The making of a movie is a very expensive and time-consuming process. A film that takes a team of professionals many months to make can cost thousands or even millions of dollars. The reward however, far outweighs the risks and costs, making anything from scratch would take years and many hours of your time. From concept to completion, there are numerous factors that go into the final outcome of a project. Make sure you know how long it takes to make a movie before you start your team’s fundraising campaign! You can think about it like this; You wouldn’t want to spend weeks drawing up detailed blueprints for an entire construction project, right? You see, when it comes to filmmaking especially independent films, there are many moving parts that need to come together in order for the finished product to be considered complete. It might take less time from initial concept stages to final delivery but once all the pieces fall into place, it will undoubtedly take longer than you think! Let’s take a look at what goes into the production of a film.
How Long to Make a Movie?
The truly successful filmmaker understands that the length of time it takes to produce a movie is directly related to the level of alacrity with which the process is undertaken. If you have spent a significant portion of your life dreaming up stories, outlining characters, designing sets, and sourcing locations, and then suddenly get the opportunity to put these ideas into reality, you may feel a degree of frustration and irritation that stems from the fact that you haven’t spent more time in the trenches doing the nuts-and-bolts of the process. After all, you might feel like you’re going at it alone when in actual fact you’re probably not! It’s a good idea to get on-board with your production team early in the process and discuss timings and expectations for each stage of the production process. This way, you’ll know what to expect and what isn’t essential.
Storyboarding and Prosthetic preliminaries
First thing’s first. You’ll need to storyboard your film! A storyboard is a detailed image representation of the film that will help you plan out the events and locations you want to include in the final film. You’re aiming for a plan that represents your vision for the film as a whole, but it shouldn’t be too detailed! You don’t want every nook and cranny to be represented on the board! Ideally, you’d like to keep things simple and direct participants’ attention where it’s needed, without spending unnecessary time on irrelevant details that could stand in the way of achieving your vision. There are many production planners who will help you create a storyboard, but if you’re going it alone, it’s a good idea to take inspiration from the script and picture scenes you’d like to see in the finished movie.
You’ll need to get all your ducks in a row for pre-production! The process begins with putting the finishing touches to your story and characters. It is during this phase that you’ll map out the locations where your film will take place, as well as the power dynamics between the entities you’ve created. It will also be at this stage that you’ll decide on the timing of your film. For example, do you want to shoot your film in the summer or winter? What about in the rain or snow? At this point, you’ll decide how the plot will develop and how your characters will respond to these various changes in the environment. In pre-production you’ll also want to make sure you have all the resources you need to make your vision a reality. You’ll want to research locations, find crew members and plan out your production calendar. It’s at this point that you’ll decide if your film is a tale of love or a cautionary tale. If your answer is a little of both, you’ll have the makings of a great film.
Production – camera, crew and post-production
The first phase of production is production – camera, crew and post-production. This phase is the most time-consuming, but also the most critical to the success of a film. You will want to ensure that your camera and crew members are equipped for the best possible experience during production. Make sure you’re aware of the equipment requirements for various stages of production. You also want to make sure you are aware of the post-production process and the costs associated with it. And last but not least, make sure you have access to the resources required to complete the process. These could include the chemicals for special effects, the correct lights for a location, the correct equipment for sound production, and much more. While you are at it, it is also worth checking if your equipment is sound- compatible. And last but not least, make sure you have the resources required to send your film to festivals and to market. While you are at it, it is also worth checking if your film is a tale of love or a cautionary tale. If your answer is a little of both, you’ll have the makings of a great film.
The long haul!
Even though you’re very busy during the production of a film, it’s good practice to keep a watchful eye on the state of progress on your own schedule. Make sure you’re not behind in any paperwork or have other commitments that have you tied up. If you find you are falling behind schedule, don’t worry – it takes time to get the process right! And last but not least, don’t forget about post-production! The long, arduous process of making a movie can feel like a forever job in itself, but it does get easier with experience. As you get older, your brain gets more efficient at processing information, making it easier to complete tasks. You’re also more likely to be more organized and efficient with your time. So, while you are still young, make sure you are maintaining a healthy work-life balance so you can continue your journey towards making a movie!