“The filmmaking process is commonly divided into five phases: Idea and Development; Pre-production; Production; Post-production; and Distribution. I have written many Business Plans, for shorts, features and documentaries, and would be happy to assist you with your project.”
The Five Stages of Film and Video Production.
Phase 1: Idea and Development: Finding the initial idea for the film is the core of the whole filmmaking process. Inspiration is often elusive, not only to filmmakers but to other artists as well, and you might want to ask yourself a few questions in order to find what it is that you want to say to the world: What topics are close to your heart? On what topics do you feel you have a unique voice or a unique perspective? What new ideas do you want your audience to think about? What experiences and notions do you want to share with them? Not every idea for a film is a good idea for a film, and indeed, most concepts won’t make it to the next level. But once you find an idea that excites you, you will need to develop it so it forms the foundation of your film. This phase of the process will help you understand exactly what you want to say and how you want to say it, and will make it easier for you to convey it to other people, on-set and off-set, thus making sure that everybody’s on the same page.
Working on paper can help you put things in order. Think about the structure of your film: it should have a beginning, middle and end. Think about your target audience, who they are and what you want them to feel after watching your film. In order to make sure you know exactly what your film is going to be about, try to describe the whole story in just one sentence, then in just one appealing paragraph – this will also help you when you search for funding. Next, write your script using a script format; think about characters, dialogues, sights and sounds. An important tip is to have all details in the script, but not too many details: a good filmmaker should always know his strengths and weaknesses, and allow the professionals who work with him to make decisions in areas he’s not familiar with. You can also make a graphic storyboard. You will often discover you need to do some research in this phase. If your film refers to times or places you don’t know personally, research all relevant historical and cultural aspects in order to make your film as reliable as possible. Spend time designing round characters, their lives and their motives.
Phase 2: Pre-Production: Many consider the pre-production phase the most important phase in the filmmaking process. In pre-production you plan all the logistical and creative aspects of the production, while trying to think about all possible problems and tackle them in advance. For that reason, a good, comprehensive pre-production can save you a lot of time, money and effort. Casting takes place in the pre-production phase, and as the face of your film, the actors you choose are crucial for its success. Schedule auditions, cast actors for all parts and conduct rehearsals. Actors should also have the time to make researches of their own, get to know their characters and understand them. Planning your schedule is a major part of pre-production. Try to estimate how many days of production you’re going to need in order to get all the wanted audio and visual materials, and plan your days in the most cost-effective way possible. Budget should also be taken under account when planning the production itself and it’s important to keep track on expenses at all times.
Other topics that need to be settled in the pre-production phase are finding locations, designing and constructing sets, planning basic camera movement and coming up with Plan Bs in case things don’t go as planned (e.g. weather problems).
Phase 3: Production: The production is the execution phase of the filmmaking process, during which all the audio and visual materials are being gathered. On this phase shooting and recording take place. A large part of the filming crew participates in this stage, making sure that the script is being followed accurately and that the materials are of the best possible quality. The camera makes its first appearance during production, and it is important to know exactly what to shoot and how. Shooting must be based on the script and storyboard in order to ensure that the right materials are being recorded; the previous phases should eliminate any need for improvisation. When recording it is also important to keep lighting – both natural and artificial – in mind, as it will help you convey the film’s atmosphere to the audience. The audio recording of the film must take place on a silent set, since every unwanted noise may be recorded on the sensitive microphones. When starting to record, everyone on set should know they need to be silent. The cast should also know to speak up and speak clearly so that their words are easy to follow.
Phase 4: Post-Production: The post-production phase includes editing all the materials that were gathered during shooting, thus assembling it into a fluent, consistent film. This is also time to insert the overlay of adjustments and effects that creates the full cinematic experience you have envisioned. Post-production usually takes longer than the production itself! Needless to say, the raw material of a film is not ready for distribution. Editing is the process of going through the footage, cutting and re-arranging it, discarding what is not needed and making sure that what remains tells the story clearly. To do so, choose the best takes and use the script and notes you took during the shooting. In addition, during the post-production phase special visual and sound effects are added and the film’s soundtrack is edited. Colour corrections are made and sometimes a narration is added. This is the time to title the film. Although all those things may seem as “final touches”, they have a great influence on the film’s atmosphere and message.
Phase 5: Distribution: Distribution is the process in which the film reaches the audience, and is therefore the final peak of the whole filmmaking process. It is done through film distributors, either by a theatrical distribution or for home viewing, such as DVD releases. Nowadays, a film can also be shared on the internet. Advertising is, of course, a part of this phase; use your marketing material in order to stand out in the busy world of media.
