PRODUCTION DESIGN & SCHEDULING

1504ART Digital Video Foundations

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Both of these topics are immensely important; Production Design because without creative PDs every film would look like every other film... Production Scheduling because without it, we would never get around to shooting the film... Unfortunately there’s not a lot to say about Production Design, other than talking about a few of the skills & responsibilities of the job... Unfortunately Production Scheduling is incredibly boring...but I promise it will be the most boring lecture of the whole semester - it’s only uphill from here... So, without further ado...

PRODUCTION DESIGN
How to get ‘that look’

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It is during production design that we go back to prior efforts in visualisation and conceptualisation. We delve into our ‘ideas database’ and our notebook to search for our films visual theme. Visual thematics are as important to our film as the script, without a strong visual theme our film will suffer from an identity crisis.

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We as filmmakers control the time and environment for our film, we as production designers must turn that vision into a ‘reality’. As a production designer we must learn to adapt the skills of many different aspects of filmmaking to the design of our production. We must be able to see like a cinematographer and understand the subtleties of the screenplay as the writer does. As a production designer we must be able to understand how locations can work with the action and characters to produce the type of audience understanding that a film needs to succeed.

Th best way for you to fully comprehend the mammoth task of the production designer is to watch a couple of movie excerpts & discuss the role Production Design played in their creation...

FAT ALBERT

DOGVILLE

BREATHE

PRODUCTION SCHEDULING
Because timing is everything...

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Scheduling is traditionally done by the Production Manager or the First Assistant Director in Preproduction. This is a very quick primer for Film Scheduling to help you understand the process. The basic process is to:

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1. Read the Script. 2. Mark up the Script. 3. Prepare a Script Breakdown. 4. Prepare your Production Board. 5. Schedule your Shooting. 6. Get approvals from all involved. 7. Budget your time and money.

1) READ THE SCRIPT

You should first read the script so you have an appreciation for the storyline and a good feel for the action.

2) MARK UP THE SCRIPT
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Better to Underline rather than highlight for photocopying purposes. Colour code the elements of the script THEN complete the Breakdown Sheets. Use pencils on Breakdown sheets for ease of change.

THE COLOUR-CODING SYSTEM
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CAST (RED): Speaking Parts EXTRAS (YELLOW): Silent Bits EXTRAS (GREEN): Atmosphere STUNTS (ORANGE): Stunts SPECIAL EFFECTS (BLUE): SpecialEffects SOUND EFFECTS (BROWN): Sound Effects VEHICLES (PINK): Vehicles/Animals PROPS (PURPLE): Props (WARDROBE) (CIRCLED) MAKE UP & HAIR: Asterix***** SPECIAL EQUIPMENT: Box Around Special Equipment

3) SCRIPT BREAKDOWN
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Script Breakdowns are done in preparation of Scheduling. Basically information from each scene is recorded on a separate page. There are computer programs that do this now and can transfer information from Script Breakdown directly into the Scheduling formats and Callsheets. However, you can still do this yourself, either by computer or manually. Always go through each scene one at a time, rather than element by element.

STANDARD BREAKDOWN PAGES
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YELLOW: Exterior Day WHITE: Interior Day GREEN: Exterior Night BLUE: Interior Night You can make your own Breakdown Stationary easily.

THE LOWDOWN
What’s actually on the pages...

AT THE TOP
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1. Date you prepared Breakdown Sheets. 2. Production Name (also Company Name and Vital Info) 3. Scene Number- Added scenes can be 59A for example. 4. Scene Name: Nickname describing Scene "Bridge Attack"

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5. Description of Main Action. Keep as brief but concise as possible. 6. Breakdown Page Number (Should be same as scene numbers). 7. INT or EXT: Interior or Exterior. Can be circled. 8. DAY or NIGHT: Can be circled. 9. Location.

