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Starodetskii Blog

Filtering by Tag: movies

Tips for your next film

Konstantin Starodetskii

I've been making a variety of short films with different budgets and crews. When each project was over, I was writing a list of lessons learned. I've decided to combine the best of them as a guide for future productions. Use it with pleasure.

Get the best script possible first, so then you can get the most desirable cast and crew to help you with it. It's important because it makes the filmmaking process less painful for everyone. Choose an AD who understands your film to its bones and has the potential to become your longtime friend. Have the best people you can find but keep the crew small. Also, don't try to reduce your team to "Never-mind-I-do-it-myself-production." A professional sound person on set will make or break your film.

Put in the budget everything you know and add 15% for contingency. Stick to your budget. Have all the payments to your crew scheduled and agreed in advance. Make sure you have required signatures on the paper, if something changes, get it resigned by both parties as soon as possible.

Schedule well so that you can shoot in fewer days. Know what essential shots you need to capture by heart. It will help you to stay true to your vision in the moments of doubt. When you have a schedule, it's easier to adapt to unexpected circumstances. Synchronize everything you want to execute with your key crew members. Provide a good lunch, especially when everyone works for free.

When on set with your dream-team, exude enthusiasm every day. Work harder than anyone else. Make sure every single person of your crew performs a task he was assigned to do. Keep it that way. As you go along, allow people to express their opinion but make final decisions yourself. You are the creator.

Prepare different ways to convey your ideas to the actors. Know the essential on-set vocabulary. Shoot in a spacious place, so you have enough room for a camera and equipment to make the shots you need. Avoid shooting in distant locations, unless there is absolutely no other way.

Imagine that the whole planet will see your movie, but make the film for yourself. It has to entertain your most capricious inner critic. Have fun on your next shoot.