Pre-production planning

A lot of planning and effort go into producing a quality video production.  You first need to figure out the kind of production you will be producing.  Is it for theatrical release?  Will you publish to DVD?  Will you publish online only?  To decide which path you will take you need to know the technical ramifications, and therefore cost of your choice.  If you want a theatrical release, then you will need to record to film.  Alternatively, you will need to record digitally in such a fashion that the end product can be successful transferred to film without loss of quality at a later date.  DVD is a higher quality than is required for online video publishing.  Once you know what your technical goals are, you can start gearing up and planning for production in that particular format.

You will also need to identify who your audience is.  Who will you be pitching your movie at?  What other products exist in the marketplace, and how are you going to set your product apart from your competitors.  I.e. what is your unique selling point?  Once you have developed your concept, you can start to put a plan down on paper.

Planning for a shoot can be as simple or as detailed as you want to make it.  We are striving for a happy medium.  Mainly because we want to be able to enjoy the experience.  Also because I believe a story should unfold organically.  We are planning to interview a few select people fo our documentary, but there will be many others who we are yet to meet, that we could not have anticipated would be great for our documentary story.

In comparison to a regular fiction movie script, a documentary movie script cannot contain all the dialogue that will occur throughout the movie.  You can however plan for the scenes you want to shoot, the shots you want to get, the people and the kinds of people you want to interview, and the questions you want to ask.  You can also plan the general flow of the piece.  Below is a preliminary list if scenes / shots that we are planning to get on film during our trip:

  • Gear selection
  • Purchasing Airline tickets
  • Purchasing Accommodation
  • Planning activities
  • Planning Tokyo
  • Travelling to airport
  • Arriving Airport
  • Checking in
  • In the airport lounge
  • On the plane
  • Sleeping on plane
  • Arriving in Tokyo
  • Tokyo airport transfer
  • Tokyo Hotel
  • Tokyo dinner
  • Tokyo Drinks
  • Tokyo Karaoke
  • Tokyo drunk
  • Tokyo Crashing
  • Flight to Sapporo
  • Arriving Sapporo
  • Bus to Mountain
  • Snow out bus window
  • Arriving hotel
  • Night skiing
  • First night sleeping
  • Breakfast at hotel
  • Boarding
  • Lunch, Dinner
  • Drinks
  • Onsen
  • Ice Fishing
  • Ice Climbing
  • Snow Shoeing
  • Snow Mobiling
  • Off Piste tour
  • Other mountains

This is a high level list and does not include interviews we will be conducting or actual snowboarding action shots that we will get on film.  When shooting to tell a story, you need to make sure that you get all the shots you need to make your film work once you get to the editing room.  For instance, in general the beginning of each scene in a movie has what is called an ‘establishing shot’.  This sets the scene.  For example, if all the action of the scene takes place inside a train station, the establishing shot might be of the outside of the train station.  You need to get this shot while on location.  To make sure you do, you need to plan for it!

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