Behind the Scenes – Episode 7 – The Preproduction Blues

Thanks for joining me today again for our 3rd week of shows, episode 7. I’m really excited to talk with you today about something that’s been on my mind lately. And that’s planning for a shoot. I know what you’re thinking…”I’ve got no time.” “I don’t wanna plan, I just want to start filming.” “I have the attention span of a bunny rabbit, what are you even talking about?” I’m taking about taking aim before you pull the trigger. Many a film shoot has been doomed from the beginning because somebody forgot to check if the lead actor had to go visit his poor sick grandmother. I know that it’s totally reasonable and family is more important, but when the guy calls you 30 minutes AFTER call time, really the only person you can blame is yourself for not planning well enough. Well – I take it back – you can probably blame him too.

My name is Mandel Lum and you’re watching Behind The Scenes, a weekly internet series that brings you behind the scenes to show you how I make my films.

If you think that it will take you a day to shoot your movie, you can bet that if you’re not used to preparing, it’ll take you several days to get ready. Yeah, nobody ever told you that filmmaking wasn’t all glamorous artistic endeavor and walking around with your thumb and pointer fingers forming a box? That sometimes the hardest part of filmmaking is just plain calling everyone to make sure they’re aware of the changes in the script? And that you’re probably going to have to rush down to Subway and order a sandwich platter for lunch? Yup, say hi to PRE-production, the weird half-brother to film production. Compared to production, nothing about it is glamorous. It’s the stage that happens after story development, so that means you’d be finished with the writing process and you’ve got a real script in your hands.

And thanks to that wonderfully written script, you’ve got something to work with. The Director will break up the script into acting beats and figure out the moment-to-moment motivations of each character and their general story arc. The DP figures out the needed shots to tell the director’s story. The Casting Director auditions possible actors to fill the story’s characters. Location scouts will look for the right locations for those shots. The Assistant Director will figure out the shooting schedule and make everything fit into packed days. The Costumer, Makeup Designer, and Art Director all work on the visual look of the different characters, objects and set pieces in the video. And we’re not even getting into the financial departments yet. We still have to fund and budget for any larger production.

Every part of the production process stems from something that exists in the script. Props, costumes, locations, characters, even shot ideas and acting beats have to start from somewhere. And without doing any of this preparation, you might have a ton of fun when your deepest fears finally happen. .

Thanks for watching Behind the Scenes. If you’ve got any questions you’d like me to answer, put them in the comments and I’ll answer it in a video. Check back in Tuesdays for new episodes and subscribe right here. We’d love to hear from you any good criticism about the show. Do you like the content? Want more details? Let me know in the comments and help me make this show a real destination for filmmaking ideas and talk.

Til’ next time. Peace.

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