Before starting your film production company and shooting your first feature or short film, you must know some things that will prevent you from making simple beginner mistakes. Instead of learning them the hard way, it’s better to read about the experience of others before you and do everything properly right away.
Here’s everything you need to know before starting film production.
1. Establish Your Film Company
First, you must establish your film company as a legal entity. It’s a tedious process, so here’s a step-by-step guide for you to follow:
- Choose A Name: Make sure to choose a unique name for your film production company. Check the name’s availability because you don’t want anyone else using it, especially if you know that you will file for a trademark in the future. The name must be creative and special to differ from others and stand out of the crowd.
- Decide What Type Your Company Will Be: You will have to decide between making your company a sole proprietorship, a limited liability company (LLC), a cooperative, a C Corp (corporation), an S Corp (S corporation), or a partnership. All of these are different and you will have to seek legal advice and consult an accountant for your taxes.
- Open A Bank Account: You will have to open a bank account under the company’s name and get a business address and contact numbers.
- Go Online: Finally, build your company’s website and create social media accounts. Be sure to keep them all up-to-date.
2. Pre-Production: Create A Business Plan
Along with creating a business plan for your company, you will have to make one for your first production. This will most likely require a ton of paperwork, but it is absolutely necessary if you want to keep track of all of your expenses and look professional when meeting important people in the industry.
When creating your business plan, think through the confidentiality agreement. You will probably have to consult experts again for this. Set specific goals for your company and film and what kind of team you will need for it.
Then, consider the budget and estimated dates for filming and release. These might change in the future, but you still have to try and make them as true to reality as possible.
Lastly, carefully outline where and how you are planning to find investors. If you are planning on launching a fundraising campaign, write about that in details.
3. Pre-Production: Raise Funds
This is the most painful part especially if you need a bigger budget than most indie filmmakers require. You can, of course, start with Kickstarter and launch a crowdfunding campaign there, but don’t forget to consider these options too:
- Go To Big Production Companies: You can try presenting your business plan to big production companies. If they get interested in the project, they might want to partner with you on it.
- Partner Up With Another Producer: If you think that your chances are low with big studios, seek out other independent or simply small-scale producers to partner with. Most of them are constantly looking for new projects to work on.
- Apply For Grants & Government Funding: Grants and scholarships are a great way to get the money you need, but the problem is that you have a small chance to win because many others apply to them too. Alternatively, if your country is looking to develop its film industry, you might seek out government funding.
- Go To Brands For Sponsorship: Some brands are willing to pay good money to get their representation in your movie. You can get quite a lot for product placement.
- Find An “Angel Investor”: Lastly, you can try to find an “angel investor” for your film.
4. Pre-Production: Gather A Team
Every production team starts with four key members and can then get more as the budgets increase and the projects become bigger:
- Development Executive: This person mainly works in pre-production, finding and developing good scripts. They are also known as the head of development.
- Production Supervisor: This person is responsible for making sure that each production sticks to the plan and budget. They are also known as the head of production.
- Post-Production Supervisor: This person makes sure that the deadlines for projects are met and then works on the film after the shooting ends. They are responsible for editing, including special effects.
- Head of Sales and Distribution: This person supervises the crowdfunding and then the distribution of the film (whether to festivals or as a theatrical release). They are also often known as simply the distributor.
5. Production: Shoot Your Film
Even though you probably know how to do this, here are some things to keep in mind as they are mistakes beginner filmmakers make:
- Check The Frame Rate & Resolution: The standard is 24 fps, but it’s fine to shoot in a different frame rate. Just make sure that it stays the same during the whole time of filming.
- Choose Locations Wisely: Noise pollution is a big issue for filmmakers, so either choose locations that don’t have too much noise or use a good boom. In fact, using a good boom is a must, so don’t think your camera mic will be enough for good audio.
- Experiment With Light: Along with placing the light properly, you must also remember that you can still experiment with it. After all, the beauty of your film largely depends on it.
- Find Good Costumes: Instead of just having your actors wear their own clothes, find costumes that will tell a story and correspond to what your film is about.
- Avoid Continuity Errors: To do this, keep someone on the set, who will be solely responsible for keeping track of the continuity.
- Let Your Actors Move: Give them something to do when they are talking. The audience likes it when the picture is moving instead of being static.
- Show, Don’t Tell: The number one rule is the one everyone knows. Instead of giving a lot of exposition, tell your story with visuals. Nine times out of ten, you will be able to do better if you exclude dialogue.
6. Post-Production: Edit Your Film
Editing can often decide the way your film will look in the final cut. A good editor will know how to make your hours of footage make sense as an hour-and-a-half movie. But editing is made up of many aspects.
Remember that special effects and the audio should be carefully applied by professionals. If you know that you will be showing your film in other languages, you may want to translate it with the help of an online translation service such and then add the text as subtitles. After all, dubbing your film will require additional expenses and you probably wouldn’t want that.
7. Devise A Film Distribution Strategy
You probably heard that the distribution process is the most important stage as it gets all the cast and crew paid for their work. If you know that, then you probably already have a distribution strategy. If not, there are some things you should learn.
Ideally, you would like to get traditional distribution deals with distribution companies without losing all the rights to your film. But if that fails, you can try to send your creation to various film festivals where it may get noticed and then picked up by one of those distribution companies.
Alternatively, you can grow an online presence with the help of a good social media supervisor and turn to online marketing to then self-distribute your film on the Internet.
All in all, making a film might be a difficult job that requires flexibility and dedication, but it will ultimately pay off when your work is appreciated for what it really is. Remember: only those succeed who are not afraid to dare.
Article Submitted by Frank Hamilton. Frank Hamilton has been working as an editor at essay review site Online Writers Rating. He is a professional writing expert in such topics as blogging, digital marketing and self-education. He also loves traveling and speaks Spanish, French, German and English.