DOWN THE BOTTOM
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10. CAST: SPEAKING. Note the age if it is a Child. 11. EXTRAS: Silent. Anyone who performs an action. 12. EXTRAS: Atmosphere. Rough estimate of how many and what type. 13. STUNTS: May want to add Stunt Coordinator. 14. SPECIAL EFFECTS

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15. SOUND EFFECTS/MUSIC: Anything that must be recorded or pre-recorded. 16. VEHICLES/ANIMALS: Cars etc, Animals and Wranglers. 17. PROPS: Any essential props. 18. WARDROBE: Note if you need extras of this. 19. MAKE-UP/HAIR: Especially specialty makeup 20. SPECIAL EQUIPMENT: Lighting, etc. 21. PRODUCTION NOTES: Various elements or Questions.

4) PRODUCTION BOARDING
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Traditionally a Production Board is made using Stripboards. With a Stripboard you can quickly see all of the Scene Elements quickly so you can determine which scheduling is the most appropriate.

This is often done now using a Specialty Program like MOVIE MAGIC, but can easily be done quickly using a Computer SPREADSHEET Program, or even a conventional Word Processing Program using Tabs to separate the lines. You can also use a SPREADSHEET to prepare your budget. Each scene can be colour coded in conjunction with the breakdown sheets.

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PRODUCTION BOARD

EACH VERTICAL STRIP SHOULD INCLUDE:
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SCENE NUMBER Breakdown Page Number Page Count Scene Name LOCATION and Number DAY/NIGHT INTERIOR/EXTERIOR

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CHARACTER NAMES with a Number EXTRAS along with amount (E11) SPECIAL NOTES: Vehicles (V), Music (M), Special Equipment (SE) Animals (A)

5) SCHEDULING
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From this STRIPBOARD you can work out a reasonable, cost efficient schedule. EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED. In terms of priorities these are GENERALLY:

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1. SEASONAL CONSIDERATIONS: Less light in winter, Snow, etc. 2. LOCATIONS: Don't want to move unless necessary. 3. CAST MEMBERS: Try to have them for as little time as possible. 4. DAY/NIGHT Shooting: Require 10-12 hour turnaround. Put Nightshoots to! ether. g 5. EXT/INT: Shoot Exteriors First so you can have rain cover if weather is lousy. 6. SEQUENCE: As much as possible to help actors, also tech considerations. 7. CHILD ACTORS: Hours and conditions are very strict.

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8. TIME PERIOD CHANGES: May require extensive makeup, set and wardrobe ! changes. 9. WEATHER: Things move slower when it is cold. 10. SPECIAL EFFECTS/STUNTS: May require alot of additional Preparation. 11. SECOND UNIT/CAMERA: May save time having second camera or 2nd Unit. 12. SPECIAL EQUIPMENT: Availability/Cost of Special Equipment like Helicopters. 13. LOCATION GEOGRAPHY: May want to make as few moves as possible. 14. MISCELLANEOUS: May have special reasons for shooting in a strange way.

6) THE SHOOTING SCHEDULE
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Once you have a Scene Setup you are happy with, you can then determine your SHOOTING SCHEDULE. Place a Space (XX) between each day of shooting to separate that on your Board, and two for weekends. Factors for this include:

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DIRECTOR: How quickly does she work? Does she stay on schedule? How long does he like to work? CINEMATOGRAPHER: How quickly does he work? How long does he take to light? To turn around? CONCURRENT ACTIVITIES: Can anything be done concurrently? Set Dressing, 2nd Unit. Location scouting, etc. On the basis of all of this you have your Shooting Schedule. Show it to all involved. Make sure the Director and Cinematographer believe it is feasible. Ask yourself a lot of What ifs and don't feel the Shooting Schedule should be kept in stone.

TOLD YOU IT WOULD BE BORING!!!
OK, let’s watch a movie… Please note that the following movie ‘The Salton Sea’ is rated R18+ DRUG USE, MEDIUM LEVEL VIOLENCE

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