We will now look at remaining 5 vital things to have ready in preproduction of a low budget feature film. If you haven’t read the first part read here.
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 on Amazon.
We shot Munnariv in my bedroom. Use locations you already have access to. Your house, your parents’ house, your ancestral house, your friend’s farm, the gym you go to daily etc.
Get public locations for free, like shops, malls, temples, parks etc. If your ideal location is not available for free, go to the next one, and the one after. You can always find someone who will let you use their location for free for something in return, an exterior shot, or buying something from their shop etc.
If possible, shoot sequentially. It is easier for continuity and for actors.
If you had rewritten the script you probably have only few locations. Get those locations close by, or schedule in a day locations that are close by. Travelling from one location to another is tiring for everyone. Almost all of our locations, besides my bedroom, were at most a 5 minutes drive from the house.
Scheduling is a game. One you only get good at with practice. Each production is different and so there is no one formula. If you have a talented and experienced Assistant Director it will be easier.
Use what you own and what your connections have. Spend as little as possible to get what you want to the editing table.
It goes without saying, collect and test all the gear during preproduction. We shot a whole short film on the same mobile phone before going on set for the feature. Even then there were hiccups.
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Props and Costumes
It depends on what the script demands and what you have. You would have identified all prop and costume requirements when you did the script breakdown.
Use as much as what you have, or what the crew has. Check with your friends and funders if they have what you are looking for. Buy those that you absolutely have no other option. Even then try buying used ones or seconds, or renting if it is cheaper.
Have the money ready, in hand or in account, to whatever your schedule demands. Always have the money for everyone’s food. You want an inspired and motivated crew.
Some things will need more money, some less. Be prepared to reallocate your budget on the fly.
Once you know what you are doing like the back of your hand, you are ready to go. Hope this gives you a good idea of everything you need to do in preproduction. Did we miss anything? Let us know.