How To Make A Movie from Start to Finish – Part Two

*This is part two of the How to Make A Movie series; make sure to check out part one in case you haven’t read it.


Pre-production stage only happens when the money to finance your film is already in the bank. If you don’t have the money yet, then you’re not in pre-production and should continue securing finances. Pre-production is where you’ll get to finally exercise your filmmaker traits. This is when you’ll find key crew members, actors and more.

2.A. Casting the Right People

Combing through a host of actors can be tedious hence; it’s best to hire a casting director. Don’t skimp because most casting directors are worth every penny. They know a lot of actors and can get you paired with the right one for your film or story. Of course, you will have the final say.

2.B. Scouting the Locations

Hire a location scout for your film because they can help make the process go faster. As an independent filmmaker, you might be tempted to save up and cut expenses here and there, including looking for suitable locations yourself, but save yourself the headache and just find someone who scouts locations for a living. Paying for a location can be expensive so make sure to find someone who understands your budget and needs as well.

2.C. Having a Shotlist

Every director has a unique way of creating his or her own shot list so this is up to you. A shot list is just a numbered list of shots annotated with the framing, focal length and other details you might want to include. This not only helps you remember but ensures you won’t get confused once the chaos of filmmaking starts.

2.D. Breaking Down Your Script

This is when everything needed on the shoot is sourced and identified. Don’t do all this by yourself because you’ll go nuts. Get a producer instead. Everything, from location, props and effects are identified.

2.E. Tech Scout

This is probably one of the most important and enjoyable portions during the pre-production process. This is when the director, cinematographer, line producer, production designer and 1st AD visit the location and the director explains in detail what or how the shot will be taken, what the actors will do, the look of the scene and more. A good 1st AD will take careful notes of everything important to enhance the success of the shoot. Any problems that might crop up is discussed at this point or at least brought up by the 1st AD. This is the reason why a good director already has a good vision of what’s needed in each shot or location and on actual filming day, everybody else already knows what to do or what’s needed.

2.F. Trusting the 1st AD

It’s important for any new filmmaker to hire a fully experienced 1st AD. It’s the 1st AD’s job to schedule the days of the shoot using the shot list from the director. They usually arrange the schedule depending on the camera setup or lighting, depending on which one is most time consuming. Don’t expect the shoot to go chronological because it won’t be.

2.G. Production Design

Right after the tech scout, it’s the production designer’s job to secure all the props and other items needed for the set during the shoots. From securing and purchasing costumes, furniture, other props and more.

Part three will be up next week. Stay tuned!