How to make a short film : Pre-production (part 4)

Short film pre-production is the all-important preparation period that ensures you get things made the way you envisage them.

On a low budget short, pre-production tasks tend to be shared amongst friends, and is a planning period where you need to get all the different aspects of the production secured. From locations to equipment, each part of your film should have a designated department, or someone in charge; typically your production manager, producers and line-producers.

You need to find the right crew members such as your director of photography, gaffers, grips, electricians and all that goes with your production. This may also help you find equipment if on a low-budget shoot. People with different skills can bring a different set of tools with them (depending on their job).

Once again, thinking out of box for situations where you can t afford to hire a helicopter pilot is necessary. There are often short cuts you can take in this period that allow you to achieve a similar objective at a reduced cost. Your crew is your eyes and ears, and will guide you to creating a better film.

Time management is important in pre-production, as you set out the dates and the schedules for your actors to come in, where your equipment will be delivered and the hours of the day people will work. This is a production management task, but can also be undertaken by the director (again on low-budget shoots) Allowing enough time for equipment set ups, travel and meals is essential. A film production is like an assembly line; each part has to work for it to complete its task. Every detail should be considered, and if you ignore obvious oversights, then you will find that your production will break down.

This is also a period for rehearsals. It is important to establish a strong working relationship with your actors before you shoot because you will not be able to commit to them the same time on set. They will have to understand their roles to be able to improvise in situations, have their lines learned, and know where to move.