Previs – New Workflow
The script of course still exists and follows, as always, the selection path.
We assume that a previs is an additional phase of internal development. That is, we propose to make films in the traditional order, that is:
- Directing it to production and obtaining funds on the basis of a script, and only then the director together with their closest employees prepares the previs. Thus, the previs is created in the internal working mode only for the crew executing a given project.
- As in the case of scenarios, a previs may (should) be modified during the preparation period until the ready-for-production version which is satisfying for everyone.
- Budgeting, the filming, selection of objects for the film, set design and construction – all this is done also on the basis of a previs, not only the screenplay.
The period of preparation for the film and all its elements should also be connected with the rough draft version.
If the actors playing in the previs were not the final choice of the director, the test filming is made with the help of substitutes. The operator could also try his visual ideas.
We include the outline of the musical score proposed by the composer.
We make the previs editing versions (trials of an alternative structure of a future work), determining the proportion between the main and secondary motifs.
- The film’s editing takes place directly on set and each time we exchange pre-assembled scenes for those working with Pre-vis.
- The so called screening of materials is always a screening of a whole previs “updated” with newly filmed scenes. That is, each time we watch the whole film – a patchwork consisting of new scenes and scenes from previs + any ready VFX – visual effects, or their mock-ups.
- Scheduled break after 30%-40% of the planned shooting time. During this period, confrontation of the initial version of the infinite film with the test audience (or a potential distributor). Discussions about the direction in which the film is going. Implementation of corrections to the remaining schedule of shooting. In addition, a preliminary colour correction. Preliminary music editing.
- Finishing the filming above before a break.
Final editing and post-production of audio and visual equipment
- As traditional, but with a re-designed scope of responsibilities of individual professionals (as will be described later on in the chapter “Film Professions”).
The drawbacks of a new work plan?
The system was supposed to be economical, and there are new elements adding cost from the production point of view – making a previs, a scheduled break in the filming.
- Our calculations show that the money spent on previs production will result in savings. Previs will be a much more accurate “document” of the film than a script, thus facilitating planning. It will ensure more precise calculations of what will really be needed to make a particular film.
- A break in filming is an idea to make it easier to control and improve the quality of a future film. This is another element of managing the risk connected with film production. The industry has a saying, ‘Risk management costs money, but lack of management costs even more’.
We believe that if the interruption is well planned, it will not increase production costs. Please note that the break does not increase the number of filming days. During this period the team returns the equipment to the rental company, so we do not pay for it. The technical team has a planned and unpaid (or barely paid) break. In addition, the interruption automatically shortens the postproduction period.
In addition, the filmmakers will be spared from shooting additional “just in case” scenes at the end of the filming period, which is a standard behavior of almost every beginning director.
Like any new system, this one will too drown in our habits. Even if there is something valuable here, nobody will want to implement it.
- We are aware of this and that is why the Film Spring Open Foundation, in the form of a “case study”, wants to test this model in practice. This document is also a working document for discussion and will be amended.
- Practical and documented actions (production of the film) will be an test of this theory, and will also allow for its modification.
- Please note that our model of change is much deeper than the structure described above. We also want to redefine the system at the level of all film professions, as described in further excerpts on our blog.
[Extracts from the Essay “How to make films cheaper and better” by Sławomir Idziak.]