Five Things I Learned About Pre-Production For An Independent Feature Film

Five Things I Learned About Pre-Production For An Independent Feature Film

Pre-production encompasses all the stuff that needs to be done, once you have a completed script, to prepare for principal photography (the actual filming of the movie). I covered casting in an earlier blog post, so this covers five things I learned from all the other aspects of pre-production.

1. LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION: Identifying, scouting and obtaining locations for your feature film can be a time-intensive process. Especially if you don’t have a budget to pay for said locations. We identified local spots (bars, performance venues, other interiors and exteriors) that matched the script and began outreach. We were very fortunate to have many businesses in our community that support independent film and were willing to let a film crew invade their space for a day or two. In return we promised to leave the location in the same or better condition we found it, plus opportunity for walk-on roles, film exposure and credit.

2. PARTNERSHIPS: We also spent considerable time reaching out to potential partners to provide food on set, wardrobe, equipment, etc., also in return for promotional consideration. Again, we were blessed with businesses that partnered with us in each of these areas and I’m excited to showcase their brands in our film (check our website for a listing).

3. RESHOOTING OF SCENES: We had a packed shooting schedule so we could best utilize our cast, crew and locations, but left just enough wiggle room in case we had to reshoot a few scenes (which we did). Fortunately the scenes were all at one location and that partner graciously allowed us back in to get just the right shot.

4. KEY PERSONNEL: It’s imperative that you find the right people, not only for the cast, but also for all other key roles with the film. Surrounding oneself with experienced people helps ensure results in everything from excellent sound and video quality, timely matching of wardrobe with the various scenes, and the right equipment to get just the right shots for the film.

5. AGREEMENTS: Having good agreements signed by all participants not only helps the flow of communication to avoid misunderstandings, but also is required if you plan to distribute the film. These agreements are part of a package that one must provide a potential distributor/aggregator.

It is so gratifying to see the support we received from the community to make this film a reality. It is evident that a vibrant arts community across Central Ohio makes this a great place to not only create independent film, but for so many other artists to survive and thrive.

In my next article I will share my key learning’s about the principal photography process.