*This is part three of the How to Make A Movie series; make sure to check out Part 1 and Part 2 in case you haven’t read it.
This is when things get real. If pre-production was stressful, the production process itself can be even more challenging. Some directors thrive in it because they get to exercise their craft while others hate it because such intense pressure accompanies it.
3.A. Setting Up
Each day of the shoot starts with the call time – a time when all of the crew needs to be at the location. As director, you don’t need to be there at this time but it’s best if you are so you can think of the shots.
3.B. Rehearsing and Setting the Shots
While the crew is setting up, talk to your actors and walk them through each of the shot. Don’t be afraid to tweak the shots or alter it altogether if you find a more suitable and pleasing way of doing it. Setting up the shots involves telling the cinematographer the camera placement, focal length, movement and other details so the right shot is captured. Sometimes directors are more involved with the camera work while others are more hands off.
3.C. Reviewing the Take
If you’re going to take one habit out of this, then make it this one. Reviewing the take on the video monitor is crucial. You can request for retakes until you’re satisfied that everything is the way you want. Don’t be afraid to tweak or take out what you think doesn’t translate to what you had in mind. Reviewing the take on the spot is a lot of pressure but you need to maintain a cool head and be objective.
4.A. Movie Editing
If you’re a beginner, it’s important to be present and participate in the movie editing session even at least once. You will learn a lot and that knowledge will give you a better understanding of making your future films. Editing during post-production is where you’ll add visual effects and CGI as well.
4.B. Adding Sound
This process also includes adding the sound effects and other necessary sounds needed for the shot. It’s also where you make the soundtrack be as seamless as possible with each scene of the film.
4.C. Creating the Music
As a director, it’s also your job to “direct” the composer. You need to let them know when to cue and stop the music, what kind of mood you’re trying to convey, what instruments to use and more. A good composer would be happy to accommodate your request and couple it with their expertise so you can achieve the results you envisioned.
4.D. Launch a Test Screen
This is important. No matter how good you are there will be scenes that creep into your film that you simply thought was essential or brilliant but will take the audience pointing out that it’s horrid. This isn’t always easy for some directors but it’s best to listen to your audience. For test screenings, invite people you trust and ask for their honest feedback.
This is the last part and often the most stressful and crucial. Despite having a great film, distribution serves as key player to ensure it reaches the audience you want. But of course, there are some things you need to keep in mind. For instance, don’t allow a single distributor to see the movie first. Instead, arrange for it to be viewed at the same time by all potential distributors.
Then there’s the film festival crowd. Some filmmakers avoid them like crazy while others bank on them for exposure and distribution of their films. Film festivals are somewhat a necessary evil. The important thing for you is to manage your expectations. Don’t rely on simply showing in a festival for your film to become a hit.
There you have it. As a beginner filmmaker, it’s a good idea to be familiar with the process of creating a move from start to finish. Once you gain experience, you’ll then find your own rhythm and way of doing each step of the process.