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Preparing For Takeoff

Book Description

You have the camera, time, money (or credit card), so why don't you just start shooting? Preparing for Takeoff will give you the tools you need to fully prepare for your independent film.

This book features:

  • Vital preproduction tips on scheduling, previsualization, script analysis, location scouting, budgeting, hiring vendors, and clearing permits
  • A detailed analysis of the role both producers and directors play in the preproduction process
  • Crucial advice on how to prepare for postproduction and distribution while still in the early stages of making a film
  • Lessons from the field in how to avoid mid-shoot changes, unhappy actors, fostering a resentful crew, wasted days and dwindling finances
  • An accompanying website that includes sample script analyses, storyboards, beat sheets, editable budget forms, and more

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Halftitle
  3. Title
  4. Copyright
  5. Contents
  6. List of Illustrations
  7. Introduction
  8. Part 1 Early Days and the Big Picture
    1. Chapter 1 The Film Life Cycle
      1. Understanding the Life Cycle
      2. Long-Term Payoffs
      3. Don’t Get Scared
      4. Questions/Exercises
    2. Chapter 2 Fixing the Script
      1. So You Think the Script Is Ready?
      2. What Is Your Script?
      3. The Tune-Up Pass
      4. Creating the Blueprint
      5. Creating the Sales Document
      6. Other Script-Related Chores
      7. Questions/Exercises
    3. Chapter 3 Preparing Your Business
      1. Learning Business as an Artist
      2. What Business Are You In?
      3. Your Business, from 30,000 Feet
      4. Why Form a Company?
      5. Different Types of Companies
      6. Setting Up Your Business
      7. Setting Up the Business – Pick a State
      8. Create the Company!
      9. Putting Your Office Together
      10. Get Your War Council Together
      11. Building Your Business Plan
      12. Form the Production Entity
      13. Care and Feeding of Your Business
      14. Putting It All Together
      15. Questions/Exercises
    4. Chapter 4 Working with Other People
      1. Collaboration and Leadership
      2. The Leadership Experience
      3. The Mega-Tasks of Leadership
      4. Leading the Team
      5. Group Dynamics
      6. Some Real-World Examples
      7. The Mystery of Other People
      8. Questions/Exercises
    5. Chapter 5 Marketing
      1. The Marketing Process
      2. The Primary Elements of Marketing
      3. Your Marketing Process
      4. Other Methods of Marketing
      5. Conclusions
      6. Questions/Exercises
      7. Web vs. Print Graphics
  9. Part 2 The Director’s Path
    1. Chapter 6 Script Analysis
      1. A Brief Definition
      2. Method
      3. Applying the Work to Production
      4. Putting It All Together
      5. Questions/Exercises
    2. Chapter 7 Gathering Materials
      1. Components
      2. Getting the Materials
      3. Organizing the Materials
      4. What to Leave Out and What to Add
      5. Questions
    3. Chapter 8 Preparing for Casting
      1. Planning the Interview
      2. Casting/Audition Overview
      3. The Casting Breakdowns
      4. The Dream Cast List
      5. Sides
      6. Adjustments
      7. Research and Suggestions
      8. Headshots and Visuals
      9. Casting Ahead
      10. Questions/Exercises
  10. Part 3 The Producer’s Path
    1. Chapter 9 Breaking Down the Script
      1. Breaking Down the Script
      2. Choice of Tools
      3. Expect Surprises
      4. Step One: Decompose the Script
      5. Analyze, Tweak, Repeat
      6. Scheduling
      7. Conclusions
      8. Questions
    2. Chapter 10 Budgeting
      1. The Budget from 30,000 Feet
      2. The Steps to Budgeting
      3. The Structure of the Budget
      4. Approaching the Budget
      5. Key Decisions to Make
      6. The Target Number
      7. Cast Salary Structure
      8. Deciding on the Crew Structure
      9. The Length of the Shoot
      10. Post Length and Workflow
      11. Decide on a Shooting Format and Camera
      12. Running Time
      13. Putting It All Together
      14. What to Do Next: Research and Math
      15. Questions
    3. Chapter 11 Thinking Strategically
      1. Discover Connections
      2. Trimming That Budget
      3. Put the Plan Together
      4. Tracking Other Films
      5. Put the Team Together
