Basic Program for a 6-Day Shoottm

A six day shoot, done on two consecutive "Weekends" consisting of Friday, Saturday and Sunday each, will produce about 30 minutes of finished show. The program is basically the same as that for a 2 or 3 day shoot only more crew is needed to share the work load over the longer duration.

If you shoot this in Super 8 or 1/2" video, you can keep your principal photography expenses to $2,000 - $4,500 depending on whether you own the camera and editor, how much Super 8 film you burn, whether or not you pay all or part of the crew and how much you spend for food.

The idea behind shooting on two consecutive extended "weekends" is that you can recruit crew to take off two Fridays from their regular jobs and it won't kill them. Thus you have the Weekends plus the extra Fridays. If they are truly interested in film, they would much rather be helping you than working at some boring job they hate just to make money.

The second reason for doing it on consecutive weekends is because you might need the time in the middle of the week to plan and get ready for the next weekend. This breather time can come in handy when you are on a learning curve. Of course you as producer will have to take about a month or more off so you will have to include in the budget money for your living expenses plus one or two others who will help you. This would most likely be an Assistant, Production Manager and/or Director.

Once your footage has been shot - you can determine whether you want to edit the film economy style or Rolles Royce style. Economy style would be just cutting the Super 8 original in single system. Rolls Royce style would be transferring the footage to 1" video tape, pulling a simultaneous 3/4 or 1/2 inch off-line edit master, cutting that and auto assembling the 1" to finished multi track mix out of a sweetening session or two. If you go the Rolls Royce route you will spend a total of $12,000 on the entire film and it could be the most rewarding $12,000 you will ever spend as far a learning experience. I did this and got the show on Group W TV several times. Thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of people have view my little half hour production, THE PICKUP, over the years. There is no reason why your six day, half hour show cannot do the same thing so this is the general program. Please understand that this is not an exact sequence as some of the steps can occur simultaneously.

Here's the Circle Board for a 6-Day Shoot.

The Program:

Producer makes arrangements for the financing and gets the money committed and signs a Production-Distribution Agreement with whoever or what ever puts up the money.

Producer, buys, rents or borrows an IBM (or IBM compatible) computer and learns how to operate it or gets a Computer Operator and a word processing program (MS Word).

All contracts are prepared and ready.

Producer hires an assistant who will be Assistant to the Producer/Casting Secretary.

Producer signs a Director.

Producer, with Director's input, contracts a writer to write a screenplay that follows the script guidelines for a half hour show. The Writer must know how to word process, have his own computer that runs the same version of MS WORD as the Producer. See script guidelines.

Script is done and ready to go in one or two months. Do not take forever creating the script.

Director, who can use MS WORD, creates his shooting script as the script is being written.

Producer hires an Assistant Director (AD) and breaks down the script to determine what actors, locations, props and wardrobe, vehicles and stunts, if any, will be needed.

Producer hires a Production Manager

Producer and Production manager prepare a final production budget with the AD's breakdowns.

Insurance is arranged.

The Shooting Dates are set.

Production Manager starts to form up a PA Pool and appoints a Key PA who will suggest and recruit extra production Assistants to generally assist, cater lunch and stand by incase someone must be replaced. The Key PA supervises any additional PAs for the Producer when they are not actively helping the Producer. The Producer may assign PAs to help whoever needs extra help at his or her sole discretion.

The PM hires his Unit/Location Manager

Director starts to collect pictures and set up casting sessions with the Casting Assistant.

Casting Cameraman is hired.

Casting Sessions are started, dealing with supporting talent first and working up to the crown jewel principals last. This is just the opposite from how a big picture is done but it works out best this way because financing does not have to be secured by "Name Talent".

The Producer, Director and PM get together and decide on an Art Director. The PM hires an Art Director.

The Unit/Location Manager hires a Location Scout from the PA pool, or other wise and goes over the needed locations with the Art Director and Director.

The Location Scout gets started securing the required locations securing the important Locations that will be filmed in first - first.

The Production Manager asks the Director to make recommendations as to who he would like to have for:

a) Director of Photography/Camera Operator

c) Production Sound Recordist

b) Script Supervisior

b) Assistant to the Director

From the list recommended by the Director, the Production Manager signs each that is with within the budget.

To get the rest of this program, enroll in the the Production Course. Then do each section as well as the 1-Day Shoot and the 2-3 Day Shoot. Then you will be ready to complete this program for your 6-Day Shoot. We cannot encourage you to run before you can walk because if you skip the steps leading up to this Shoot you will NOT make your mistakes on the 2-3 Day Shoot - instead you will make them on your 6-Day Shoot and the quality will suffer. If this happens you probably will not be able to raise the $50,000 to $400,000 you will need to produce your Feature. Or if you do, your attention will be on the smaller mechanical aspects of production rather than where it must be - on telling a good story and getting the best performances on the screen.

Thus we are trying to prepare you for an 18-Day Feature Shoot. The 6-Day Shoot is vital to arriving at a position where you can mount a viable Feature. Don't be a pre-Madonna. When this happens, investors lose their production capital and the independent marketplace is flooded with poor or incomplete product. This inevitable hurts all Independent Producers.

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