This brings us to the next tap. Step four. List all the assets that you have available to you to shoot your piece with and all the assets you'd like to have. IPhone filmmaking is becoming increasingly popular at the technology has progressed to accommodate four K. So if you're just starting out, don't let your lack of a red camera hold you off from getting into production. If you're looking for a nice middle ground to balance quality and budget, many great short films have been shot on simple DSLR cameras. The equipment tab is also a good place to keep track of any specialty shots that you might need, for example, drone shots or gimbal shots. But it's best to keep specialty shots like this to a minimum and only use them if you feel it is essential to telling your story in the best way possible. Now comes the job of making a scene by scene breakdown of your screenplay. Step five. Now head over to the locations seen tab in the A column List all of your seen numbers. These numbers should correspond with your shooting script. Some more advanced screenwriting software automatically assigns you seen numbers, but since you might not have the budget for fancy software, just write the number next to your seen heading in your script. So it looks like this number in your scenes is essential, especially if you have more than one scene, which takes place at the same location. In some instances, you might find yourself tweaking your script after you've gone into preproduction. Don't let this throw off your seen numbering. You don't have to go back to the beginning of this process and repeat work. If you wrote a new scene between three and four, just name it 3.1. Rather than naming it. Seen four and then renaming Seen four dozen five and renaming C five to C in six and renaming seen six. Okay, you get the point. Keep these seen numbers consistent across all production documentation. In the B column list, you're seeing settings interior, living room, interior, bowling alley, exterior bowling alley, etcetera in the SEA column list. The time of day. The scene takes place day night dawn dusk in the D and E column list, your confirmed locations and your main point of contact at that location. It's OK to leave this blank when first creating your spreadsheet, but it's good to have a place to put this information. Once you do have it, start by filling in all the locations that you yourself can handle. For example, it's always best to use your really living room rather than recreating a set of a living room. Yes, on some big productions, filmmakers like to fly walls in and out so they can film from all angles that would otherwise be impossible to film from in a real room. But remember, you're on a budget. Spending that budget on recreating a living room is almost always unnecessary, all right. I know some of this might sound obvious, but I have actually witnessed firsthand filmmakers who spent hours upon hours of recreating simple, mundane sets like bedrooms and living rooms, and the result was that their production looked really, really inauthentic, and they wasted a ton of time trying to do something. The rial Hollywood way rial Hollywood films use locations all the time. Not everything you see in a Hollywood production is some recreated set. When you can't hire a full art department, the world becomes your art department. Now I'm going to assume that there are a few locations that you still need to go scout for , so we'll leave those blank Step six cover code. Use a different color for each location. This is a great way to visualize the information to wrap your head around it. And while it might be an easy step to skip when prepping for a short film for feature films , this is essential now. I can easily look at all this information and make the best decision about how to schedule these scenes. It just makes sense to shoot all the yellow scenes on the same day and all the orange jeans on a different day and so on again. I've witnessed too many filmmakers bounced back and forth between their locations, wasting time wasting gas, wasting money when they could have just done a little bit of planning in advance and saved all that effort. Of course, you don't always have the luxury of location being your only factor when planning a shooting schedule. Perhaps one of the most mental things. The handle is the schedules of talent. Let's go to the cast. Seen Tab, Step seven Copy column, A, B and C from the locations Tab and paste it in the cast. Seen tab. List your characters names with one character per column, starting in column D and moving forward until you've listed the full cast. Put an X in the box where the row and column urge to show whether or not a particular character appears in a particular scene. For example, seen one on Lee takes place between John and Charlie, so those are the only two characters who haven't X in their column in that particular road . Once again, copy column A, B and C and paste them into the props. Seen tab. Start flipping through your script and take notes of every proper you need. Right the names of all the props in their own column, for example, are screenplay tells us that Scene one contains a TV remote, a margarita and a garden. No, once we get to the bowling alley in seeing to the screenplay tells us that all the characters air drinking beers that one has brought along their homework and that John brought along his garden gnome. This is a great way to keep track of what assets you need to keep with you as you move from location to location so you don't end up showing upto a shoot with a key ingredient missing . If you're wearing many hats, your mind will be pulled in several directions. Don't rely on your memory when it comes to the day of production. 