If you give it a Google, Wikipedia describes the Film-making process as:
“the process of making a film, generally in the sense of films intended for extensive theatrical exhibition. Filmmaking involves a number of discrete stages including an initial story, idea, or commission, through screenwriting, casting, shooting, sound recording and pre-production, editing, and screening the finished product before an audience that may result in a film release and exhibition.”
The first step in the film-making process – Inspiration
Every movie you’ve ever seen first started with an idea in someone’s brain. This is the very foundation of the project although it may go through dramatic changes as time goes on this is the very core of the film. For our students they usually start with something they are passionate about. Agatha Jackson, as an example, was extremely passionate about giraffes. When she realized tat they were slipping into extinction she decided to make a film about it to raise awareness and get people talking. You can check out her film, Not a tall tale here. So, start thinking about the kind of story you want your film to tell. Then, all the important story elements like the who, the what and the how. Inspiration can hit anywhere. Head down to your nearest coffee shop, with a pen and paper or laptop, and get brainstorming.
Make yourself a google drive folder. Fill it with bookmarks, links, blogs, articles and other relevant resources to refer to during the film-making process. Its good to have them all in one place, you never know when you need them.
The second step in the film-making process – Scripting and story-boarding
The script is where you’ll put down the story, setting, and dialogue in linear form. Basically, writing down how you plan on rolling your story out. This tool is so the rest of the team knows what’s going to happen in the film. You’ll also be using your own script as reference since you may need to refresh yourself on certain actions, dialogue lines, and more. Even though wildlife is unpredictable we still always have a rough script and a story-board. We work off of them to ensure a good flow in our films.
Don’t be afraid to make changes to the script even after you think it’s ready. More often than not, better ideas will come to you well after this stage in the film-making process.
As a wildlife film-maker you have to improvise quite a bit. It’s surprising what your actors/presenters are able to imagine from their point of view. This is especially true for film-makers who may not be great with writing dialogue. Luckily for us lions and buffalo don’t speak much.
Next up, story-boarding which is a sequence of drawings that represent the shots you plan to film. We recommend this process because it helps you visualize each scene. Furthermore, decide on things like camera angles, shots, times. A story board is a communicative tool, it helps everyone else work towards the main goal accurately. Being a creative industry it can be hard to get everyone on the same page without physically laying it out.
You can refresh your story board later after you have scouted your location and add photographs to it – if your drawing skills aren’t so great.