The Basics of Film Production 01

So, you want to embark on the #5minvideochallenge journey, but you have absolutely no experience as to what to expect? Not to worry!  We’ve broken down the basic steps to film making in this Essential Production Kit, to help you kick-start your adventure.

There are 3 main stages in a production: Pre-production, production and post-production. To provide you with a comprehensive guide, we’ll be splitting them into two parts. The first takes the most work, but when done well, sets you up well for the stages that follow.


Pre-production is the bulk of the work that you will put into your film, setting the vision.  The vision, the logistics, and the plan all happen in this process. Your thought and care in this stage will ultimately determine the success of your project.  Let’s break down pre-production a little further to catch the activities you will need to complete.

First Impressions


So, you have an idea of what you want to create – great!  Now is the time to develop it further.  Set yourself some time to get creative: write down your ideas, brainstorm, and settle the big picture vision for your project.  What is your film going to be? Is it an informative documentary? A dramatic and emotional short that will have your audience in tears? A quirky comedy with an avant garde angle? An animation designed to poke the viewers’ intellect? Write down all of the ideas that may pop into your head, even the smallest ones.

Second Chances


Once you’ve emptied your brain of all your creative ideas, start to work your way through all the content you have generated.  Which ideas speak to you the most?  Which ones fit together, and what should be discarded? This is the time make the decisions that will set the course of your film. Once you have decided the direction of your film, start writing the process. Here, you will have a whole new series of questions to answer.

Establish Credibility

Rhetorical Questions

Is there dialogue? What is the setting of the film? What kind of a mise-en-scene do you want your film to have? Who are the main characters? How does the main plot come in? What kind of filming style are you using? Ask yourself as many questions as you can. Develop answers that resonate with you, and that are consistent with the message of your larger vision.  As you determine these answers, your vision will start to take shape, and you will be ready to write the script of your film. Once you have finished writing, move on to storyboarding, and plan out the shots that you are going to have for all the different scenes you have just written.

Stay Open-Minded


After that creative whirlwind, we have to tell you to come back down to earth to look at logistics.  This means budgeting your needs for your film, settling on your locations and schedules, recruiting your cast and crew, securing your filming equipment and more.  This is when you have to think about your lighting, your sound equipment, costumes, transportation needs, and more… If you are a project manager at heart, you will breeze through this part, but get ready for a lot of work.  The reward is that if you do it well, the next phase will flow all the smoother.

Stay tuned to the next exciting phase of executing your final vision in “The Basics of Film Production 02!”