Writing, Researching and Development:
As a producer I have a love for the wider production process from development to delivery, and whilst seeking to make films which make a difference can be challenging, it can take you to places that you will never be able to forget.
Production: from short films, feature films and TV series to documentaries, corporates and music videos.
My self shooting skills include operating a variety of different camera setups and formats whilst continuing my role as director. Using my experience in the field, I ensure that first and foremost I capture a strong narrative. Once this has been achieved I’ll use a cinematic approach to capture beauty shots which include the use of sliders, mini-jibs and sliders.
Events: from gallery and commercial space installations to conferences, concerts, promotional and private events to multi-camera live news environments.
Video Editing: Adobe Premiere Pro CC, 10+ years experience (including colour grading and title animations) Workstation capable of handling 4K+ video.
As an educator, I teach with passion and from hands on experience. I’m currently an associate lecturer at Bucks New University and Film Oxford, but have taken classes and masterclasses over the years at the London Academy, SAE and government educational programmes. I’m looking for a creative research-led PhD programme focussing on our emotional engagement with documentary.
Inquisitive, intelligent, cerebral, determined, focused, deep, inquiring, confident, articulate, thought-provoking and so on are common character traits that can be referred to documentary filmmakers all over the world. Whether their work in documentary filmmaking is a probing, investigative piece on a political issue or an emotional touching story of a powerful personal journey or even a tribute piece toward a cultural movement or moment in history documentary filmmakers of all styles, tastes and approaches have and develop an ethos that carries them forward in their work. This ethos may be innate in the individual documentarian as he or she begins their filmmaking pursuits or it can be a developed characteristic over time that is necessitated in the wonderfully, precarious journey of documentary filmmaking. Whatever it may be, it’s an adventure, as it should be, and we strive to tell stories that impact and enquire.
Even if the choice to direct and produce documentary films becomes a person’s career goal often is the case that these filmmakers become a certain person in order to complete project after project. Here, the question still lies whether life imitates art or art imitates life. Do documentary filmmakers develop a kind of characteristic about themselves that help render them to storylines, facts, truths and realities guided by the camera? Or are they simply born with a destiny of such character traits needed for creating such films? Key character traits aligned with a growing number of documentary filmmakers are: the ability to communicate very well for direction on camera and attracting needed interviewees, a deep sense of focus that guides them in research, principal photography and digging for facts and perspectives on a given topic, an inquisitive and inquiring nature to understand more fully varying subject matter, the motivation to pursue thought-provoking points-of-views, and the confidence to pursue a story-driven narrative through the ventures needed for the pursuit. These character traits run parallel with the nature of building and constructing a documentary film project from conception to fruition.
It will be argued that documentary filmmakers tend to be liberal-minded, social entrepreneurs bent on ridding inequality, injustice, oppression, and misinformation found too often in the world. Although liberalism and the platform created to voice such principles and ideals of the Left may be a heavy influence for a lot of budding and accomplished independent filmmakers, however, upon closer inspection more and more individuals of all political persuasions have entered and mingled into the world of documentary film production. Freedom, information, knowledge, education, and facts are important elements in principle and values for documentary filmmakers and their team of creative cohorts but the means to express them and the ideology to progress them can be as much conservative as liberal. Moreover, documentary films have over time catered to political soundbites, ideologies, dogma, philosophies, and ideas from all parties, classes, platforms, and divides–to the effective use of adding to a discussion on a given topic and subject matter.
In defining the ethos and character of the documentary filmmaker it is important to note that personality is not the foci. For personality defines one’s identity in their given milieu and its what makes each individual unique and different in their interactions in the world. Ethos and character is the driving force in their personhood that makes for a documentary filmmaker–whether he or she is starting out on their journey or has experience in this genre of filmmaking for years. The character trait of a documentary filmmaker is shaped and molded by work ethic, creative visions for accomplishment–even hardship and tragedy. In other words, it takes a certain person to be a documentary filmmaker.
With the rapid movement that information is taking to span its reach for a global audiences via the internet and the kinds of ways technology is shifting how industries and the people of a given trade are working documentarians have evolved into certain persons. These personhoods of today’s documentary filmmaker are not entirely distinct from journalists, nonfiction writers, and independent filmmakers of other genres–for example. However, documentarians do take a little of the kind of ethos it takes for those others to complete the work that they are involved in. One could spend hours listing the comparable adjectives and distinct character traits that group in the world’s supply of documentary filmmakers.
However, once you come across us documentary filmmakers you’ll get the feel of what inspires us, motivates us, drives us, energises us, and continuously push us forward–the thing that defines us in general.
Again, thank you for visiting.”