Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Breakdowns, Budgets and Scheduling

This is the nitty gritty of filmmaking. I encourage everyone out there, no matter what you are doing, to breakdown a short, budget and board it. You will 1) learn to love your producer, 2) appreciate specificity in your writing and 3) figure out exactly what you want to do with your life by surviving the only kind of trial that matters -- fire. Plus, you'll have a dvd full of proof that you know what you are doing!

If I can figure out how to post a page of the script with a color mark-up I'll do it (suggestions on how to do this are welcome). It's actually a really fascinating and informative process that teaches you a lot of the questions you need to ask and answer when you are making a movie. The recognized authority on this is FILM SCHEDULING. This book will teach you everything you need to know. It's clear, concise and has great examples to follow. I also recommend it to my writers before they work with independent producers -- the more you know the less advantage there is to be taken.

Essentially, you take out a bunch of different color markers and go through the script and highlight things -- cast, locations, props, visual effects, sound fx, playback (more on this later), etc.. There are some hard and fast rules here, but once you know them, you can feel free to improvise. After you've done coloring the script, you basically make lists of each of the elements and put scene numbers and page numbers next to where each one occurs. At this point, I hope for your sake you own Movie Magic Budgeting and Scheduling cuz the really crazy hairy part starts here -- actually scheduling and "boarding" the film. This program is expensive (around $700), and you almost need a class to really work it, but if you are serious about making your movies (as opposed to sitting around and waiting for some hot guy/gal to ask you to dance) it's something worth investing in, or at least cultivating a friendship wth someone who owns it!

Anyway, it's almost 1am, I just finished my breakdown, created very neat little tabs in Excel for Cast, Locations, blah, blah, blah, and now I'm sending that document, along with a PDF of my color markup, and the LOCKED and NUMBERED script to a line producer type to start budgeting and boarding it for me. I had fully intended to do that bit myself, but I haven't done it for 10 years, so rather than being irresponsible with my friend's money, I decided the better part of valor was to call in a favor and have someone else do it. Sigh. I hate not being a one-stop shop.

1 comment:

writergurl said...

Suggestions? Well, you could try a free webhosting site... like www.myimagehosting.com

Esentially, it takes a file off your computer, reads it and stores it for viewing on the web.

Try it, if I can figure it out... you can!