Preparing for a film shoot: 3 Beginner Mistakes I made

Hello interwebs! It’s your neighborhood redhead here and today we will be talking about beginner mistakes when preparing for a film shoot!

If you’ve been following this blog recently, you know that I enrolled in a film class this semester! So far we have only done 1 official project but I’ve actually been working on producing, writing, and starring in my own web series ( for more info see that post). After we finished our first project there were a lot of things that I had wished I had done differently. I am sort of a perfectionist when it comes to this sort of thing so I had a TON of things I wanted to change about the final product. However, for the sake of this post, I have narrowed it down to three things.

1)Pick your director wisely.

Since I’m taking this class in high school I was of course forced to pick roles and groups within people in the class. I didn’t really know anyone in the class so It was sort of a random draw. After working with these people for a few months I started to see where our problems would be. As I learned in the class, a Director really has to be someone who is extremely decisive. Our set ended up changing last minute before the shoot and so our shot list was basically useless. Therefore, our Director had to call almost all the shots for the shoot. I found out quickly that our Director couldn’t make decisions and it ended up wasting a lot of time. After the first day of shooting, I ended up having to allocate the majority of her role to our camera person who was much more decisive. Moral of the choose your crew wisely.

2) Scheduling is key

I cannot stress this enough. I always think that I have everything ready until something pops up to ruin it. Make sure to keep in communication with actors to make sure the schedule is okay with them and give them an incentive not to flake. I had a few friends who’s entire film almost didn’t get turned in on time because of their whole cast flaking. Yes, their whole cast.  Sometimes important things ( like sickness in the family etc) come up but unless it’s a life or death situation please stress the importance of showing up. Thankfully the main actor in my last shoot was my boyfriend so he had some major incentive for staying committed. However, for the web series shoot scheduling ended up postponing the whole shoot for 2 months. Plan accordingly.

3) Get people excited

It’s really hard to get people to work at something they don’t find interesting. Getting them excited about the project you’re working on can really make late night shoots not as gut-wrenchingly horrible. I remember the second day of our shoot we were all so dead by the end of it that the only thing keeping us alive was the impending doom of our deadline. If I could have done it over I would have a) starting filming a lot earlier ( thanks teach. for making everyone procrastinate) and b) inspired people on cast and crew to really get behind the project. After the first long day ( of basically getting nothing done) everyone was pretty fed up with the whole thing. I cannot stress enough how important getting people motivated is. It just makes the whole thing a bucket load more fun.

After an 11 hour shooting time, we finished our project and turned it in. It took us in total 19 hours to finish a film that was 3 minutes long and it didn’t even turn out a quarter as good as I would have hoped. With a new group, a  new semester, and a fresh new story ( that was called genius I might add) I am inspired to create some new material that I am really proud of.

Hope this helps as much as one blog post possibly can,




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