Now that you've tested your gear, you have a story idea for your film, and even have script and storyboard, it's time to create your final plan for your film shoot before you head to the location. A plan is important for which tasks are done, in which order are tasks done, and who does each task.
A plan for a film shoot is sometimes called a "brief." The brief might involve the following:
list of locations
list of actors
a storyboard (optional)
What can help you immensely at any film shoot is a shot list. This is a list containing an entry for each shot that must be recorded for the story. A shot list for a narrative film is ultimately derived from the script. By first creating a "breakdown" of the script, you can create things like a shot list and a shooting schedule. From the script breakdown, you'll be aware of the details of the items that need to be listed in the shot list; things like location, time of day, camera position, camera angle, sound, sound effects, actors needed, and key props that must be accounted for.
In addition to shooting dialogue, be sure to include cutaways ("b-roll") for each location or setup so you can have more choices for editing once you get back to that task. Don't forget to get some audio presence (usually referred to as room tone or natural sound) from each location for your edit later. Room tone can be very helpful in fine tuning edits, especially for adding pauses (sometimes referred to as "beats") to dialogue. Place all these details in the shot list.
A shot list is crucial to have for the purpose of making sure you are shooting the precise shots you need for your story. It also ensures that you are not leaving any shots out that are dictated by your script and storyboard. Figure out the best and most convenient order for each shot, then move to the task of creating a shooting schedule.
Shooting Schedule Once the list of shots are made, you can create a shooting schedule. Again, the script breakdown should help guide the creation of the shooting schedule. You should already have your shots arranged in an order that makes sense and makes the best use of your time. Keep in mind that there is no rule that says you must shoot scenes in any order.
Don't forget to schedule in breaks and meal time for both you and for others helping you with your shoot.
Location Different setups that take place during a shoot, so plan on finding the ideal location for each setup you are planning. Ideally, "scout" your intended locations ahead of time to determine any plans to shoot in that location, predict any problems that could crop up, and make sure you've got the proper permission and clearances to shoot in that location. Consider the equipment, requirements for equipment (like power outlets or lack thereof), and staff that is needed for setups in each location.
List of Actors Make sure you have a list of the actors you plan to have in each scene for every location. Each actor should be made aware of the time and place they are to meet you for the shoot well ahead of the shoot day. Call or email them the day before to check in with your talent. See if there are going to be any issues regarding getting that actor to the shoot.
List of Equipment You should already have a checklist of your gear if you've been following through this workflow. This helped you prep your gear. Bring this along with you to the shoot. This ensures that you leave with the gear you brought to the location intact. It's easy to leave behind small pieces of gear at a shoot. Going over your checklist on the way out prevents this problem.
For larger film shoots, it should be said that you are probably going to need to rent additional gear, like grip and lighting equipment, cameras, or sound equipment. Make sure you've arranged for these rentals, the budget, insurance, and the staff needed to operate any special equipment well ahead of time. Your local film commission can often provide resources for this kind of material.
Storyboard A storyboard is crucial for shooting s a narrative film. Even before you head to the shoot, a storyboard can also be used in a rehearsal to allow you the ability to practice what you are going to perform live in front of the camera. A storyboard helps you plan ahead about how you might shoot the sequence, where you are going to place the camera, and what kind of camera angles you are going to need. Creating a storyboard is a helpful aid for not only realizing the look of your film, but it can also assist you on the set to make sure your vision is communicated to other collaborators.
With your shot list, schedule, lists of actors, equipment, and a storyboard in tow, you are now ready to head to the first location to shoot your film.