      6. Thinking Strategically
      7. Questions/Exercises
    4. Chapter 12 Vendors, Equipment, and Negotiations
      1. Overview of Vendors and Equipment
      2. Finding and Comparing Vendors
      3. Catering
      4. Transportation
      5. Insurance
      6. Special Equipment/Services
      7. Production/Set Gear
      8. Getting Technical
      9. Exercises
    5. Chapter 13 Unions, Guilds, and States
      1. The Union Catch
      2. How Does This Affect Me?
      3. $2M and Up: General Guidelines
      4. The Structure of the Low-Budget Agreements
      5. The Signatory Process
      6. Right-to-Work States
      7. Does Any of This Make Sense on My Film?
      8. States, Cities, and Government Offices
      9. Incentive Programs: The Power and the Glory
      10. Child Work Permits and Labor Laws
      11. Local Permits
      12. Permit Gotchas
      13. Let’s Steal the Shot
      14. Dealing with the Civil Service
      15. Start Early
      16. Questions/Exercises
    6. Chapter 14 Rights and Contracts
      1. Why Bother?
      2. What All the Contracts Should Have
      3. Early Agreements
      4. Production Contracts
      5. Post Contracts
      6. Distribution Agreements
      7. Conclusions
      8. Questions/Exercises
  11. Part 4 Joint Preparation
    1. Chapter 15 Casting
      1. The Casting Process
      2. Offer-Only/“Name” Casting
      3. The Tension Between Producer and Director
      4. Side Benefits of Casting
      5. Casting Can Be Fun
      6. Questions/Exercises
    2. Chapter 16 Hiring the Crew
      1. Who to Hire
      2. Where to Get Crew
      3. The Hunt
      4. The Gestalt of the Shoot
      5. Questions/Exercises
    3. Chapter 17 Scouting
      1. What Do You Need, Really?
      2. Gathering Your List of Resources
      3. The Set vs. the Site vs. Footprint
      4. The Tech Scout
      5. Staying Organized with Locations
      6. Warnings
      7. The End Result of Scouting
      8. Questions/Exercises
    4. Chapter 18 Staying Organized
      1. The “System”
      2. Communicating with Others
      3. Script Revisions and Locking the Script
      4. Conclusions
      5. Questions/Exercises
    5. Chapter 19 Previsualization
      1. The Goals of Previz
      2. Text vs. Picture First
      3. What Do You Want to See?
      4. Tools of the Trade
      5. DIY vs. Hiring
      6. Storyboarding
      7. Top-Down Diagrams
      8. Software Options
      9. “Action Figure”/Tabletop Blocking
      10. Computer-Based Previz
      11. Straight-Ahead Shotlisting
      12. Translating Previz into a Shotlist
      13. Getting Beyond Previz
      14. Questions/Exercises
    6. Chapter 20 Rehearsals/Working with Actors
      1. Different Types of Rehearsal
      2. The Objective
      3. Budgeting for Rehearsal Time
      4. Who Should Be Involved
      5. Rules of the Road
      6. Listening and Probing
      7. Avoiding Value Judgments
      8. Informal Rehearsals
      9. Formal Rehearsals
      10. Revising the Script
      11. Rehearsal Fears and Don’ts
      12. Full-Cast Reading
      13. Research/Training
      14. Producer’s Role During Rehearsal
      15. Questions/Exercises
  12. Part 5 The Shoot and After
    1. Chapter 21 Routines for Success in Production
      1. The Time Horizon
      2. Paperwork Flow
      3. Getting Your Sound and Video in Sync
      4. Directing and the Set
      5. When Plans Go Awry
      6. Keeping Perspective
      7. Questions/Exercises
    2. Chapter 22 Preparing for Post
      1. Getting the Film Ready for Post
      2. Sound Designer and Composer
      3. Visual Effects Designer and Colorist/Conformist
      4. One-Stop Post House vs. à la Carte
      5. Questions/Exercises
    3. Chapter 23 Preparing for Distribution
      1. The Only Constant Is Change
      2. Preparing for the Unknowable
      3. Target Your Festival Release
      4. Include Deliverables in Your Budget
      5. Stay the Course, Keep Busy
      6. Stay Organized
      7. Stay Connected to the Cast and Crew
      8. Stay Current
      9. Spend Wisely
      10. Questions
    4. Chapter 24 Beyond Basic Planning
      1. Embrace Constraints
      2. Pick Your Battles
      3. You’re Shooting the Movie, Not the Budget
      4. Hope Above All Else
      5. Conclusions
      6. Questions/Exercises
  13. Appendix A Further Reading, Tools, Resources
  14. Appendix B Useful Forms
  15. Appendix C Union Information
  16. Index