Anything Goes : What sort of paperwork would you need for starting production on your feature? by Daniel Mooney

Daniel Mooney

What sort of paperwork would you need for starting production on your feature?

Hello All, I'm starting the journey to beginning production on a feature length film. In the past I attempted two features that collapsed. I was doing a sort of "shooting from hip, tape is cheap, fix it in post" mentality. Yeah - no wonder they failed. Now it's been three years, I've learned alot - especially to PLAN. So I have my screenplay finished. What other paperwork shot I draw up? I have cast and crew list (haven't filled them, just drew them up with a few people I do know I will want working on it). What other paperwork do I need? What will help draw investors? What should I have to hand over to my AD or LP when the time is right? What about for my DP, gaffers and sound guys? Thanks!

Adrian Barker

Got the storyboard done?

Christian D Chapra

Wow! That's a very long list of things you're unsure of. My advice is to ask yourself: "which single job do I want on the production?" When I shot my final student short last year, I ended up doing everything on the final day of shooting, because I did not plan enough. Unfortunately, I gave myself an artificial deadline, and the production suffered. Every production has multiple crew positions. If you can't get the necessary people together, for a full crew, you can combine a few jobs. My teachers recommended the following: 7 crew, broken into Director, DP, Gaffer, Sound, AD, Make-up/Costume, and 1 crew. On small scale productions, you can't always get a Best Boy, or a first, or an army of grips. The only jobs I am comfortable combining are Gaffer, and DP; and that person had better be bloody brilliant at both! Every other position must be filled by an individual person. That's your ideal low-budget scenario. Your only other alternative is to be the AD. Your in charge of all pre-production. If you hand a shot list to a DP, and Director, they will have a road map to follow. Alfred Hitchcock once claimed that his favorite part of filmmaking was pre-production; because it was only then that real creative decisions are made. Production is the execution of pre-production. I suggest you think of your shoot in this way. You are the producer, and the AD. If you can get the other 6 positions filled, you should be golden. And don't make a schedule, or announce shooting dates, until you have throughly done your pre-production. Your paper work should be the entire shoot, on paper. The actual shoot should seem like a mechanical carrying out of the pre-production. When your project feels like that, you're ready to shoot. Good luck!

Curtis Kessinger

Shot list, shooting schedule, clearances for the cast, crew and locations, agreements on payment upfront and/or backend, insurance (if you are getting any),

Cory Wess

Most important paperwork: awesome script. Are you sure your screenplay is finished? Have other critical people review it and hack it apart. It probably is not finished. Other paperwork: storyboard, shotlist, script breakdown, prop lists, production schedule, budget (even if shoestring, make an actual and a deferred budget), contracts for each person, releases for all talent property, insurance or liability waivers, character breakdowns and casting call sheets, AD call sheets, locations w/ maps and nearby hospitals restaurants and gas, location permits if applicable. That's not comprehensive. There are a few more. But really, work on the script. If it's mediocre so will your film be at best.

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