The moviemaking process has three main stages: pre-production (planning), production (filming), and post-production (editing and sharing).
Pre-production is the planning stage, where you work out your movie in detail. You need to plan what you’re going to film, how you’ll film it, and what you’ll need for the shoot. Planning might seem boring if you want to go straight to filming, but it’ll save time in the long run.
There are several ways to plan. You can develop ideas using a mindmap or mood board. Then you can write a script and draw storyboards or make shot lists. Go to this page for my film planning templates.
Choose actors or presenters/interviewers carefully. So, for a serious movie, don’t rely on using your friends unless you’re sure they can act. Audition them before you commit to using them.
Drama students can make good, affordable actors, but if they’ve only acted on stage they’ll need to tone it down for the camera. That means speaking naturally, using smaller gestures, and keeping their eyeline close to the camera without looking into it.
Check out the locations where you’re planning to film. Make sure you can get permission, and find out if you’ll have to pay. Is the location safe? Will there be any interruptions?
Some filmmakers shoot ‘guerilla-style’, filming on location without permissions or permits. This is risky as you could get stopped or fined. And it may not be necessary: some cities will let small crews film in the street for free as long as you let them know in advance.