A few more steps before the shoot

A model of a story. Photo: Wikimedia Commons   | Photo Credit: mail pics

Last week we saw how screenplay writing is different from other forms of writing and the nuances that go into it. Screenplay is not written at one go. It goes through a lot of fine-tuning. The actual writing starts only after the first draft. A good screenplay goes through several drafts before the final draft. But once the script is frozen, the movie making process gathers momentum.


This is the next stage in the process, but an optional one. It is the pictorial representation of a script. It puts on paper what the director or the writer wants to see on the shot. It serves as a reference for cinematographer, the director and others involved in the production. It comprises better detailing of camera movement and shot sizes. It simply shares the visualisation by the writer or the director with others in the crew. Though sketching a storyboard may seem like a laborious exercise, it will be of great help and significance in choreographing scenes.


Finalising the budget is a key aspect in preproduction process, because budget decides the production value of the film. The finance is decided according to the demands of the script and the choices made in the film making. Budgeting differs from one production house to another.


Casting plays a key role in the success of the film and it mandates a great thought and effort. The traits of the characters – physical, psychological and social - decide the casting. Once the casts are chosen, the crew moves on to a test shoot.


Usually films are not shot in the written order. Shooting of various scenes are rearranged for convenience. Commonly, they are shot in two ways – cast based and location based. Cast-based is when the film is shot according to the availability of the various casts. This scheduling could also happen when a cast has more than one make-up or appearances (say a well-built and a healthy person to a sick and weak person). Location based shots are taken when a film is shot in different locations. Irrespective of scene numbers or order, shots of a particular location are clubbed together and taken.


Scouting a location is done completely based on the demands of the script. A script decides if the particular scene needs indoor/outdoor set or Indoor/Outdoor location. It is important to scout at the right time preferably at a time closer to the shoot. Other factors such as lighting directions and audio pitch (for live sync) should also to be noted.


Once everything is set, the crew sits for a reading. Here the whole script or the parts of the scripts are read by the casts. Rehearsal is usually the final stage in the preproduction process. There are two kinds of rehearsals - those within the cast members and those between departments, particularly camera crew and the cast.

Apart from this, the production may have planning stages for VFX (Video Effects) or any other department exclusives. Once these are finalised, the crew goes for the shoot.

(The writer is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Visual Communication, Loyola College, Chennai)

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Printable version | Oct 21, 2021 5:24:48 PM |

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