Whether you’re striving to have your movie shown in cinemas all across the world or maybe you want your TV drama to be the next big show that has audiences glued to their TV sets week in week out waiting for the next episode or perhaps it’s simply a case of just wanting to put your work out on YouTube because you have no other choice, whatever your aspirations are if you want your production to run smoothly then you might want to invest time in planning ahead.

Knowing the basics in how these practices work can go a long way towards making a terrible production into a half decent one, even an enjoyable or good one. While my significant filmmaking experiences have been through university the premises I have learnt are utilized by professionals throughout the film and television industry.

The Idea – Perhaps the most over looked step is not just having the initial idea but then developing that idea to the point where it is ready for pre production. During this stage it is wise to think about what your production is capable of and what obstacles you may have to overcome. That epic Matrix slow motion style fight scene you want may not be reachable within your budget if you only have £10.50 in your bank account. Think about what is realistically achievable within your budget and your crew’s skill set. Embrace early difficulties and use your creativity to solve these problems during pre production. Creativity is a fundamental part of the filmmaking process so don’t see having to alter your plans as a problem as it maybe for the best.

Pre Production – As you continue to develop your idea into a script inevitably the pre production stage will constantly evolve as you location scout and audition for actors. Even art, props and make up departments will be affected with even the smallest change to a scene or character. Pre production is also the time for admin work. Write up schedules for your shoot days so you know what your crew are doing on each day and when your actors are needed. Release forms, health and safety checks, scripts, will all help your shoot days run smoothly as well as cover you from legal troubles, far better you think about these things ahead of time.

The Shoot – If your schedule allows for it either before the shoot or on the day, rehearsals will give a chance for your cinematographer and director to finalist shooting scripts, the script writer to get the script in the best possible shape and also allow your actors additional time to learn their lines and gel with the rest of the cast. However, no matter how much you’ve prepared and how solid your schedule is things such as actors not showing up, weather or other emergencies could put a spanner in your works so make sure you have taken into account for extra shooting days, just in case. Because if you think it won’t go wrong it probably will. Perhaps the biggest necessity though is to make sure your cast and crew are looked after throughout the day!

Post Production – For some of the crew their jobs don’t even start until post production but this will also run smoothly if you have a schedule, even if you are not working to a deadline. Under the guidance of the director and producer, editor/s, animators (if necessary) and sound/music department all come together to really bring the initial concept to life. This is also the make or break time so if you need extra shooting days to get extra shots, voice over’s or even just to grab some still images then now is the time because you might not have your actors once they have fulfilled their commitments.

This is just a simple breakdown as to how your film or television making agenda could work. Obviously the bigger the production and the higher the budget can complicate the process, however, the principles remain the same. Happy filming!