7. Shooting Schedule: now that you fully analyzed your screenplay and come up with several lists of any and every element you need to get your production made. Now let's use all this data to create your shooting schedule. Create a new tab called Shooting Schedule here, cut and paste the information from the other pages and tweak things around until you figured out the most efficient way to produce your fell. If you look at the example, I've assembled one sample suggestion of how to best put together the puzzle for this particular example Screenplay. Obviously, adjustments will have to be made for location and actor availability, however, noticed the national progression of the shooting schedule. I chose to shoot seeing six first because that scene is supposed to take place first thing in the morning rather than starting on scene one. Also notice that the scenes have been clumped together where possible, to provide actors with the schedule where their scenes air all shot in a row rather than having them stand and wait while you shoot someone else's scene. I always think about the atmosphere that you'd like to have on your set and have empathy for your collaborators 8. Call Sheets, Sides & Contracts: Now is the time to create the document to help you communicate with your cast and crew. It's a document that will let them know where they have to be and when they have to be there and how long they're expected to work. Transposed day ones. Information from your shooting schedule. Toe a new tab and label this tab Day one call sheet. What is a call sheet? A call. She is an internal document used to communicate to crew and actors. All call sheets should contain the following the name of your production, the date of filming relevant to this document. Call Times and wrap times for talent and crew. Full addresses for the location. You expect everyone to show up at a contact number for yourself or someone else who you've appointed to be the main go to for production. Communication the schedule for the day with relevant seen numbers so everyone can prepare for the scenes you're planning to shoot. In addition to the call sheet, most productions like the hand out what are called sides. At the same time, sides contain only the relevant pages from a screenplay that you plan on shooting that day . This is a great way to update the cast and crew with any changes that you may have made to the script. Any rewrites. But be sure to highlight those changes so overeager actors don't show up on set memorizing the wrong dialogue. Also, don't forget out contracts when making a micro budget production. You're responsible for so many moving pieces that it's often easy to forget this part, and I'm not talking about pages and pages of legalese. I'm just talking about a simple document. Basically, get something down in writing that says You're actor, your cameraman, your composer, Your whoever agrees to do the work for free and gives you full permission to use their work in your film and in promoting your film, I am by no means in a position to give you any specific legal advice. I will, however, point you to a great legal asset that I've used. That's a great tool for indie filmmakers. A book entitled The Independent Film Producers Survival Guide, A Business and Legal Sourcebook. It's written as a collaboration by three entertainment lawyers who have 70 plus years of combined experience in the industry 9. The Shot List: to prepare for battle. I like to spend the night before any shoot emerged in the art and craft of filmmaking. If I've done my job as a screenwriter and producer, I should be able to set aside those hats and purely wear my director's hat. There's one final, essential piece of preproduction that's still lingering. So for procrastinators like myself, somewhere between pre production and production is the shot list. A shot list is a full log of all the shots you want to include in your film. Essentially, it is a checklist filled with minute details that give your film a sense of direction and efficiency. It's a great tool to communicate with your crew. And if you lack a crew, a great way to organize yourself and keep you on track. If you happen to be the cinematographer on your set, then you might be tempted to start shooting off the cuff. However, I recommend fully and whole heartedly the benefits of writing out a shot list and planning your production. Your shot list can act as a checklist to ensure that you don't end up in the editing bay. Having missed that critical shot and now you can't even do reshoots because the lead actor you wrapped has now gone and shaved his beard, and that sent continuity out the window. The more artistic among us may choose to include illustrations along with their shop list. This would be called a storyboard. Storyboards are great if you have the talent and time. However, I've seen many micro budget productions use storyboards as a crutch. Some directors like to shoot for coverage. What this means is that they shoot the entire scene from every angle, giving the editor the optimal amount of choice for the editing bay. Ron Howard is famous for this. He preaches his simple message of shooting a wide shot medium and Siris of close ups for the full duration of every scene. Other directors hold the editor in contempt. I know that if they give them options in the Editing bay that the editor will likely cut the film together in a way that the director might not approve. Off M. Night Shyamalan bragged about using this method while shooting my personal favorite film of his unbreakable. Nearly every scene of that film is one shot which allows the actors to play out the scene much like a piece of theater. It could be a great technique for dramatic effect and, as a bonus, a real time saver. You don't have to shoot the same bit of dialogue over and over again when you know that you're only going to use one angle in the final cup, However, this method can get you into trouble. If imposed, you find that a certain scene is running too long and could benefit from being cut down. Now you don't have the option to cut it down unless you use a jump cup, which makes the film seem like it's skipped ahead and can seem like a mistake. Since it's likely as a guerrilla filmmaker, you're the one who's editing your film together anyways. You might want to give yourself some options rather than being so sure of your vision before you even see if it works or not. If you've written the screenplay