As we approach the beginning of our festival venture with PANIC and as we begin our new project, we thought we’d take a moment to look back at PANIC’s production process, what we did and our approach. Here’s a look back at our journey and some of the snaps we took along the way. Hopefully some of these behind the scenes tips and insights will help others in their film making process.
CONTRACT: The contract. Make sure you’ve read and understood all the small print and understand what’s expected for delivery.
SCRIPT: Go over the script working the characters both on and off the page. Breaking down each scene and creating storyboards can help with the script and pacing of the film. It may even be helpful to act out some of the scenes to see if they work. The script is a fairly organic process that will develop over time. It’s always good to have a copy or at least a pen and paper nearby to make notes as you go.
LOCATION: Location scouting is crucial as it’s the backdrop to the film. A good location has to work visually and practically. Don’t forget that the actors, crew and kit all need to squeeze in.
BUDGET: It’s important to have a good grasp of the budget and make sure it’s allocated in the right areas. There will never be enough, so careful planning and having a contingency is very important. You’ll probably try your luck with a pink slip.
RELAX: Have a beer. It’s important to stay relaxed and enjoy the process. It’s a long road and at times you just need to relax with your co-workers and have a beer.
SCHEDULE: With tight budgets it’s important to make sure every day counts. Creating a call sheet from the schedule will help everyone stay on the same page. It’s worth planning the schedule to maximise filming time and to keep crew movements to a minimum.
TEST: Depending on what you’re filming, you may have to test some of the more difficult/technical aspects of the film. There were a couple in PANIC which took a little time to get right.
TEAM: Whilst filming, the team you have around you will become family. Like in the case of PANIC you are more than likely going to be working and living in each other’s pockets for a few weeks so having the right team around you is important.
SLEEP: Before the shoot kicks off, it is vital to get some rest and sleep. The shoot days are likely to be very long so make the most of your time off to rest before it all happens. Every man hugs their pillow like this, right!?
KIT: If there’s one thing you can prepare before a shoot, it is the kit. Make sure it all works, fits and is packed ready for transit. Ideally without the cat! Knowing where everything is whilst on location can save a lot of time, rather than ‘trying to find that bit’. Having a separate kit van is also ideal.
IKEA: Before any shoot there’s a compulsory visit to Ikea for those last minute ‘bits’ – other stores are available. In PANIC’s case it was crew snacks and an extra mattress and of course a cheeky cinnamon bun with meatballs.
LET’S GO: The first day of principal photography will soon arrive and as long as you’re prepared this shouldn’t be too scary… don’t rush.
GET IT RIGHT: Take each day as it comes and work your way through the script. If the schedule has been well thought out there will be time to set the shots and work with the actors on the ever-organic script. There will always be a surprise on set, so just be ready to take the time to get it right. You’re only there once.
DIRECTION: The director is a like a head chef in the kitchen, they will work with the team and the script to achieve the best performance. They have a lot on their plate, so it’s important to listen to them but don’t be afraid to raise any points that they might have missed. However scary they may seem…
FOOD: Anyone who has been on a film set knows an army marches on its stomach. Proper home cooked warm food is one of the best ays to keep up moral and energy levels. Chef Dave on Panic was the most loved member of crew.
REST: Whilst filming it’s important to rest when you can so that you’re on top form when you need to go again.
LIGHT: It may take time to set up, so when working outside in the dark it’s important to be ready and having a handy head torch can help you see what your doing.
SMIILE: Remember, you have to be slightly mad to do this job and we do it because we love it. So it doesn’t matter how much cow shit you’re covered in, just keep smiling!
WRAP: Those famous words ‘That’s a Wrap’. By this point hysteria has kicked in. There are only two things you need to do once you’ve reached this goal. Have an epic beer and sleep anywhere you can. (Tim does this very well.)
CLEAN: We’ve mentioned cow poo before, but now it has to be cleaned off all the kit you hired in. No one wants an additional bill so return the kit as it was found, if not cleaner.
FAMILY: Once you’re back from the battlefield it’s important to spend some time with loved ones. Those you might have not had much time for recently – especially the newest members.
EDIT: Once you’ve recovered from the shoot it’s time to get stuck into the edit. Working with an editor – this is where the magic from the shoot days comes to life. Get comfy as once the film starts to take shape you’ll be watching it hundreds of times!
DETAILS: Once the edit is picture locked it’s time to do the visual FX, create the audio mix and the grade. These are all crucial finishing touches to give the film its final look and feel.
IDENTITY: Once the film is complete its important to give it an identity so it can stand out amongst all the other films out there. After a few initial ideas it became clear to us that a still from the film would work best.
SCREENING: Show your film to the guys and girls that helped you make it. Having a cast and crew screening is a great way to get initial feedback and is another great excuse to see everyone again, catch up and to enjoy a drink. It’s a great way to show your appreciation and to say thank you.
PROMOTION: Get your film on the web on the right platforms. IMDB, a website for your film, Twitter and Facebook are all good places to start. Uploading your film to Withoutabox for festival submission will automatically create you an IMDB page.
FIN: Well not quite. Now the film has been completed it’s time to get it out there. This is possibly the most important aspect of the film, as it becomes open to critics and other filmmakers. Most festivals have a small application fee so it’s important to enter the film into the right festivals.
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