HOW TO PRODUCE A FILM
– How to make a movie!
– How to PRODUCE a film!
– How to be the best Movie Producer
A movie producer has the most important position in film production. Why? Because they start from the top, and are in charge in the entire production. They play many different roles: the mother, the father, the lover, the romancer, the persuader, the psychologist, the soothsayer, the comic, the best friend, the teacher, the warrior, the negotiator, the arbitrator, the dreamer, etc…
The best thing to do when making a film is hire or get people who know what they are doing technically, and with whom you can be in sync, artistically.
Before anything else, the producer must know the end result of the project, and know which path the project will take after it is completed.
THE PICTURE HAS TO BE MADE – You have to do whatever it takes.
The key to being a great producer is TIME MANAGEMENT.
SIX STAGES OF FILM PRODUCTION
-Developing the major elements of the project
-Totally at the expense of the producer
-Selling, money, doing work, showing what you have on the table
-The period that commences as soon as the financing (grants or other funding) has been secured
-Make sure you have all of your Film Agreements in place
-AND make sure you know how to run a proper MEETING
-Immediately follows the development, securing and organizing of personnel and equipment needed for production
-Pre-production SAVES you a bundle in the future IF you’re properly organized
-It’s all about GOOD, CHEAP and FAST
-Know the Rules of Film Budgeting
-Orchestrate all the players, location, equipment, cast, crew and props to prepare for any complications that might occur once the film is rolling
It’s important to think about CONTINGENCIES during this phase.
What if the weather turns bad?
Do we have an alternate location ready to go?
Is there something else we don’t have?
Where are the nearest hardware stores, gas stations, restaurants, groceries, rental cars, etc.?
Back-up CREW MEMBERS.
Make sure before getting to Film Production that:
-Legal problems and FEES are all completed
-Rights acquisitions for songs etc. are taken care of
-STAFF CONTRACTS are drawn and signed
-It is the phase in which most problems can occur
-There are no substitutions for solid groundwork in pre-production
-This is the stage of the manufacture of the RAW PRODUCT
WHAT THE PROJECT FAILS TO DO IN PRE-PRODUCTION AFFECTS THE FILM PRODUCTION, AND WHAT THE PROJECT FAILS TO DO IN PRODUCTION AFFECTS POST-PRODUCTION – ALL OF WHICH WILL AFFECT THE END RESULT
-More than 80% of what happens in post- can be fiscally determined in pre-production
-In order to do so the producer must have a clear understanding of the entire process
-THEY HAVE TO KNOW WHAT EVERY JOB DOES AND HOW TO GET THE JOB DONE – THAT IS A GREAT FILM PRODUCTION
Think of the project from Z to A
-Delivery of the product by those who licensed, and control availability to consumers
-DON’T JUMP INTO FILM PRODUCTION WITH LITTLE CONCERN ABOUT THE WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN TO THE FILM
-Know where you are going and why the film is being made
-The key to a successful filmmaking career is distribution – without it, no one will ever see your FILM
-In producing, your job is to create a marketable product
-Cosumption of the product by the audience
BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE WHOLE PROCESS
Film is one of the three universal languages, the other two: mathematics and music
-FRANK CAPRA, Director (It’s a Wonderful Life, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington)
MONEY-SAVING TIPS FOR FILM PRODUCTION
1. PREPARE A DETAILED BUDGET
Shot list every nuance in advance. See how the story is going to flow visually – then you can change it. Go over the action, dialogue, technical requirements, camera angles, color schemes, costuming, blocking, lighting sound etc…
2. REHEARSE YOUR ACTORS
Build trust with your actors. When it’s time to get to the set, it may take only a word or two from the director to get the actors ready for the camera.
3. COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR DEPARTMENT HEADS
There should be many production meetings, where every script detail is discussed. The department heads can take notes, do their own research, and come up with questions for future meetings. Once you are in FILM PRODUCTION there should be a meeting at the top of the day to go over what you expect to cover, and a short ten-minute meeting at the end of the day to go over what’s coming up. Then the crew can sleep on what’s going on. If any one of the crew senses that the director doesn’t know what he or she is doing, then all respect and enthusiasm for the project is gone. Everyone wants to work on a first-class film.
4. DON’T SPEND MONEY ON UNNECESSARY THINGS
5. USE ‘BUYOUT’ WHEN WORKING ON LOW-BUDGET FILM PRODUCTION PROJECTS
You pay a flat daily rate regardless of how many hours are worked. Then you know how much the cast and crew will cost at the project’s outset and you will avoid overtime charges which can quickly send you over budget.
Give crew a cut after distribution so they can take a daily cut of their on-set fees.
HIRING YOUR FILM CREW FOR YOUR FILM PRODUCTION
CLICK HERE for rules of the trade in hiring the best crew.
They can save you a tremendous amount of money. An assistant director can break down your script. A production manager can prepare a budget. A script consultant can review your script for structural or pacing problems. THEIR IDEAS ALONE CAN SAVE YOU THOUSANDS.
THE GREATEST WEAKNESS OF YOUNG FILMMAKERS IS THAT THEY ARE UNWILLING TO ADMIT THEY DON’T KNOW SOMETHING. ALWAYS SEEK MENTORS.
THE RELATIONSHIPS YOU BUILD ALONG THE PATH OF THE PROFESSION ARE THE RELATIONSHIPS THAT WILL STAY YOU FOR YOUR ENTIRE CAREER
ALL RELATIONSHIPS ARE EQUALLY IMPORTANT
NEVER BURN A BRIDGE – JUST RECONSTRUCT THEM
An independent producer’s responsibility is to know the budget backwards and forwards, inside and out, and creatively finesse the resources so that every cent will be seen on the screen.
LISTEN TO AND CONSIDER PEOPLE’S IDEAS CAREFULLY
People skills are the number one advantage of any kind of filmmaking. Having good people skills, evoking a good performance out of the cast, crew, PAs, studio people and investors, and being able to have people share and believe in your visions and stories are absolutely paramount to the success of any director.
YOU HAVE TO LISTEN TO PEOPLE YOU DISAGREE WITH – TAKE THOSE CRITICISMS FOR WHAT THEY ARE AND LEARN FROM THEM
Your weaknesses can be covered by clever hires.
1) this is an adventure
2) it is a test of everything that you are
3) it’s only a movie
4) keep a sense of humor, and you’ll be just fine
Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 10-20 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Fesival held in downtown Toronto on the last Thursday of every single month. Go to www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.