yourself, there's a good chance that you already have a vision in your head of what the scene should look like and where the cut should be. Be proactive to set time aside, to really get into your vision, think about what you need coverage wise so you could tell your story in a clear way that people can understand. Also, think about special shots you want to add for flair and style. Here's an example from my short film Without Regret, which is currently streaming on Amazon Prime. This is the first page of my script interior empty studio apartment morning. All is quiet except for the hum of an air conditioner. The room is empty and barren, except for a DSLR camera on a tripod that is pointing at an empty stool. We hear footsteps echo in the room approaching Amelia Juno enters her attire is professional, a touch artistic get conservative? She is a bit bohemian, but only enough to prove that she is an artist. We can tell by looking at her that this is a woman who has things together in her life. Amelia walks to her camera and inserts and SD card into it. Cut to black title credit interior empty studio apartment montage with Amelia behind the camera, we get exposed to a large collection of interviews. Each person being interviewed talks about the things they regret in their lives. These characters range from old to young varying races and colors, and they span the entire social and economical structure. Amelia asked each of them to state their names. And as we cut between their reactions, some let their depth show, while others seem shallow and unsophisticated. Regrets range from business efforts to failed relationships, while others regret their lack of status in the world. After getting a healthy sample of people's regrets, we settle in on one particular individual. His name is Ezra Hudson. He is older but not old. He appears serious and melancholy, but not too sad. Sad would be the wrong word. It's more that he is disappointed. Ezra Hudson. I don't have much to regret in my life. Amelia. Juno, Can you talk about your family as we Hudson two kids, one in Denver, one in Portland, both happily married, one with kids and the other with kids on the way. Here is my shot list for that page. All interviewees shot from the same angle, medium reverse angle of Amelia capturing the footage wide shot of the entire set up medium shot of plead ever Hudson close up of lead to match all other interviewees. Shots pick up, inserting SD cards pick up Amelia prepping camera. And here is that final scene in action. I responded because I have a regret, that of choice of action that I took that has impacted my life for years. I went to prom with someone named Chad, but, like a new brat was going to ask me. She wasn't very keen on me on me doing it because I I sent in my application to Juilliard, you know? And that's out in New York. Well, I'm 58 just turned 58 a short while ago, and it took me a long time to, um, I took too long to admit something to myself. I didn't invite my brother to my wedding. Well, you know, if I don't have love, well, it's not really worth it, but so I decided not to go. I'm an artist, and for a long time I couldn't say that I was an artist. My wife will my ex wife. Now she she cheated on me a lot, so that didn't work out. But I thought it would be no big deal, and we haven't spoken in 15 years. I wished I'd started sooner because I think that I would have done something with it. But the Vikes who wanted yesterday So there's that. I just had this conversation last night with someone, and I said, Don't be someone else be her name's Sharon. Is that b share? Don't be someone that someone Sharon Sharon thinks she needs to be, but be be sharing. Uh, well, I don't really have that many things in my life to regret. Um, could you tell me a little bit about your family? Sure. Uh, two great kids and, Oh, um, two kids, great kids, both happily married boy and a girl. One in Portland, one in Denver, one with kids and the other one with the 1st 1 on the way. Could you tell me about your wife? Well, we've been married going on 47 years. Now, could you tell me a little more about your marriage? You know that that's not really why I responded to the ad. Now, the last thing you should do with your shot list is prioritize it. I once worked with the director who had two days to shoot one scene of a fellow. He started his first day off by doing a long elaborate Dolly shot he would do take after take after take, and by the end of the day, it was the only shot that he got in the camp. Now here's an example of how I prioritized my shots for without regret. I know the close up of my lead is where I'll be focusing most of my time. So it's the most important shot, and the pickup shots of the tiny details, like inserting SD cards are the least important, so they could be tacked onto the end of the day. If all goes to plan, then great, I walk away with everything that I need. But if something goes wrong and I have to make some tough compromises, I've already prioritized my shots in advance. So I know that I'm walking away with the most essential shots. 10. Class Project & Send Off: Hopefully you've started off this class by having already written your screenplay, and you're now ready to get that screenplay into action. Our class project is to create your own preproduction spreadsheet based on your screenplay , so you could then move into the next part of the Siri's and learn how to get your film into production. Use the template I've created to create your own reproduction spreadsheets. If you get stuck along the way or have any questions, feel free to start a discussion or reach out to me in a private message. If you like some feedback once your spreadsheet is done, submit it. I'd be happy to give you some feedback. Thanks for watching my class. I look forward to getting to know you and seeing your productions thrive. If you like my class giving a thumbs up and don't forget to follow me here on skill share, I would like to follow me elsewhere. You can check out my website at dcm filmmaker dot com and also follow me on Twitter and Instagram at DCM Filmmaker