Of all the phases of making a film, when it comes to a low budget production, the preproduction work done can make or break the whole project. We will look at 4 the absolutely vital things to have ready before going into production.

This is an excerpt from my book The Indian Indie Film (or Make Your Film for rest of the world). It was written from the experience of making my debut feature film on an iPhone for ₹5 lakhs ($7,000). Now available as an eBook on Amazon.


Have a fully bound script. Which is not to say you cannot make changes. You definitely should. But when you have a clearly written down script, with every scene, action and dialogue needed to convey the story you are good to start preproduction.

As you near production the practicality of visualising what you have written starts hitting you. At each of those challenges the two options you have is to rewrite around that obstacle or pour money to demolish it. You know what the solution is.


Choose wisely.

A debut feature film is itself a big challenge. You want around you people whom you trust, respect, enjoy being around with and can get the job done. The same applies vice versa too.

Choose actors who are actors. They are the face of your film. Everyone knows when they see poor acting and it pulls the audience out of the film. Every effort you take will be seen reflected through their performance.

The team you bring together in preproduction will be your legs, arms, tooth and nail in production.



Breaking down of a script is the job of an assistant director. But because of the budget, you or the director itself might probably have to do it. Breakdown the script to the minutest detail. This is what you will be relying on to organise everything each day of the shoot.

Following is one of the most succinct videos on script breakdowns that I have seen online.

Shot division or Storyboard

The next step in prepping for the shoot is to have each scene broken down to its shots. How a scene is covered is how each director makes his/her mark. You can do this through a shot list or storyboards, whichever is comfortable to you. I draw stick figure storyboards.


Once you know what you are doing like the back of your hand, you are ready to go. Tomorrow we will look at the remaining 5 vital things in preproduction.

Hey Aspiring Filmmaker,

I debuted my film career making a feature film for ₹5 lakhs ($7,000) on an iPhone. I’d like to help you do the same. So I wrote everything I learned into a book. It is now available on Amazon, called The Indian Indie Film (or Make Your Film for rest of the world). Enjoy!