Indie Filmmakers: Here’s how to figure out how long it will take to shoot a scene for Feature Films and TV Productions

by Peter D. Marshall

On Friday, April 24, I will be releasing my 137 page “Script Breakdown and Film Scheduling Online Course for Independent Filmmakers.”

I am very excited about the quality of the content I’m going to share with you in this Online course and even though the title says “Script Breakdown and Film Scheduling,” this course is much more than that.

When you are finished reading this 137 page manual, you will have gained in-depth industry knowledge of the entire pre-production stage of making an independent film or television series.

And one more thing!

This course is not just for Assistant Directors. It was also written for Directors, Producers, Production Managers and any other filmmaker who wants to discover the proper steps involved in breaking down a script and creating a realistic film shooting schedule.

On Friday, April 24, this course will go live to the general public and I will be offering a substantial discount for the first 200 filmmakers who purchase this course, up to midnight (EST) on Monday, April 27 (whichever comes first.)

Here’s how you can get on the Priority Notification List. If you are interested in finding out more about this intensive 137 page Online course, please send your email address to sbfsblog09@aweber.com.

You will be automatically placed on the Priority Notification List so you can be contacted on how to access “The Script Breakdown and Film Scheduling Online Course For Independent Filmmakers” on Friday, April 24.

This is not a live course you have to attend. It is a 100% Internet based course you can instantly download onto your computer. (No DVD’s – No CD’s – No Shipping!)

Now here’s more content from the course I would like to share with you.

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How to Figure Out Scene and Shot Timings

The question that gets asked the most about a First Assistant Director’s job is “How do you know how much time to give a scene or a shot?”

Well, the one word answer to this question is “Experience!”

Like anything else in life, the more time you spend at any activity, the more natural it becomes. How to break down a script, design a shooting schedule, and run a set are all part of the same equation: the more experience you have, the better you will be at your job. (That’s the theory anyway!)

The best way I can help you with this question is to tell you what I did when I was a 2nd AD: I made a time record of everything that happened on the set each day by taking my call sheet and marking down all the blocking and shooting times for each shot in every scene.

My first (and only) job as a 2nd AD was on 13 x half-hour episodes of the TV series “The Hitchhiker.” Every day I would take my call sheet and mark down the following times for every single scene we shot that day:

1. The start time of the blocking

2. The end time of the blocking (which is the start time for lighting)

3. The end time of the lighting (which is the start time of rehearsal)

4. The end time of the rehearsal

5. How much time for finals

6. The starting time of each shot

7. The end time of each shot

When I got home at night, I would take the call sheet with my timings on it, plus the script sides and I stapled them together and put them in a file folder.

At the end of the series, I had an enormous folder filled with timed out scenes of all descriptions. I then went through those files and sorted the scenes into specific groupings such as:

1. Scenes with two actors

2. Scenes with many actors

3. Large scenes with extras

4. Stunt action scenes

5. Insert car (process trailer) scenes

6. Scenes with gunfire and explosions

7. Scenes with visual effects (and so on…)

Of course, as we all know, every production is different, but what all this paperwork did for me was give me the “average” timing for a certain type of scene. I learned a great deal from this exercise and it’s helped me to this day.

The good thing about this technique is that anyone can do it. It’s not restricted to the on-set crew. So if you’re the lonely location PA watching the crew cars in the parking lot, as long as you have a radio and you can hear the First AD, get a call sheet and some sides and record everything you can.

The rest is about experience and you only get that by doing it. Get yourself onto a film set. Make friends with crew members. Watch and take notes. It’s the additional work you do on your own that will give you more confidence and help you get noticed quicker.

And everyday, ask yourself this question: “How bad do I want to be a Director or a First Assistant Director?”

—–

On Friday, April 24, this course will go live to the general public and I will be offering a substantial discount for the first 200 filmmakers who purchase this course, up to midnight (EST) on Monday, April 27 (whichever comes first.)

So if you are interested in getting on the Priority Notification List, send your email address to sbfsblog09@aweber.com so you can be contacted on how to access “The Script Breakdown and Film Scheduling Online Course For Independent Filmmakers” on Friday, April 24.

Watch your email inbox on Friday, April 24, when I will send you the website link where you can check out all the details about this 137 page online course including the price, content list, support materials and free bonuses.

All the best,

Peter

P.S. This is not a live workshop you have to attend. It is a 100% Internet based course you can instantly download onto your computer. (No DVD’s – No CD’s – No Shipping!)

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